Thursday, October 31, 2019

14808: Patronizing Halloween Party Gear, Exclusively From BBDO.

BBDO in Canada is responsible for this Halloween stunt. Not available in the collection—Indigenous Advertising Executive.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

14807: Droga5 Promotes 6 White People To Positions Of Power.

Advertising Age reported Droga5 promoted a bunch of White people, including elevating two White men to co-CCOs of the New York office, replacing the White man who replaced the White man sacked for allegedly creating an unsafe workplace for women. Oh, and the promotions included White women too. All of which goes to show that the Droga5 dedication to diversity might be the most creative poop propaganda coming out of the White advertising agency.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Monday, October 28, 2019

14805: Westminster And Adland Are Separated At Mirth—As Well As Mischief And Misandry.

As this Women’s Equality Party campaign shows, drivers of the White women’s bandwagon have no hesitations or reservations about depicting the alleged perpetrators in the most negatively stereotypical style.

Then again, with a few minor revisions, the messages could easily apply directly to adland.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

14804: Light—And Light-Skinned—Reading With Penguin Books.

This Penguin Audiobooks campaign from India is troubling on two White fronts:

First, is the campaign implying that the audience would only be interested in hearing/reading literature from White authors?

Second, the casting of light-skinned talent is a sadly repetitive story.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

14803: Any Blacks Behind The Black Forest McFlurry?

DDB Colombia is responsible for this Mickey D’s advertisement. It’s a safe bet that Selva Negra involved no Negroes. Besides, isn’t the Black Forest in Germany versus a jungle region?

Friday, October 25, 2019

14802: More Collateral Damage—And Dumbness—From The Ted Royer TED Talk.

Advertising Age published a divertorial by BETC Senior Art Director Lauren Haberfield, who whined about the recent Ted Royer LIA-liar spectacle and ultimately demonstrated that art directors should not handle copy. Haberfield offered no original commentary or provocative perspectives, opting to regurgitate the obvious in clichéd fashion. She did manage, however, to make a few ignorant comments.

For example, Haberfield sniffed, “Once again, a woman’s right to be offended was completely overruled by a man’s right to be heard.” Okay, except Royer’s presentation was arranged and approved by LIA President and Founder Barbara Levy—so maybe Haberfield should direct her offense at the White woman responsible for the mess.

Keep in mind, Levy took a swipe at Diet Madison Avenue when remarking, “I do not believe that an anonymous social media platform that does not allow the accused to respond should be allowed to indict, try and convict anyone.” Okay, but DMA did not indict, try and convict Royer. The ex-CCO underwent an investigation conducted by Droga5, which resulted in the White advertising agency deciding to terminate the man. Yeah, the DMA vigilantes posted arguably slanderous indictments—for which they deserve whatever legal judgments might inevitably be leveled against them—but the trial and conviction of Royer belongs to Droga5.

Haberfield displayed naiveté and stupidity by stating, “As an attendee of Creative LIAisons, I want to vouch for what an important opportunity this event is for young creatives.” Um, award shows such as LIA are a root cause of the overall problem. That is, trophies fuel the pseudo rock star status bestowed upon alleged pigs like Royer.

Haberfield also declared, “This isn’t about one incident or one man. It’s about how ignorant, how careless, the industry still is about facing what is happening inside agencies. Sexual harassment and assault are not things of the past. Managers continue to cover it up or keep it hidden. And people in power still abuse that power and manipulate those without it.” Wow, that’s a pretty sweeping condemnation. Does Haberfield view JWT London Creative Director Jo Wallace as a mentor and role model? Is she a junior Cindy Gallop, ready to brand Royer as representing the single biggest business issue in adland?

Finally, Haberfield seems oblivious to the reality that White women have been co-conspirators with White men in maintaining the exclusivity in the field. It’s not inappropriate or inaccurate to say the two groups have literally and figuratively been in bed with each other for a long time.

Is time really up on sexual misconduct in our industry?

