Thursday, February 28, 2019

14551: BHM 2019—Advertising Age Selects “Groundbreaking” Black Representation In Ads.

Advertising Age spotlighted “Five groundbreaking campaigns that moved the needle on black representation in ads”—presumably to honor Black History Month. Can’t help but wonder if the well-intentioned report displays unconscious revisionist history.

Spotlighting the Michael Jackson Pepsi campaign as groundbreaking for Black representation in advertising is true on certain levels, mostly in regards to crossover appeal and big-budget endorsements. Yet the article failed to mention the campaign was really initiated by the Jacksons, their managers and Entertainment Marketing & Communications International CEO Jay Coleman. Apparently, Coleman first proposed the deal to Coca-Cola. So it’s not like BBDO—Pepsi’s White advertising agency—originally hatched the inclusive innovation. Plus, the campaign is arguably not Pepsi’s most groundbreaking example of Black representation in advertising, as Edward Boyd produced pioneering campaigns that targeted and depicted Blacks about 30 years before the Jacksons arrived for the soft drink brand.

Spotlighting the Michael Jordan-Mars Blackmon Nike campaign—like the Michael Jackson Pepsi campaign—is questionable too. In this case, White advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy tapped “She’s Gotta Have It” and Academy Award Winner Spike Lee. Not sure, but didn’t Lee post the Nike campaign on the SpikeDDB website when first launching his agency?

Don’t mean to overreact, but the Pepsi and Nike campaigns are examples of White advertising agencies hijacking Black culture, which is hardly groundbreaking. And how Ad Age saluted the campaigns is not exactly the best way to celebrate Black History Month.

Spotlighting the “My Black Is Beautiful” campaign is a decent move, but the Ad Age presentation felt clumsy and culturally clueless. The trade journal wrote, “When Procter & Gamble began developing ‘My Black Is Beautiful’ in 2006, exactly what the campaign would do wasn’t fully thought out…” Really? The concept was thought out quite nicely. However, like most Black-focused initiatives, “My Black Is Beautiful” was financed by crumbs. To declare “the program was catapulted to new prominence in 2017 with the video ‘The Talk’ from BBDO” sounds insulting, especially when the White advertising agency likely enjoyed a budget and resources that Black advertising agencies never see. Plus, BBDO needed to “partner” with a Black consultant for the key insight (an insight that is common knowledge for nearly every Black family in America).

Perhaps someday Advertising Age will go beyond spotlighting groundbreaking Black representation in advertising to spotlighting groundbreaking Black representation in advertising agencies.

14550: Meet The Industry’s [White] Power Part-Timers.

Campaign published “Meet the industry’s ‘power part-timers’”—showing White women in adland are still waaaaay better off than people of color, as minorities can’t even land part-time gigs in the field.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

14549: Diversity Clichés Delivered Dully.

Adweek published a perspective from RAPP New York President Justin Thomas-Copeland, who presented the standard argument for greater Black representation in adland. Sadly, Thomas-Copeland offered the same opinions and “solutions” that have been churned out for decades without success. Perhaps it’s because Thomas-Copeland spent much of his career in foreign countries including the U.K., which seemingly has worse diversity dilemmas than the U.S. advertising industry. Or maybe it’s because RAPP is a White enterprise with a history of controversy and cultural cluelessness. Whatever. Appropriately, the article was illustrated with the clichéd and contrived stock image above.

14548: BHM 2019—Regions Bike History Month…?

Celebrate Black History Month with the Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest. Bonus points for entrants who spot the typo in the promotional advertisements.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

14547: White Media Agencies Moving To White City.

Campaign announced, “Publicis Media’s UK agencies begin moving to White City.” Hey, media is just as exclusive in the UK as in the US.

14546: BHM 2019—NBA And Nike Score Points For Black History Month.

The NBA and Nike teamed up to honor Black History Month with warmup shirts described as follows:

During Black History Month, all NBA teams will wear custom Black History Month warmup shirts designed in collaboration with players. This Nike Dri-FIT T-shirt features words selected by players that reflect black history and culture, and our collective commitment to equality and diversity: Activate, Believe, Dream, Empower, Engage, Equality, History Inspire, Justice, Lead, Listen, Love, Perseverance, and Unify. All NBA proceeds will go to the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, AL.

14545: Adweek Exposes Exclusivity In Media Agencies.

Adweek saluted U.S. Media Agency of the Year and Global Media Agency of the Year with photographs showing exclusivity in media covers the U.S. and the entire planet.

Monday, February 25, 2019

14544: BHM 2019—AgencySpy Salutes GlobalHue And Its Ex-Employees.

AgencySpy celebrated Black History Month by posting on the continuing financial woes of GlobalHue and its founder, Don Coleman—or more specifically, the financial woes of the former employees still seeking payment from a class-action lawsuit filed in 2016. AgencySpy used to be the place for adland’s best trolls. Now it seems to be the place for former GlobalHue employees to troll their ex-employer, as no other trade source is interested in reporting on the sad spectacle.

Former GlobalHue Employees Have Not Seen Any of the Money Owed to Them in Class-Action Lawsuit

By Patrick Coffee

Multiple former employees of GlobalHue, the multicultural agency that closed in 2016 amid a series of lawsuits filed against founder, CEO and former NFL star Don Coleman, say they have not received any of the money awarded to them in a six-figure 2018 settlement.

In August 2016, we reported that 10 onetime staffers filed a class action suit against Coleman in Manhattan federal court after going more than three months without pay. At the time, Coleman attributed that gap to a “dispute” with his own bank. He then claimed everyone would be paid soon and that none of his agency’s offices would be closing.

Less than two months later, Manhattan’s Filosa Law Firm filed suit. GlobalHue’s offices in New York and Detroit later closed.

More than a year after the suit was filed, Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker ordered Coleman to pay $231,250 plus interest, with that amount consisting of a $185,000 settlement and a $45,350 penalty over a failure to pay the previous total. In late 2017, the judge had granted a motion to reopen that case in order to enforce the earlier settlement.

Today Gregory Filosa, head of the law firm that represented those 10 employees, told AgencySpy, “I can confirm that none of my clients have been paid.” We also reached out to several of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, none of whom agreed to comment on the record.

Coleman faces ongoing legal and financial challenges outside the GlobalHue business. The board of his condo at 45 Park Avenue filed suit against him early last year, claiming that he owed just under $29,000 in common charges and late fees, and the IRS later issued a federal tax lien on the property that amounted to $470,484.44 as of May, 2018.

When reached for comment, Coleman wrote that “all involved in lawsuit were paid in full last month” and referred to a Michigan-based lawyer who later stated that he is Coleman’s court-appointed receiver in a case involving Comerica Bank that is not related to the class-action case.