By Lauren Haberfield

The second that ex-Droga5 chief creative officer Ted Royer stepped out to make his first public appearance since the allegations of sexual misconduct and his subsequent firing in 2018, it became shockingly apparent just how little progress the advertising industry has made in addressing the MeToo epidemic.

His audience? Not his peers, nor the press, nor established industry leaders, but the very type of women who are typically targeted by powerful men like him: young creatives who are building their careers.

The talk had little to do with creativity or the purpose of the conference—Creative LIAisons, the LIA awards event for creatives under age 30. Royer was unlisted in the program, leaving the audience little choice but to listen to what became an open, undebated space for him to deny accusations. One by one, he denounced testimonies posted on Instagram account Diet Madison Avenue, saying they were fabricated.

Once again, a woman’s right to be offended was completely overruled by a man’s right to be heard.

Royer’s surprise appearance followed award-winning journalist Lara Logan’s talk on empathy. The message was far from subtle: his placement, directly after, practically screamed “give him the benefit of the doubt.”

When alleged sexual assault victims tell their stories, wouldn’t it be nice if they, too, were preceded by an emphatic talk on the importance of believing them?

There is no question that a person should have a right to tell their story. But in a world that actually needs an “I believe her” hashtag, taking stories from victims and using them to claim innocence in any context other than a court of law comes across as insensitive at best, violence at worst: it is part of what fuels a culture that is more inclined to blame the assaulted than the predator.

Multiple people left the room during Royer’s talk.

The session closed with Royer offering to take questions. Never mind that the Creative LIAisons’ organizers let an alleged sexual harasser address a room of young creatives in the first place; a properly managed Q&A could have been an opportunity to even out the conversation.

Let’s be honest … speaking out against harassment, even in this type of forum, doesn’t always end well. And to a room full of young professionals, eager to advance their careers—who may not even have enough power to speak their minds to their bosses, let alone question one of the (former) most powerful men in our industry—no matter how open and willing Royer appeared to be, it only amplified how inappropriate this context was for his first public appearance.

But more tone-deaf than the talk itself was the way it was handled after.

Barbara Levy, the head of the LIA awards, issued an apology but went on, in her words, to ‘warn’ attendees that a sexual assault victim would speak in the afternoon. That talk was ultimately canceled, but the warning’s implication was disconcerting. It was as if she believed people would feel just as uncomfortable about hearing a victim’s perspective as they rightly did by an alleged offender’s.

As an attendee of Creative LIAisons, I want to vouch for what an important opportunity this event is for young creatives. The LIA awards made mistakes, but these were symptoms of a bigger issue, not the problem.

This isn’t about one incident or one man. It’s about how ignorant, how careless, the industry still is about facing what is happening inside agencies. Sexual harassment and assault are not things of the past. Managers continue to cover it up or keep it hidden. And people in power still abuse that power and manipulate those without it.

The conversation around women and sexual harassment in the workplace may have changed, but the abuse of power has not. #TimesUp on pretending it has.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

14801: IPG Reports Financial Gains Despite Integrity Losses.

AgencySpy posted that IPG reported a Q3 net revenue bump of 8.7%, despite financial struggles in the U.S. Maybe the U.S. loot woes are tied to settlements with sexual harassment victims. Then again, the rosy financial news likely has Joe Alexander contemplating increasing his money demands.

14800: Wunderman Thompson CCO Is An Oxymoron—And Anyone Taking The Role Is Likely A Moron.

Adweek reported Wunderman Thompson hired a White man as its new North America CCO. Why would Wunderman Thompson—a mutant marriage of two historically uncreative enterprises—even need a creative leader? Plus, the man comes from Saatchi & Saatchi New York, where he held the same title for less than a year. Wayner is essentially bouncing from one outhouse to another. And he offsets the faux diversity that the White advertising agency is seeking to fabricate. It’s amazing the shop didn’t tap a White woman for the position.