That matter stemmed from Walmart Stores, Inc. v. Don Coleman Advertising Inc. In mid-2017, Walmart, which was a former client of GlobalHue, filed an interpleader complaint “to avoid multiple liability and unnecessary suits and costs” over $281,2500 owed to the then-shuttered agency. The retail giant had placed the money with the bank because the agency was no longer in business, and its suit sought to force all involved parties to resolve the dispute.

Two days ago, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division issued a judgment sending that money to Comerica Bank, which was then told to pay $15,000 to production company Ringside Creative.

When asked for clarity regarding the individuals behind the New York suit, Coleman wrote, “You should have their attorney give you more details. I’m no longer involved.”

Sunday, February 24, 2019

14543: In 2019, An All-Black Academy Awards Was Possible.

The 2019 Academy Awards presents decent Black representation in the top categories. This is the year, however, where outstanding Black and Black-themed films could have made it possible to stage an all-Black Best Picture lineup:

Black Panther



Green Book

If Beale Street Could Talk

Sorry To Bother You

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

And since every year has at least one WTF entry, the final slot would be a toss-up between the following:



A Wrinkle In Time

Finally, such a lineup might have inspired Kevin Hart to rethink his rejection to host.

14542: BHM 2019—For Comcast Xfinity, Black History Month Is An Entertaining Experience.

Comcast Xfinity celebrates Black History Month with media, music and more. No word if Byron Allen will be tuning in.

14541: Vann Graves Observes Adland 2019, Which Resembles Adland 1919.

Adweek presented a perspective from VCU Brandcenter Executive Director Vann Graves, who argued for the imperative for diversity in the advertising industry. It’s slightly ironic that Graves ultimately left the business to lead VCU Brandcenter, effectively decreasing adland’s overall diversity.

Graves declared, “[B]rands should make an active commitment to diversity for the sake of positive change.” Um, guess he missed the latest ANA report showing advertisers are struggling with diversity. And Graves hopefully doesn’t need a report to prove things are worse at White advertising agencies serving the advertisers. Happy Black History Month.

Brands Still Have a Lot to Learn About Diversity and Creating Inclusive Work Environments

It’s 2019, and we’re still seeing what should be obvious racially insensitive missteps

By Vann Graves

In the past week, the Commonwealth of Virginia was the focus of many heated discussions across the nation. Of course, the attention this ongoing discourse has attracted has been a source of significant embarrassment and shame. However, the use of blackface is not new to Virginia, the South or even our country as a whole. Almost certainly, yearbooks have featured folks in blackface and Klan robes both above and below the Mason–Dixon line, but I don’t want to attribute geographic blame here. I believe this collision of insensitivity has presented us with an unexpected chance to improve (at least in part) this situation.

It has not been lost on me and many others that the revelations in Virginia are occurring in February, which marks Black History Month. In 1926, Carter G. Woodson established the first-ever Negro History Week to celebrate Black Americans for their achievements and contributions to U.S. culture and the financial accomplishments of the nation. This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglass on February 14. This week should be a week of celebration.

Anyone can perform a quick Google search to glean the basic historical context of blackface. As such, I will refrain from attempting to educate you on the topic or explain why some people think it isn’t worthy of national concern.

This issue isn’t confined to the past. Today, racial bias remains embedded in the landscape of the marketplace and the homogeneity of upper management and other leadership factions. It underscores the fact that we consistently fail to heed the timeless warning of “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

Think about it. We once supported brand characters like the Lever Brothers’ (now Unilever) Gold Dust Twins and continue to have Aunt Jemima (now owned by Quaker Oats), Uncle Ben’s (Mars Food) and Cream of Wheat’s Rastus (B&G Foods). It is clear that race continues to be infused in many of today’s business practices and can lead to the success or failure of brands. Even the most cynical, who care only about the bottom line, should acknowledge that it’s smart business to recognize the importance of diversity and the need to develop well-trained, diverse teams.

I am simply shocked by Gucci’s blackface sweater and Adidas’s all-white sneakers to “Celebrate Black Culture.” Let me clarify: I am shocked by our inability to understand that brands and agencies need to have diverse decision-making teams to prevent this from happening. It’s not enough to have people of color “in the room.”

Diversity isn’t about headcount; it’s about heads that count. When people of color and other underrepresented groups hold positions of power, they can prevent this type of horrifying decision from ever impacting the marketplace.

I don’t mean that this task should fall on the shoulders of one or a few, but we need to establish a new workplace norm that embraces a culture of diversity. Diversity shouldn’t enter the conversation only after a brand or an advertising campaign offends people; brands should make an active commitment to diversity for the sake of positive change. We create this diversity—not to the exclusion of anyone, but the acceptance of everyone. Until the demographics of our business leaders resemble the demographics of our marketplace, we will be doomed to repeat history’s mistakes.

Just last year, H&M put a young black boy in a “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” T-shirt, Prada displayed unabashedly racist imagery in their storefront window and Dove released an ad in which a black woman became white. Clearly, we have yet to grasp the idea that our talk about change isn’t enough. Some changes happen through revolution and others through evolution, but both processes require more than lip service.

This country is so fortunate to be characterized by a beautiful patchwork of people from different backgrounds, cultures and communities. When treated with the respect and honor it deserves, this gift of diversity can help us avoid repeating past mistakes and reflect more proactively on our present and future. We must be committed to creating, nurturing and sustaining diversity in the workplace, not only because it’s good for business but because it’s the right thing to do. Period.

Vann Graves is executive director at VCU Brandcenter.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

14540: BHM 2019—Adweek Honors Black History Month By Honoring Black Staffer.

Adweek delegated Black History Month to its Chief Brand Officer.

Q&A: Adweek’s Chief Brand Officer Danny Wright Talks About Diversity and Challenges in the Industry

As well as the path that led him to his newly created role

By Nicole Ortiz, Kimeko McCoy

In honor of Black History Month, Adweek decided to get a little meta and interview its own newly promoted chief brand officer, Danny Wright, to shine a spotlight on his achievements throughout his career. Wright talks about some of the challenges he sees in the industry for people of color and the ebb and flow of expectations and goals. He also notes how diversity is crucial for all businesses industrywide and hopes for a day when it doesn’t need to be called out any longer.

Read more from our Q&A with him below.

Adweek: How did you break into the industry and come into your role here at Adweek?

Danny Wright: It was an accident. I’m from the music business originally, and a colleague of mine I worked with at Arista Records in the year 2000 had moved on to co-create one of the biggest events in advertising. After a chance meeting in N.Y. on the last day of the aforementioned event, I joined that company and spent seven years helping to globalize that franchise before coming to Adweek.

You were recently promoted to chief brand officer—congrats! Could you tell us about your promotion and how it ties into representation for people of color in C-suite and leadership roles?

Thank you! The CEO and I recognized that the responsibility for evangelizing our brand was something I was already doing, and CBO seemed a more appropriate title. I also co-founded an initiative called I.D.E.A. (Inclusion, Diversity, Equality and Awareness) whose mission is to tackle the issue of diversity from the top down. Many of the other founders hold C-suite or svp titles, and we actively look to educate those immediately around us of the robust and diverse pipeline of very qualified candidates for leadership positions across our industry.