Wunderman Thompson Names Taras Wayner North America CCO

He leaves Saatchi & Saatchi New York for new role

By Doug Zanger

Taras Wayner, the creative leader who may be best known for his contributions to R/GA’s “Love Has No Labels,” is joining Wunderman Thompson as the agency’s chief creative officer in North America. Wayner is departing Saatchi & Saatchi New York, where he was in the same role for a little over a year.

Wayner was at R/GA for about 12 years and was the other half of the powerhouse creative leadership duo that included Chloe Gottlieb, who left for Google in May 2018. Wayner then served with Richard Ting before announcing the move to Saatchi in July 2018.

“We embrace a culture of creative bravery—it’s the lifeblood of our business,” said Shane Atchison, CEO of Wunderman Thompson North America, in a statement. “Taras is a huge talent and an even better human being.”

“As creativity continues to be the most sustainable competitive advantage for our clients, this demands a tremendous amount of diverse ability in any creative leader,” added Daniel Bonner, global chief creative officer of brand experience at Wunderman Thompson. “It calls for pioneers that can boast a unique track record of building teams, creating industry-defining work and leading brands to the most inspirational answers to problems, again and again. The good news for our agency and our clients is that Taras is most definitely a shining example of this rare breed.”

In addition to his team’s groundbreaking work for the Ad Council, Wayner has had a hand in successful campaigns for Fox, Coca-Cola, Samsung, the NFL, Nike, Verizon and Beats by Dre. The Fox Sports work nabbed a Cannes Grand Prix in 2001 and was inducted into the Clio Hall of Fame.

Wayner will report to Wunderman Thompson’s North America CEO Shane Atchison in the new role.

For its part, Saatchi & Saatchi is on the hunt for a new creative leader in the U.S. market. At the time of his appointment, Wayner took over for Javier Campopiano, who helmed the wildly successful “It’s a Tide Ad” campaign. In May 2018, the Argentinian rejoined FCB Mexico as a partner and CCO.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

14799: Joe Alexander Wants Truth In Advertising—Ups The Ante By $50 Million.

Advertising Age reported Joe Alexander filed a $50 million lawsuit against The Martin Agency and IPG, complementing the $25 million lawsuit targeting Diet Madison Avenue and Adweek. The Martin Agency is probably checking if GEICO offers insurance to cover legal disputes. Alexander presented plenty of comedy, including dramatic prose in his court complaint and statement to Ad Age. Equally hilarious was counter-commentary from Kristen Cavallo that read: “It’s never been about Joe or #metoo for us. Karen [Costello, chief creative officer,] and I are the leaders of ‘what came next.’ Our actions are a reflection of our values, not a reaction to the past. We can have transparency, wage equality, extended parental leave, a true commitment to a diverse workforce, while creating work our clients prosper from, people talk about and our employees are proud of. Our focus is on the future and the agency’s progress.” Fortunately for Cavallo, she isn’t required to prove her puffery. Such bullshit clearly qualifies as a divertisement. Meanwhile, Alexander is seeking a jury trial, likely in order to call the GEICO Gecko and Caveman as character witnesses.

Former Martin Agency Exec Joe Alexander Sues Martin and IPG For $50 Million

Complaint filed today begins with ‘Et tu, Martin?’ and claims the shop secretly leaked information to Diet Madison Avenue

By Ann-Christine Diaz

Former Martin Agency creative chief Joe Alexander made good on his promise to file against Interpublic Group of Cos. today. It’s not exactly your average lawsuit.

The complaint, filed in the Circuit Court of the city of Richmond, Virginia, seeks $50.4 million dollars in damages and opens with an image of “The Death of Lucretia,” the circa-1760s painting by Scottish neoclassicist Gavin Hamilton.

After the opening question, “Et tu, Martin?” It reads, “This is a case about extreme betrayal, deception and disloyalty,” and names his former agency, its CEO Kristen Cavallo, former VP and associate creative director Sissy Estes, attorney Tara Hanley of Dallas law firm Mark and Hanley and holding company IPG as defendants.