What challenges have you seen facing people of color in the industry?

There are many. That’s not to say things have not been better, but it is to say that the goals seem to constantly shift and the attitude toward the issues of race and diversity in the workplace are not always as receptive as they are today. Initially, I would point out that finding groups of commonality (big or small) is not that easy. Empathy can be very constructive when negotiating a challenging situation with colleagues, and it’s not always easy to find that when you are a team of one or your leadership does not really look like you.

Are there any changes you’d like to see in the industry regarding diversity? If so, what are they?

I’d love to see the day where we do not need to call it out! But until then, I’m quite pleased with the amount of airspace this issue currently occupies and all of the amazing organizations that have sprung up to meet this issue head-on. Diversity is a business imperative. There are many studies that can illustrate the success rates of companies that practice diverse hiring practices, particularly at the leadership and board levels.

Is there any advice you’d give to people of color who are possibly looking to follow in your footsteps?

Yeah, size 13 shoe so don’t show up late to the sales because they don’t stock a lot of those! Oh, that’s not what you meant.

Always be positive. No matter what is in front of you or how defeating things may seem, keep positive. Lead with love and compassion. And as you thrive and your career escalates, please do not forget to reach back and help those behind you.

14539: Award-Winning Example Of Jumping On The White Women’s Bandwagon.

Adweek reported on a dubious divertsity distinction: The Gerety Awards—a brand new awards program with an all-female jury. Hatched by the former sales director and former press manager of the Epica Awards, the Gerety Awards were “specifically designed to celebrate diversity.”

“I was told I wouldn’t be able to do it; I wouldn’t be able to find enough women to be on it,” gushed one co-creator of the Gerety Awards. “That’s the excuse [men in the industry] use. That’s bullshit.” It should be noted the co-creator is a White man.

In adland—where the practitioners consistently rank among the most dishonest and unethical professionals on earth—awards program creators assume the lowest figures on the treacherous totem pole. Of course, the Gerety Awards will experience no difficulties securing judges and luring entrants, as over-inflated egos and obsessing about over-filled trophy cases are hardly exclusive to gender.

Expect the Gerety Awards creators to jump on the ageism bandwagon next, introducing the Geriatric Awards.

The Gerety Awards Aims to Increase Diversity by Casting an All-Female Jury

The shortlist will come out during the first day of Cannes

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

Joe Brooks, former global sales director for the Epica Awards, and Lucía Ongay, former global press manager for the Epica Awards, have decided to break off and form their own awards show; one specifically designed to celebrate diversity.

The Gerety Awards, named after famed copywriter Frances Gerety who crafted the slogan “A Diamond is Forever,” will announce its shortlist, decided by its executive jury, during the first day of the 2019 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity on June 17. As if to further disrupt that event, the Gerety organization will also throw a party for shortlist winners during the Cannes Festival.

Participants can apply to its nine categories on the Gerety Awards website for entertainment, craft, communications and one category that even judges on professional portfolios, among others, according to Brooks.

Executive jury sessions will take place in 10 global cities: London, Hamburg, New York, Mumbai, Paris, São Paulo, Stockholm, Beirut, Amsterdam and Sydney. Each city will have 10 executive jurors. In mid-July, a grand jury will then announce the winners, who will receive unspecified prizes.

The Gerety Awards’ founders state that it is unique in two ways: it is more condensed than most awards shows that feature hundreds of categories, and members of its executive and grand juries are all female.

“I don’t think it is a coincidence that the most awarded work in our industry is usually sports brands, beer and/or male grooming products,” said Caitlin Ryan, EMEA regional creative director for Facebook and Instagram. “Ads that are made by and for young men. Guess who’s judging the work—young men.”

The list of confirmed jurors can be found on the Gerety Awards site, and more will be announced at a later date. The grand jury currently includes VMLY&R global CCO Debbi Vandeven; Leo Burnett London CCO Chaka Sobhani; Judy John, CEO of Leo Burnett Canada and CCO of Leo Burnett North America and Cristiana Boccassini, CCO of Publicis Italy.

Executive jurors include Droga5 chief intelligence officer Amy Avery; Harshada Menon, associate creative director of Ogilvy India; Hannah Smit, creative director at Wieden + Kennedy Netherlands; BBDO New York vice president and creative director Bianca Guimaraes; Lama Bawadi, senior Arabic copywriter for Leo Burnett Beirut and Lauren Haberfield, art director at McCann Paris.

“I was told I wouldn’t be able to do it; I wouldn’t be able to find enough women to be on it,” Brooks told Adweek. “That’s the excuse [men in the industry] use. That’s bullshit.”

Brooks said out of 135 women he asked to be a part of the awards show, either as judges or ambassadors, 130 agreed to participate. He noted that Gerety won’t be making any formal announcement about having an all-female jury because “it should just be normal.”

“I would imagine Cannes will have a 50/50 [male-to-female ratio] on their jury, which is great,” Brooks said. However, he doesn’t think there should be an announcement about it. Cannes doesn’t “deserve a clap on the back for doing something wrong for so many years. If they were serious about diversity, they would have 60 percent women on their jury and they wouldn’t say anything about it,” he explained.

Brooks added that it will be interesting to see what an all-female jury chooses for the shortlist, at the same time Cannes is kickstarting. Whether their decisions align with Cannes judges or not will make for a good discussion, he said.

He insisted that this will be an annual event and that it is in no way a gimmick.

The entry fee for each category is 217 euros ($249), according to Brooks.

Friday, February 22, 2019

14538: BHM 2019—GMR BHM WTF.

GMR Marketing proudly celebrates Black History Month by honoring Black leaders throughout history. Okay, but it would have been nice to see even one Black leader on the GMR team.

14537: ANA Diversity Report Shows Marketers Are Diversity Dimwits.

Adweek spotlighted an ANA Educational Foundation report showing “that marketers have a long way to go when it comes to creating an inclusive atmosphere at companies for people of color.” Gee, the ANA continues to collect data proving the obvious. And if marketers have a long way to go, White advertising agencies must be infinite light years away from achieving true diversity and inclusion.

Yet what’s the point of the ANA revealing common knowledge? As history has shown, trade clubs have no authority to mandate change—and such organizations are hardly qualified to provide legitimate solutions. Heaven forbid the ANA might refuse and/or revoke membership if companies fail to meet diversity standards. Also, what does the report ultimately say about initiatives like AIMM? The ANA should publish a report providing data measuring the success of its own diversity programs and smokescreens.

Investments in Diversity Hiring Aren’t Leading to Inclusivity in Advertising

ANA Educational Foundation report details challenges industry faces

By Diana Pearl

The ANA Educational Foundation released a report this week detailing the challenges that the advertising industry still faces when it comes to hiring and retaining employees of color.

“Charting a More Diverse Pathway to Growth” focused on three demographics: African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans. It was done in conjunction with a 2017 study from the Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF) called “Bridging the Talent Disconnect: Charting Pathways to Future Growth.” The most impactful conclusion from the report is that marketers have a long way to go when it comes to creating an inclusive atmosphere at companies for people of color.

The four key factors the survey identified were management disconnect, microaggressions, cultural illiteracy and workplace integration dissonance. Removing the jargon, that translates to managers not understanding the challenges and difficulties their employees face with regard to diversity, small actions that are “interpreted as insults to [an employee’s] culture and intelligence,” a lack of cultural understanding in the workplace and refraining from beginning a dialogue about diversity in the office over fear of professional retaliation or losing their jobs.

With the report’s results, the ANA’s Talent Forward Alliance set four guidelines to help marketers correct these factors and foster a more inclusive environment: rebuilding reputation with students, reconnecting with academia, recruiting and retaining with purpose and reinventing for the present and future.

The hope is that marketers will increase awareness of the industry with students, starting with better communication with those in the academic realm of marketing. Once students are out of school, marketers should work to recruit, hire and retain diverse talent, and build the right environment for that sort of growth to happen.

“Talent development does not rest on the shoulders of just the human resources department,” said Elliot Lum, svp of talent strategy and program initiatives for the AEF, in a statement accompanying the report. “It’s a shared and coordinated responsibility across HR, marketing, advertising and diversity leaders to enable and empower talent to drive growth for their organizations.”

One hundred and twenty interviews contributed to the AEF’s study, including CMOs, college students, marketing professors, agency executives and human resources team members.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

14536: BHM 2019—Derek Walker’s Color Commentary On Talent Of Color.

Adweek reported on the BHM initiative from brown & browner Founder Derek Walker, spotlighting talent of color via his social channels.

Agency Owner Derek Walker Uses Social Media Accounts to Spotlight Talent of Color Each Day of Black History Month

He hopes the list will spark conversation and industry-wide change

By Doug Zanger

Derek Walker, founder of Columbia, S.C. agency brown & browner, is hard to miss. Whether it’s his Twitter, LinkedIn feed or some of his blog posts, Walker has carved out a significant niche as a steadfast voice on issues related to diversity, inclusion and race in advertising. During Black History Month this year, Walker decided to focus on some of advertising’s most overlooked talent, so each day in February, he is highlighting talent of color on his social channels.

“In previous years, I would highlight black inventors, scientists and famous people who weren’t known,” said Walker. “But I thought this year I would introduce talented black industry talent to the world that otherwise would not get the recognition they deserve.”

So far, Walker has featured the Mixed Company podcast team; art directors Khalid Robertson, Edwina Owens Elliott and Castro Desroches; Society Redefined founder Deadra Rahaman; creative director Kevin Miles; professor Douglas Davis and brand powerhouses Gwen Kelly and Aja Smith.

“I’ve watched their careers,” said Walker. “I have 28 [people to highlight], but could almost do 200.”

That idea brings up a critical point to Walker: Why is it that February is the only month when talent of color seemingly gets the spotlight?

“I’m more than happy for someone to borrow this idea,” he said. “Do it once a week, once a month. … There are organizations designed to do this well. There are so many black, brown, Asian and Hispanic creatives who are being overlooked.”

Part of the issue, in Walker’s mind, rests with the substantial number of organizations dedicated to talent yet unable to come together for the greater good.

“I think that someone like the 4As should pull all of us into a room and figure it out,” noted Walker. “There are many programs, all vying for the same amount of space and time on the issue. Why can’t we just drop the barriers?”

Barriers are a consistent theme for Walker, who started his career at Cramer-Krasselt and had stints as a successful copywriter at Falgren, Temerlin McClain, TBWA\Chiat\Day and Berry Brown working on brands such as McDonald’s, Subaru, Morningstar Farms, Nationwide Insurance, Nissan, American Airlines, Master Lock and others before ultimately becoming in-house creative director for RadioShack.

“At one of my last two agencies, I was told that I could never be anything more than an ACD or creative director,” recalled Walker. “The other agency said I wouldn’t even become a CD. The fact was that I was never going to be in upper management because of the color of my skin, and this was despite glowing evaluations.”

Going back even further, Walker was the president of the University of South Carolina ad club and in the top 10 percent of his class, yet while his white classmates ended up getting industry jobs, Walker, after 11 interviews in Atlanta, was unable to find work. After going to portfolio school, Cramer-Krasselt (specifically, Paul Counsell) was his first opportunity.

“[Paul] was the first person to tell me, ‘Don’t you ever stop reminding us that you’re black.’”

Counsell told Walker that he saw the world differently because of Walker’s experiences. Also, in a meeting to discuss client work, Walker found the creative to be offensive, yet tended to keep it to himself.

“[Paul] could see in my face that I was upset,” said Walker. “He said, ‘Tell us what you’re thinking.’ After that, I did, and he said, ‘Don’t ever hold your tongue again or I’ll fire you. Because if we had done this work, it would have gone out in the world and been much worse for the client and us.’”

A couple significant parts of the issue today, as Walker sees it, is that the industry hasn’t looked at inclusion as an advertising assignment and that talent of color have been left behind while others have been elevated.

While Walker stresses the importance of recent movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up, he wants to know: “Where’s the enthusiasm for race?”

“[The public is] all-in for everyone else but race?” he posed. “The thinking is, ‘We’ll leave that alone for a while and get to it when we get to it.’”

Another factor that Walker feels is holding talent of color back are the agencies where they begin their careers.

“If you work at a black agency, as a black person, you might as well count on staying there because general market agencies are slow to hire them away,” said Walker. “There are some brilliant people at the black and Hispanic shops, but the system put in place, with smaller budgets and assignments, aren’t helping. Some of these agencies are more than worthy of pitching an entire account, … so the clients and brands have some blame as well.”

To further highlight talent, Walker has been quietly working on organizing what is called the Creative Kumite, a three-day competition where creative teams of color work on a big-budget brief that will result in real work for a brand. While the goal is to generate output, the bigger mission is for talent to get the exposure needed to take their careers to the next level.

“I’ll use a basketball analogy,” said Walker. “The rule is, if you show up at the court, you have to be able to play. No one cares what you look like, the only question is ‘Can you play?’ And the only way to prove that is to get out on the court. I think we can do this in advertising and those that are recruiting will see that there are plenty of people who can do well. All they have to do is see it for themselves.”

14535: The “We” Behind “We Believe” Are Not Very Believable.

CNN published a perspective from P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, who typed over 800 words to defend the Gillette “We Believe” propaganda produced by Grey Advertising. Pritchard borrowed a gripe from Brad Jakeman by arguing the online critics are a vocal minority. Once again, Pritchard’s cultural cluelessness is on full display. That is, the man doesn’t realize that being a vocal minority should not negate the value of an opposing viewpoint. Otherwise, nearly every social movement in U.S. history—from the American Revolutionary War to Women’s Suffrage to Civil Rights—would have failed.