Alexander’s suit charges the defendants with “defamation, insulting words, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, gross negligence, tortious interference, common law conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud in the inducement.” The suit seeks a jury trial.

The suit also follows an earlier suit he filed last month against Diet Madison Avenue and trade publication Adweek.

Alexander left The Martin Agency in December 2017 after the shop reportedly conducted an internal investigation into sexual harassment allegations following posts that had appeared on Diet Madison Avenue—though the agency only responded indirectly to Ad Age when asked if it had conducted such an investigation.

The new complaint lists Alexander’s various contributions and accomplishments during his tenure at the agency, including awards show accolades and industry citations. Those include business and creative successes for brands such as Geico, Oreo, Donate Life, JFK Library and more. There are photos showing him with the Martin team accepting Clios and an Emmy. It cites his salary in 2016 as $1,071,856.83.

The suit alleges that Martin “robbed” Alexander “of his entire life’s work, destroyed his name and reputation, and permanently impaired his ability to find employment in the advertising industry.” It charges that the agency did so by secretly leaking to anonymous social media account Diet Madison Avenue the terms of a confidential settlement agreement between Alexander and the agency along with confidential human resources files, and claims that the agency “represented to DMA that Joe had sexually harassed Martin employees.” The suit states that such allegations were “completely false.”

In further details listed in the complaint, Alexander claims that along with its release of the aforementioned confidential settlement details in the fall of 2017, defendant “Estes or another former employee falsely stated to DMA that in ‘Joe Alexander’s case, there was a slush fund created just for him internally at Martin’ to deal with Joe’s ‘crap’ — a ‘slush fund’ that was hidden from [IPG Chairman-CEO] ‘Michael Roth and IPG.’” The suit identifies Estes as an art director on Walmart who was laid off in 2011 and, the suit claims, “publicly bragged about bringing Joe down” by collaborating with DMA and the media.

The suit goes on to claim that “the suggestion that Roth and IPG were unaware” of the confidential settlement is “patently false,” noting that financial statements of both holding company and agency are consolidated and audited, so a settlement check could not have been concealed from what it calls “IPG’s crack team of accountants and auditors.”

It further claims that the agency and DMA exchanged “numerous false and defamatory statements” about Alexander via Instagram messenger and “wrongly accused Joe of sexual harassment and labeled him a predator.”

The complaint also alleges that IPG had ordered the Martin Agency to terminate Alexander after it had learned the agency had “breached fiduciary duties” and that the agency disclosed confidential employee information to DMA—information which, along with “false accusations,” it claims, were published by DMA.

The suit says that IPG’s reported investigation into claims of harassment by Alexander was only done as a “cover-up” of Martin’s breaches with regard to the confidential settlement agreement, purporting that Alexander’s termination by IPG was a means to shift the spotlight away from the company and prevent DMA from looking into a cover-up of harassment by c-suite execs.

The suit identifies defendant Hanley as an attorney for former Martin employee Robin Bidwell, who the suit claims “alleged (falsely) that she had been sexually harrassed.” The complaint says that Alexander denied wrongdoing and the matter was settled without liability in 2013 in a confidential agreement, which it claims was later leaked to the press.

“It’s never been about Joe or #metoo for us. Karen [Costello, chief creative officer,] and I are the leaders of ‘what came next,’” said Martin Agency CEO Kristen Cavallo in a comment provided to Ad Age. “Our actions are a reflection of our values, not a reaction to the past. We can have transparency, wage equality, extended parental leave, a true commitment to a diverse workforce, while creating work our clients prosper from, people talk about and our employees are proud of. Our focus is on the future and the agency’s progress.”

“This claim is without merit, not to mention contrary to Joe Alexander’s signed agreement with our company and written apologies,” IPG said in a statement to Ad Age. “We stand by our actions and will defend our position, and pursue all applicable counterclaims, vigorously.”

When asked for comment about the suit, Alexander released a statement to Ad Age that reads in full:

I believed. I believed in The Martin Agency. I believed in what they stood for. A company that created big, business changing ideas. A place where hard work was rewarded. Where everyone had a voice at the table. I believed in the talent and pushed my teams to achieve like never before. I believed in the culture so much, I personally recruited dozens of creatives and their families from all over the world to join us. I believed in the people. They were more than coworkers. They were close friends. Confidants. Even godparents. I believed them when they said ‘Trust me.’ ‘You’re my partner.’ ‘We have your back.’ I kept believing in The Martin Agency when it all ended in 2017 after 26 years. ‘We will work it out.’ ‘I want you to have everything so you can make an informed decision.’ ‘We’re here for you.’ A year passed, then 18 months, then almost 2 years. I continued to believe the story they gave me and spread in the press and on panels at Cannes. I took it hook, line and sinker, even to the point I began to apologize and take blame. Until, one day this summer, I stopped believing. They said ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste.’ And I began to discover The Martin Agency lied to me. They betrayed me. They left me for dead. They used my loss for their gain. Yes, I still believe. But I believe in something much bigger. The Truth. And I’m going to fight until The Truth is out there for everyone else to see. And believe.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

14798: War Is Hell Health.

This Egyptian campaign for the Alexandria Cure Center features a headline that sloppily translates to: Don’t let your body organs get involved into wars.

The idea should have been shot down in the concept stage.

Monday, October 21, 2019

14797: CultureHeroes To The Rescue!

Campaign reported on CultureHeroes, an initiative whose super mission is to increase BAME leadership across advertising, design and technology. Not sure if the effort represents delusional idealism or delegating diversity. Even recruiting heroes like Black Panther, Luke Cage, Storm and Captain America would probably not lead to victory—as evidenced by a BBDO heroic smokescreen.

New initiative aims to support and develop BAME leadership in adland

CultureHeroes will formally launch in December.

By Gemma Charles

A not-for-profit initiative aimed at creating the next generation of black, Asian and minority-ethnic leadership across advertising, design and technology has launched with a survey to find out the experiences of people of colour in the industry.

CultureHeroes is founded by Engine Creative chief executive Ete Davies, Boost App tech lead Kal Mba and freelance marketing and operations director Sophie Williams.

Davies said: “It was born out of a realisation that our industry is still not making enough progress towards BAME representation in leadership. And that without this representation, many D&I initiatives for BAME aren’t treated as a strategic priority, BAME talent acquisition and retention also suffer and we will end up with ‘diversity churn’.

“By creating change in the leadership representation, we hope to create an environment for long-term, sustainable inclusion for BAME professionals in the creative industries.”

The “pillars” of the initiative are:

• Community — a network of people and organisations, working to support the progression of emerging BAME leadership talent.

• Personal development — leadership development, mentoring and coaching for BAME professionals who are seeking to move into a leadership role or are on a path to leadership.

• Creating inclusive leadership — working with companies and organisations to create more inclusive leadership teams and behaviours to create an environment for new BAME leaders to thrive.

Industry partners include TheOffsite, Creative Equals, Data & Marketing Association, D&AD and consultancy Utopia.

Surveying the industry

The group plans to use the results of the survey to tell a more “expansive” story of beyond the existing census-style data available from the IPA.

Davies said the survey would provide CultureHeroes with insight that could be used to create recommendations for change and advice for BAME people wanting to become leaders. It will also be used as a recruitment drive for mentors and mentees.

The roll-out of the survey represents a soft launch for CultureHeroes, which will have an official launch in December.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

14795: WPP CEO Mark Read On Being The Worst…

More About Advertising reported WPP CEO Mark Read, referring to his past role as a management consultant, declared, “It was the worst four years of my life.” Which is pretty much the sentiment that WPP employees will echo if Read lasts another three years in his current role.