More disturbing is Pritchard’s contention that a brand must mount soapboxes and take stands on social and cultural issues. Pritchard pontificated, “Gillette’s ‘We Believe’ was intended to promote positive action by inspiring conversations about the best men can be. Our team constantly talks with men who say they believe being a good man means not only rejecting bad behavior, but also being a role model for positive behavior. … And academics, psychologists, non-profits and community organizers have lauded the messages and expressed their support.”

Sure, lots of people are supporting the sentiment. But would the enthusiasm erode upon learning the identities of the men behind the message? How might the public react to discovering the responsible men—Mad Men, that is—have perpetuated exclusivity in regards to race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation for countless decades? These guys are hardly “not only rejecting bad behavior, but also being a role model for positive behavior.” And the bad boy behavior only gets worse by extending matters from Grey to parent White holding company WPP.

We believe actions speak louder than advertising.

Gillette’s ‘We Believe’ ad took a stand. And I’m proud of the conversation it started

By Marc Pritchard for CNN Business Perspectives

Our team at Gillette sparked an important worldwide conversation with the new “We Believe” ad. The film shows men being role models by stepping in to stop bullying and harassment and demonstrating how to treat people with respect. It has gotten nearly 100 million views on social media. We’re proud of the ad’s message about what it means to be a good man today, and how men can step up to reject bad behavior and take positive action.

Not everyone agrees with the message and there have been some vocal detractors. Some said the ad attacks masculinity, while others said it sounded like a lecture.

We respect different viewpoints and we’re paying attention to all of them. But it’s important to distinguish between actual consumer sentiment and some of the social media reaction that does not represent the majority opinion. Independent research from multiple sources indicates a far more positive response than what has been reported. Most consumers — men and women alike — support the messages, particularly younger Millennial and Gen Z consumers. The majority who’ve seen the film feel that Gillette shares their values and indicate they feel better about the brand and are more likely to purchase its products. If nothing else, we hope people take time to view the entire film, and even if they don’t agree, they will have a constructive conversation about it.

And that’s really why we made the film. Gillette’s “We Believe” was intended to promote positive action by inspiring conversations about the best men can be. Our team constantly talks with men who say they believe being a good man means not only rejecting bad behavior, but also being a role model for positive behavior. The film is causing people to pause, reflect and consider what they can do to set an even better example — especially for the next generation of men. It is being used in school classrooms and universities to educate and encourage discussion on masculinity and culture. And academics, psychologists, non-profits and community organizers have lauded the messages and expressed their support.

“We Believe” was hardly the first time Procter & Gamble used its marketing messages for good. Ariel in India and France show men “sharing the load” in household work by doing the laundry. Dawn features men doing the dishes — like many men do every day. Pampers highlights dads lovingly sharing diaper duty. Gillette has shaped perceptions of masculinity for more than 100 years — including the iconic line “The Best A Man Can Get” — so it was time to express a more modern, positive view of what it means to be the best in today’s world.

Why do we do this? Why does one of the world’s largest and most successful consumer goods companies get involved in social or cultural issues?

The answer is simple: Consumers expect more from brands than just selling products. They want to know what brands believe in, the people behind them, their values and views, and the actions they’re taking on important issues. In fact, nearly nine of 10 consumers expect brands to take a stand on social and environmental issues, and half say they make purchase decisions based on shared beliefs with the brand. People of all ages — from Gen Z to Baby Boomers — expect brands to take a stand. And 60% of millennials make purchases driven by their beliefs.

It’s also becoming clear that doing good — like Gillette’s commitment to donating $3 million to nonprofits promoting positive role models — is good for growth. The UN indicates that achieving its sustainable development goals represents a $12 trillion economic opportunity for businesses through a fairer, broader-based and more sustainable economy. McKinsey goes further in estimating that full economic equality between women and men would add $28 trillion to the world economy.

What’s more, brands have an impact on culture and social norms through advertising. The images and portrayals of people in advertising affect perceptions because they embed memories into our minds that in turn, form bias. That’s why ad exec Madonna Badger’s 2016 Women Not Objects challenged the advertising industry to eliminate the objectification of women in advertising. And more than 75 top marketers and 1,000 brands have stepped up to join the Association of National Advertisers’ #SeeHer movement, pledging to eliminate bias by accurately and positively portraying women and girls in advertising.

Brands touch people every day, so it’s important for them to make a positive difference in the world wherever possible — including in relevant social or cultural issues. Brands are arguably the most pervasive forces in the world for business growth — and they can also be used as a force for good. Not everyone will agree with a brand’s point of view and it may be subject to criticism. But if intentions are good, brands have a responsibility to step up, take the heat and keep going — and those good intentions will eventually prevail.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

14534: BHM 2019—Adweek Dimly Spotlights Black History Month Advertisers.

Adweek reported on nine brands saluting Black History Month with promotions and patronizing propaganda. While a handful of companies have been consistent supporters over the years, the story underscores the industry’s overall lack of interest for Black History Month—which is rooted in the overall lack of interest for Blacks. While events like International Women’s Day inspire endless campaigns with big budgets and big hopes of landing awards, the 28 days of February typically feature single-shot shit with crumby budgets and hopefully royalty-free stock images.

How These 9 Brands Are Commemorating Black History Month This Year

Hulu, Lyft and more rolled out new initiatives this February

By Diana Pearl

It’s Black History Month, and as the country celebrates black people, black activists and black icons, several brands are joining in to honor the impact they’ve had on culture and society. Here are nine brands who are participating and what they’re doing below.


The social media giant is encouraging its users to #ShareBlackStories with the advent of newly-unveiled creative and camera tools that were thought up by some black employees at Instagram. Additionally, on the platform’s own Instagram account, stories from creators like Tawny Chatmon, Paola “Pao Pao” Mathé and Uzumaki Cepeda as well as short films featuring prominent black figures will be shared throughout the month.


As per its usual tradition, Nike released a new lineup of sneakers in honor of Black History Month. The brand debuted eight new pairs of kicks for the occasion for men, women and children, including an Air Jordan sneaker and a pair of Converse high-tops. (Fellow sportswear brand Adidas also debuted a pair of Black History Month sneakers this year, but it was pulled after the all-white shoes received social media backlash.)


For the month of February, Target’s monthly beauty boxes will feature products for black consumers from black-owned brands, including Carol’s Daughter and Nubian Heritage. There are three boxes total, one for men and two for women. Additionally, the retailer is selling several products in honor of the month, including T-shirts listing the names of several influential black figures in history, like Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman.


The streaming platform rolled out a new three-part series this month called Around the Way, which features stories from notable black voices in Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York, including musician Jermaine Dupri, mayor of Compton Aja Brown and Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia Stacey Abrams. Hulu is also rolling out Celebrating Black Stories, a hub centered on “content celebrating black voices and themes on our platform,” according to a statement, which will remain on the platform through the end of February.