‘It was the worst four years of my life,’ says WPP’s Mark Read about his time as a management consultant

Posted by: Emma Hall

At the Festival of Marketing, WPP CEO Mark Read was interviewed by Marketing Week editor Russell Parsons, who tried and failed to get Read to dish the dirt on his predecessor, Martin Sorrell, but did extract some healthy management consultant bashing.

Read said: “I’ve had the luxury of working in management consultancy. Luxury is probably the wrong word – it was the worst four years of my life. To start with, you work harder than the CEO of WPP and it’s a slightly thankless task. You decide on the answer within the first week of starting a project and spend the next three months trying to prove what you decided three months before, tell the client what the answer is, and work in isolation from them.”

As an example, he talked about New York’s High Line: “If you’re looking to regenerate the west side of Manhattan and you go to a consultant they’d talk about tax breaks and infrastructure and grants. If you talk to creative people they might say, ‘look we’ve got a fantastic railway that runs through it, we turn it into a garden – and it’s cheaper to do that than to tear it down.’ That application of creativity is what matters. It’s not enough to stare at the spreadsheet, or copy what ten other people have done.”

Despite his antipathy towards the consultants, Read (who worked at Booz & Company, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers, in the 90s), did concede that WPP would inevitably become a bit more like them, because the group needs to develop new skills, around helping clients on the transformation journey. There is talk that WPP is going to launch its own consultancy brand, following the success of Grey Consulting.

While stressing that creative brands are still at the heart of WPP, he acknowledged that the silos between technology and creativity had to be broken down, hence the speedy mergers of Y&R with VML and JWT with Wunderman after he started the CEO job last September.

To stave off in-housing, Read agreed that agencies must respond better to client needs, but he also put the onus on marketers, saying that they have to be experts at buying agency services. “If you want to do search well, you should really understand what it is, how to do it, and what’s the best agency for it,” he said, while also stressing client responsibility for brand safety, which isn’t just an agency issue — everyone should be on top of it, understand the problem and know what’s going on.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

14792: Strumming Along With BBDO Brazilian Divertisement.

BBDO in Brazil is responsible for the Doritos “Diversity Guitar”—a little divertisement ditty. Is this the kind of shit that BBDO Global Creative Chief David Lubars would call scammy and refuse to be associated with? Appropriately enough, any mention of diversity connected to BBDO is ultimately a lot of song and dance.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

14791: ¡Dios Mío! Barbie Dolled Up For Día De Los Muertos Is Disturbing.

Adweek presented a perspective from Janel Martinez, where the writer opined the Día de los Muertos Barbie dances a tightrope between cultural appropriation and appreciation. Hey, it’s not the first time Barbie has crossed the color line and crashed her Dream Camper into Cultural Clueless country.

Día de los Muertos Barbie Walks a Fine Line Between Cultural Appropriation and Appreciation

Mattel’s doll offers a nod to the Mexican tradition without much else

By Janel Martinez

Mattel is no stranger to criticism over its Barbie brand. From limited, gender-specific professional choices to unrealistic body standards, the toy company has navigated its fair share of complaints involving the 60-year-old doll. Though Mattel has introduced several diverse, groundbreaking dolls this year—including the Barbie Fashionista line featuring two dolls with physical disabilities, the Inspiring Women series with civil rights leader Rosa Parks and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and its latest release of gender-neutral dolls—the brand’s Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, Barbie straddles the fine line between cultural appropriation and appreciation.

Before the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, the toy giant announced a limited-edition Día de los Muertos Barbie to honor the 3,000-year-old indigenous observance that celebrates the lives of deceased friends and family. While the holiday originated in Mexico with the Aztec, Toltec and other Nahua people, it’s celebrated in other areas of Latin America.

The $75 doll, which is currently sold out, sports a ruffled, long black dress “embellished with heart and butterfly details.” A crown of monarch butterflies and bright marigolds sits atop her head and traditional skull mask, better known as Calavera Catrina, makeup adorns her face.