At Twitter’s New York City office, the company’s rotating #WallForACause, a cause-inspired art installation, celebrates #BlackExcellence in February. In collaboration with Blackbirds, Twitter’s black employee group, and local artist Keebs, the installation highlights several influential black women throughout history, including Coretta Scott King and Nina Simone, as well as modern figures like Serena Williams and Tarana Burke, founder of #MeToo.


Hennessy is rolling out a video series for Black History Month called We Are. The series will run for four episodes, each one featuring a different lineup of black artists, activists and more. Rapper ASAP Ferg and fashion designer Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss are among the names featured in the first episode, which is titled “We Are Creators.” It will be followed by three more: “We Are Proud,” “We Are Disruptors” and “We Are Ambitious.”


Throughout Black History Month, Coca-Cola is sponsoring a contest called “Share Your Service Story”—where people can share stories about their own military service or their family members’ or friends’—for a chance to win one of four scholarships worth $1,000 to $5,000. Participants can enter by sharing a photo or video on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ShareYourServiceStoryContest. The contest, done in partnership with the USO, is held in memory of Charles B. Hall, who was the first black service member to take down an enemy plane during the Second World War.


Lyft is giving away free rides to “black history museums, memorials and relevant cultural sites, as well as to black-owned businesses” during Black History Month, according to the company. Lyft will provide up to $10 in credit for people to ride to these significant landmarks and has listed all eligible spots on its website.


Across the country, SoulCycle is hosting rides to benefit the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, with an ultimate goal of raising $20,000. One hundred percent of the proceeds from each fundraising ride throughout the month of February will go to the Defense Fund.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

14533: BHM 2019—Coca-Cola Serves Scholarships To Servicemen And Servicewomen.

Coca-Cola allied with the USO and Mondelez to salute Black History Month via the Share Your Service Story promotion—featuring a chance to win a $5000 or $1000 scholarship.

14532: Even Alex Bogusky’s Rejected Ideas Deserve Praise And Awards.

Advertising Age reported on the latest self-promotion from CPB+ Chief Creative Engineer Alex Bogusky, whose new brainstorm involves staging a show of rejected client work. Um, didn’t Bogusky ban award shows last year? And now he wants to spotlight non-winning work. Brilliant. Bogusky should do what most White advertising agencies do with pitch scraps—shamelessly recycle the shit for the next shootout.

Agency Brief: Introducing the Ditch

Alex Bogusky wants to revive rejected client work

Alex Bogusky wants to play Dr. Frankenstein.

The co-founder and chief creative engineer of Crispin Porter Bogusky suggested in a brief Twitter video this week (alongside Jen Hruska, co-head of Strategy at CPB) that the agency do a show with old rejected client work.

“We do all these pitches but then we don’t win them all,” Bogusky says. “We have all this neat work. Wouldn’t it be cool to do a show … about work that didn’t win the pitch.” They’d hold the show in CPB’s woodshed.

The thought got people talking.

Mike Duda, managing partner of Bullish, tweeted back that he thought it was a bad call. “Don’t do it,” he said. “Your rationale is celebrating great work. If you lose, you probably blew it in at least one other area.”

But many thought it was an intriguing idea. “LOVE this idea. PLEASE do a show about getting pitch slapped (losing a pitch or a pitch that didn’t pan out to a client partner)!” tweeted Laura Marczika. Another, social media agency founder Eric Zimmett, made a suggestion to “Call it “The Ditch,” work that didn’t win the pitch.”

Mike Diccicco, whose Philadelphia-based DDCworks was recently acquired by Pavone Marketing Group, said this is kind of a thing already: “In Philly we have Dead Work Awards for great stuff that never saw the light of day. Event recently held in cemetery.”

As long as they keep that shed door locked, everything should be fine.

Monday, February 18, 2019

14531: BHM 2019—AT&T Has A Dream During Black History Month.

AT&T’s Dream In Black 28 appears to be an evolution of the annual 28 Days promotion with a bigger production budget, calling up a bunch of Black celebrities.

14530: OneSandbox Sounds Like A Litter Box Filled With Crumbs.

Advertising Age reported on a patronizing program from TBWA: OneSandbox—the amazingly exclusive search platform designed to help White advertising agencies connect with minority vendors. The pseudo inclusive invention sounds like digitally delegating diversity and drumming up divertsity, as well as integrating institutionalized discrimination, selective segregation and shameless self-promotion.

First, the site is only available to ten shops within the Omnicom stable. Why wouldn’t such a resource be open to all the White advertising agencies occupying the network? Surely a shop such as DDB could benefit from gaining access—otherwise, DDB Global President and CEO Wendy Clark won’t realize her restless ambition for diversity, and she’ll be forced to continue tapping vendors like Ted Royer. One would think Omnicom SVP Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany R. Warren might insist on making OneSandbox a mandatory tool across the entire company. It’s also unclear if any of Omnicom’s minority shops are involved. If not, why not? Minority shops typically have greater experience in connecting with minority vendors.

Second, the database is comprised of minority vendors that have worked with—and met the approval of—Omnicom shops. Um, isn’t this exactly the type of exclusivity that fuels discrimination? Will vendors who don’t win favor essentially be blacklisted? And won’t it increase the difficulty minority vendors already face when trying to catch a break and/or get their foot in the door?

Third, somebody tell the OneSandbox creators that Omnicom already boasts having a robust Supplier Diversity Database—which is a standard smokescreen for holding companies feigning interest in inclusion. And it’s especially expected for an enterprise claiming to be “committed to diversity” for over a decade and led by a Pioneer of Diversity. The invention of OneSandbox seems to indicate Omnicom has not been diligent, vigilant and honest in promoting and employing minority vendors.

Sorry, but OneSandbox sounds like a litter box filled with crumbs.

TBWA devises tool to connect agencies with diverse vendors

‘OneSandbox’ search platform aims to find diverse and women-owned creative companies

By Megan Graham

Ad agencies have come under scrutiny in recent years for their diversity levels (or lack thereof) in their employee and leadership pools. But a less talked-about topic has been diversity among creative vendors that agencies work with.

Omnicom’s TBWA/Worldwide has created a new resource aimed at making it a lot easier for agencies and brands to find minority suppliers in the advertising world. The goal is to give those businesses a leg up as agencies build more inclusive supply chains.

The new site, OneSandbox, is a membership-based search platform that allows agencies to connect with diverse and women-owned creative vendors that can bid on projects. Agencies or brands seeking to work with women-, multicultural-, Hispanic-, LGBT- or veteran-owned businesses, for instance, will be able to use the site to identify vendors to help with anything from casting and set design to translation or animatronics.