Designed by Mexican-American Javier Meabe, the doll’s dress resemble ones he saw his mother wear. The designer’s details coincide with the holiday’s traditions, as marigolds are the main flowers used to decorate the ofrenda, or altar, where the spirits are welcomed back to earth. The monarch butterflies are believed to hold the spirit of loved ones, and millions arrive in Mexico like clockwork just in time for Día de los Muertos.

While Mattel tapped a designer who is of the community reflected, the commercialization of Día de los Muertos is a growing concern. Held Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, its proximity to Halloween has led some to refer to the sacred holiday as the “Mexican Halloween.” Marketplaces and retailers like Amazon, Party City and Walmart often profit greatly from it as well. A quick “Day of the Dead” search on Party City’s website, for instance, yields an assortment of party supplies, accessory kits and skull or skeleton-embellished costumes. Consumers can select and purchase these items without understanding the history behind the holiday or having any consideration for the indigenous community.

Even large-scale companies have used Día de los Muertos as a theme. In 2017, streaming service Netflix built ofrendas at the Annual Día de los Muertos Festival at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles to honor five deceased characters: Poussey Washington of Orange Is the New Black, Barb Holland of Stranger Things, Don Salvador Iglesias of Club de Cuervos, Zoe Barnes of House of Cards and Diego Nava of Ingobernable.

Though Netflix contracted an altarist from Oaxaca, Mexico and the pan de muerto (a version of pan dulce prepared for Día de los Muertos) was made by an Oaxacan baker based in L.A., this was still an activation. The cultural practices and decor were used to draw audiences to Netflix shows, not to authentically and respectfully honor the spirits of those who’ve passed on. The activation was covered by a bevy of Spanish-language outlets and powered by Latinos at the company, according to Chile-based platform Upsocl.

Marketing the observance in this way lessens its sacred meaning.

“I feel like some people think it’s a costume, but it’s not; it’s not a joke. It’s not a Halloween costume,” said Jessica Resendiz to Latinx culture and news site Remezcla on Día de los Muertos.

As the sacred observance grows in visibility, it’s moved from regional and national awareness to global recognition. But does the money always reach the communities that have enhanced these companies’ revenue?

Take Disney Pixar’s animated film Coco, which centers around the holiday. The film generated more than $800 million worldwide. During the film’s creative process, their team visited Oaxaca where cook Estela Fabian Mendoza, who is said to be the inspiration behind the Academy Award-winning film’s Abuelita Elena, has reportedly not received any money for inspiring the role. Pixar has not formally confirmed the connection, but it has been verified that Pixar producers visited their town around Shiin Naa Lasn, or Festival for the People, which takes place around Day of the Dead. Said producers were also present at Taller Jacobo where Fabian Mendoza has worked.

While she’s allegedly “happy to see the movie,” truly showing appreciation for a culture requires more than how you position it. There needs to be effort behind how you’re tapping talent from within that community and re-investing the earnings back into said community to create an equitable, long-standing exchange. If Fabian Mendoza were in the U.S., she’d have a strong legal case against Pixar for using her likeness without permission.

Pixar or any brand looking to draw inspiration from communities that aren’t often featured in stories should first ask permission. Nike learned that lesson after the company used indigenous designs from the Guna people of Panama without permission. Next, do your research. What would be considered exploitative versus culturally competent? In working with a diverse collective of creatives, researchers and strategists from your target market, you’ll be able to formulate an inclusive, respectful strategy. Lastly, consider donating profits made—and if none are generated, explore other avenues of support—to this community.

Whether people are in agreement over Mattel’s decision, the company’s goal with the collectible Barbie is exposure. But while the company’s goal for the Día de los Muertos Barbie is to introduce their customers to a culture outside of their own, it can provide valuable lessons to brands and companies. It’s time to take it one step further from exposure to an actual investment into the communities that have sparked the inspiration.

Janel Martinez is a Bronx-based writer and founder of award-winning site Ain't I Latina?, an online destination celebrating Afro-Latinas.

Monday, October 14, 2019

14790: Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

14789: In Adland, Ageism Is The New Reverse Discrimination.