OneSandbox is launching with ten “charter” agencies — which include TBWA\Chiat\Day, The Integer Group, GMR Marketing, Eventive, TBWA\Media Arts Lab, The Collective, TBWA\Worldhealth, Nissan United, 180LA, Designory and Engage. Eventually TBWA plans to roll out the platform for all Omnicom agencies, then open up membership to agencies outside of the holding company.

Doug Melville, TBWA North America’s chief diversity officer, says the resource is meant to support diversity in the industry beyond the agency’s own walls. Though the site is meant to be a living and ever-widening resource, TBWA started by going through the minority-owned vendors it had worked with in the last two years that the agency wanted to recommend to others.

“We’ve used them, we know they’re good — or great — and we want them to have more opportunities,” he says. Melville says making the information about vetted, high-quality resources available and easy to navigate removes some of the barriers to hiring these diverse suppliers.

The site also includes information about diversity and inclusion-themed conferences, awards shows and news.

Creative consultancy Bravely helped TBWA build the OneSandbox website. Bravely’s president and chief experience officer Shane Santiago says this kind of resource can give shops like his own an in with agencies.

“Smaller agencies like ourselves really need a pipeline to showcase our talent,” he says. “Oftentimes once you get that first project or two, it can turn into a long-term relationship.”

OneSandbox joins a number of platforms and communities seeking to help minority suppliers gain new business. Free the Bid, for instance, was launched to encourage the industry to give women directors more consideration when it comes to ad work. Agency Spotter also has a filter for minority-owned or women-owned businesses. Santiago says a platform that is tightly focused on the ad industry is especially useful for shops like his since it’s likely to be more focused and specific — some platforms send out requests for proposals for work across many industries.

Rob Schwartz, CEO of TBWA/Chiat/Day New York, says hiring diverse suppliers isn’t just a feel-good decision — it’s good business. “These are fresh eyes and fresh voices,” he says, adding that casting a wider net for vendors is likely to mean agencies and brands are “going to wind up with something fresh with their creative product.”

Sunday, February 17, 2019

14529: BHM 2019—Publix Cooks Up Black History Month Meals.

Publix presents Publix Aprons® recipes for Black History Month.

The culinary collection does not include any dishes from Annie the Chicken Queen.

14528: Publicis In Australia Is Culturally Clueless—Whoop! (There It Is)

Publicis in Australia, is it really right to use comic book renderings for a potentially serious public health crisis? Injecting sexist imagery into each scene is not right either. The lack of diversity, on the other hand, is painfully right.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

14527: BHM 2019—Bill Cosby Cell-ebrates Black History Month.

Not sure why Bill Cosby chose to make his first public statement from jail during Black History Month. Definitely not sure why he positioned himself as a “political prisoner” alongside historical figures including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Dr. Benjamin Chavis. Not aware of any protest rallies with marchers chanting, “Free Cliff Huxtable!”

Bill Cosby says he won’t feel remorse because he’s a ‘political prisoner’

By Nicole Chavez, CNN

(CNN) In his first public statement from prison, Bill Cosby said he will never have remorse for his crimes and called himself a political prisoner.

“My political beliefs, my actions of trying to humanize all races, genders and religions landed me in this place surrounded by barb wire fencing, a room made of steel and iron,” the comedian said in a statement released through his press spokesman, Andrew Wyatt.

Cosby, 81, also noted that his cell at SCI Phoenix, the prison outside Philadelphia where he is serving his sentence, “resembles the quarters of some of the Greatest Political Prisoners—Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Randal Robinson, and Dr. Benjamin Chavis.”

Cosby’s statement was made public Wednesday after Wyatt spoke with WCAU in Philadelphia for a TV interview and revealed new details about the comedian’s time behind bars.

Cosby, once known as “America’s Dad,” was sentenced in September to three to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.

He’s being held at SCI Phoenix, a maximum security prison outside Philadelphia, and was recently moved to the prison’s general population. He spent a few months in a single cell in a unit adjacent to the infirmary, said Amy Worden, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

‘He did nothing wrong’

Wyatt and Cosby’s attorneys have been visiting the comedian in prison. They’ve seen Cosby smiling and taking the time to develop new projects, Wyatt said in the NBC10 interview.

“When I visit him it’s nothing sad about it,” Wyatt said. “He’s not sad, he’s not remorseful because he did nothing wrong.”

“The sheer volume of people coming forward making an accusation doesn’t mean that it’s true. And what America has said is that women don’t lie. Women do lie,” Wyatt added.

In his statement, Cosby agreed with Wyatt’s comments and argued that he was convicted even after authorities decided not to press charges against him in 2005 and when he reached a multimillion-dollar settlement for a civil lawsuit filed by Constand, one of the dozens of women who have publicly accused the comedian of sexual assault.

He believes it was the political aspirations of a district attorney and a judge that landed him in prison, according to the statement.

Cosby’s lengthy path to conviction began in 2004 when Constand accused him of sexual assault. A decade later, dozens of women came forward with accusations that Cosby had drugged and assaulted them in similar incidents over his career as a powerful media figure.

He was arrested in 2015 after a new team of prosecutors took up Constand’s case, which was the only case that occurred within the statute of limitations.

CNN’s Steve Forrest, Kristina Sgueglia and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.

14526: Hill Holliday Sends More Staffers On Permanent Holiday.

AgencySpy posted on the latest downsizing at Hill Holliday, and the blog didn’t even bother to correctly spell the White advertising agency’s name. Hill Holliday has been regularly dumping staffers over the past year, with the last round of layoffs strategically executed in October. The Boston-based shop brought in an SVP of Diversity and Talent Management last July—which might have been a wasted hire, as the place has been eliminating versus enlarging staff. Hey, maybe AgencySpy’s typos were symbolic of the reductions happening at the IPG-owned enterprise.

Hill Holiday Parts With 2 Percent of Staff in Boston and New York

By Erik Oster

A round of layoffs came to IPG’s Hill Holiday this week.

The staffing reduction comes the same week as news that Planet Fitness, which has worked with Hill Holiday since 2016, named Barkley as its new lead agency.

A spokesperson for the Boston-based agency confirmed the staffing reduction, stating that it impacted around two percent of staff in both its headquarters and the New York office.

The specific number of employees affected is unclear, as are their positions and departments and the specific reason for the move.

This news follows a “strategic restructuring” last October that saw the agency lay off 35 employees and eliminate the “project manager” title, according to a source close to the matter. Hill Holliday also went through a round of layoffs in Boston last April after longtime client Dunkin’ Donuts named BBDO as its new agency of record. It comes almost exactly a year after news that over 30 employees had departed the Boston office.

Hill Holiday and Trilia won creative and media duties for Frontier Communications last April. The agency also hired Scott Feyler as CFO and COO and Julianna Akuamoah as senior vice president of diversity and talent management last July and made a series of strategic leadership promotions in October.

In a recent “one word answers” interview with Campaign, chairman and CEO Karen Kaplan said the biggest opportunity for agencies today is purpose, and their biggest obstacle is fear.

Friday, February 15, 2019

14525: BHM 2019—For Adland, Black History Month Offers 28 Days Of Denial.

Adweek published a lengthy report on Black History Month celebrations at White advertising agencies. Guess the trade journal couldn’t find a single Black advertising agency to feature. Whatever. The patronizing highlights include:

Deutsch will host a panel discussion on Black women in corporate America, along with a workshop, dance class and exhibition by Black artists. According to Adweek, a Deutsch mouthpiece declared the core of the agency “is in its talent and that ‘creating an inclusive place for our employees is our number one priority.’” Okay, but the statement is coming from an exclusive place that fired its Diversity Director, who later claimed, “I was told that the agency was no longer going to invest in diversity.”

• TBWA\Chiat\Day appears to have delegated the festivities to Chief Diversity Officer for North America Doug Melville.

• Havas is regurgitating its #BlackAtWork propaganda for all the Blacks who fucking love working there.

Forsman & Bodenfors will screen a movie—either The Hate U Give, Selma, Black Panther or Coming to America. Adweek didn’t probe on how the Sweden-based agency arrived at selecting the film finalists.

Allen & Gerritsen CEO Andrew Graff said, “Black History Month is a time to reflect on the past and inspire A&G’s commitment to consistently evolve and bravely challenge ourselves to be inclusive.” Sorry, but a peek at the agency leadership displays a lack of bravery and an abundance of culturally clueless cowardice.

Given the many art and music events planned at White advertising agencies, it’s safe to say that saluting Black History Month in adland is a bunch of song and dance.

14524: JWT Commodore Sailing Toward Another Stormy Court Battle.

Campaign reported the JWT London discrimination case—where a group of White, British, privileged, straight men charge they were fired after voicing concerns over JWT London Creative Director Jo Wallace griping about White, British, privileged, straight men—will go to tribunal. Remember when JWT New York CEO Lynn Power argued the internal perception and external perception were very different for the White advertising agency—i.e., she claimed the place did not have the diversity and divertsity dilemmas that the Gustavo Martinez-Erin Johnson lawsuit seemed to symbolize? Bwahahahahaha!

JWT discrimination case to go to tribunal

Group includes Chas Bayfield.

By Jeremy Lee

The straight, white, middle-aged men who claimed they were forced out of J Walter Thompson as part of a diversity drive are taking the agency to an employment tribunal.

The men involved, which include senior creative Chas Bayfield, have engaged law firm Judge Sykes Frixou to fight the case. They are due to serve papers either tomorrow (Friday 15 February) or early next week.

JWT will then have a maximum of 28 days to respond to the claims in writing, giving its side of the case. Once it has replied, the tribunal will decide whether there will be a full hearing to decide on the case. If they can prove that they were discriminated against, there is an unlimited payout.

Campaign broke the story of the allegations in November. It is alleged that they were ousted after raising concerns about the comments of JWT creative director Jo Wallace at a Creative Equals conference in May. Wallace introduced herself as a gay woman and said that she wanted to “obliterate” the reputation that the agency was full of white, privileged straight men after the company announced a gender pay gap of 44.7%. Wallace was speaking in a joint presentation with JWT executive creative director Lucas Peon.

The story attracted considerable media attention and it is believed that the BBC is making a programme about the case. Since the allegations first came to light, WPP is in the process of merging JWT with Wunderman.

Wunderman Thompson declined to comment.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

14523: BHM 2019—At Walmart, It’s Reigning Young Men and Young Women.

Walmart presents #ReignOn for Black History Month, spotlighting exceptional Black youth.

14522: Publicis.Sapient Poops Out More Digital Dookie.

AgencySpy posted on the latest shuffling at Publicis.Sapientthe industry’s biggest digital dunghill. There’s even a new website featuring an embarrassingly bad video, demonstrating once again that digital agencies shouldn’t be allowed to handle creative assignments. Plus, the website appears to show off an oh-so-diverse staff—until realizing the tattooed hipster and crew are available for hire via royalty-free stock photography.

Publicis.Sapient Names New CEO as the 28-Year-Old Razorfish Brand Comes to an End

By Patrick Coffee

The reorganization of Publicis.Sapient has finally happened.

As part of its earnings call today, Publicis Groupe announced that Nigel Vaz will become the CEO of Publicis.Sapient, with predecessor Alan Wexler moving into the chairman role.

Vaz was formerly CEO of Publicis Sapient International in the EMEA and APAC regions.

The release goes on to state, “As part of this news, Vaz is also leading a rebranding of Publicis Sapient, which will see the company come together to create a single unified brand laser-focused on combining creatives, technology, research and analysis in order to provide a comprehensive service to clients in the digital business transformation (DBT) space.”

The subtext here confirms Adweek’s July 2018 report regarding Publicis’ plans to fold the 28-year-old Razorfish organization (which had since merged with Sapient) into Publicis.Sapient, which is one of the holding company’s four larger “solutions hubs.” Publicis never confirmed the story despite the fact that the Razorfish Wikipedia page currently reads that it “announced plans to sunset the SapientRazorfish brand and roll the remaining employees under the Publicis.Sapient organization.”

The description continues: “By fusing our experience, capabilities, customer experience and viewpoint, along with innovative engineering, within a culture renowned for problem-solving creativity, Publicis Sapient will be able to leverage its skillsets in management consulting and other emerging areas such as data and AI to deliver an authentic customer-centric approach to its clients, helping them digitally transform in the process. This people-centric approach to digital business transformation will continue to evolve alongside the preferences of clients and their consumers.”

In a statement, Vaz said he is “honored to take on the role of Publicis Sapient CEO at this time” and that he will work to integrate its “consulting, industry expertise, experience and engineering capabilities at scale while enhancing the culture and values, which have made us an integral business transformation partner since our inception”

As the July story noted, this merger has been going on for some time and went through multiple delays, as many such large-scale projects tend to do. Publicis has also made several efforts to streamline the organization—the July story also noted triple-digit layoffs, and multiple parties reached out to us after it went live to state that the ultimate number of U.S. employees affected was around 200.

It should be noted that SapientRazorfish employed more than 12,000 at the time, and the new entity includes 20,000 across 35 offices around the world.

According to sources close to the organization, more cuts came in recent weeks and primarily affected the creative side of the business.

A Publicis.Sapient spokesperson declined to comment beyond the release.

Razorfish came to life in 1990 as one of the original digitally-oriented agencies. Microsoft acquired the company in 2007 and then sold it to Publicis two years later for an estimated $530 million in cash and stock, with Razorfish and Sapient becoming one in late 2017. As of this moment, the RazorfishSapient website still exists, but that will not be the case for much longer.

Publicis missed its earnings goals for the final quarter of 2018, and while Arthur Sadoun said the results were “outstanding” given the “challenging” environment, he acknowledge that this quarter would make for a “bumpy ride.”