AgencySpy posted on another ex-CCO suing his former employer, although this scenario involves a White man charging ageism—in contrast to the bulging number of White men being charged with sexual misconduct. The main similarity is the CCO’s decision to try his case in the court of public opinion. Given that most firings involve signing a confidentiality release form, it’s funny to witness individuals seemingly violate such agreements by openly sharing the legal details of their grievances. It’s also funny to watch White men—most of whom have done little for diversity and equality throughout their careers—suddenly embrace the role of discrimination victim. In this particular instance, the CCO displayed his court filing via LinkedIn and asked people to submit their own tales of alleged ageism. All of which leads to a funnier situation; that is, someone spending decades in a field driven by exclusivity, buddy systems, politics and cronyism ultimately feels grossly wronged upon being bounced from the White Boys’ Club.

Where was the revolutionary spirit when the truly underrepresented needed boldness and bravery from leaders?

Former Epsilon CCO Disputes Reason For His Firing

By Erik Oster

Epsilon and its former CCO are at odds over whether the agency had sufficient cause for firing him.

Former chief creative John Immesoete is suing Epsilon and its former parent company Alliance Data Systems, alleging that age discrimination led to his firing last November.

John Immesoete filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on Aug. 5, alleging age discrimination, defamation per se and false light. Also named in the lawsuit are Richard McDonald, president of Epsilon’s agency practice, and svp and chief client officer Sandy Kolkey. Immesoete alleges McDonald and Kolkey made false statements regarding his conduct in an attempt to justify his termination, according to the complaint.

McDonald and Kolkey have yet to respond to requests for comment sent via email and LinkedIn.

Epsilon informed Immesoete he was being fired for cause on Nov. 29, according to the complaint. The complaint does not identify the stated cause, but according to Immesoete’s complaint, the 54-year-old believes the company wanted to replace him with a younger creative lead. He shared the legal complaint in a LinkedIn post on Monday.

“We strongly dispute the allegations included in John Immesoete’s public LinkedIn post,” an Epsilon spokesperson said in a statement provided to Adweek. “As a matter of policy, we have no further comment on the pending litigation.”

Immesoete characterized the allegations outlined in his complaint as part of a broader pattern of ageism in the advertising industry.

“These fights are difficult, and I know why a lot of people don’t do them, having lived through it,” Immesoete told Adweek. “You work for a company for a long time, and you give your all, and then there comes a moment in time [when] they just throw you away like a piece of garbage. That isn’t right, and a lot of people aren’t in a position to even fight that.”

He added that tech companies like Epsilon put an even greater focus on presenting a youthful appearance than most ad agencies do. His November dismissal preceded Publicis Groupe’s decision to acquire Epsilon in April of 2019.

A Publicis spokesperson said the company would not make a statement beyond the one Epsilon provided to Adweek.

In the complaint, Immesoete says his problems with McDonald date back to when he was being considered for the president role—he claims McDonald made comments critical of Immesoete’s age, both in person and to other people.

According to the complaint, Epsilon’s decision to fire Immesoete followed a series of events that began when he wasn’t informed of a meeting with the CMO of a global healthcare company, the agency’s largest client. Immesoete alleges this was part of a pattern of exclusion and diminished duties under McDonald.

When Immesoete complained about his absence from the client meeting, he alleges, vice president for human resources Ellen Evans told him not to make a big deal about it at a time when Epsilon was in the process of being sold. According to the complaint, Evans asked Immesoete, “Having been through so many agency presidents now, have you thought about moving on?” (McDonald was the sixth president at Epsilon during Immesoete’s tenure with the agency.)

Evans has not yet responded to requests for comment sent via email and LinkedIn.

According to the complaint, Immesoete subsequently chaired a “huddle” of around 20 people, including McDonald and Kolkey, to retain the account, which was under review. The complaint states that during the meeting, an account supervisor repeatedly challenged Immesoete on his ideas for the client’s account and the meeting ended with Immesoete calling the account supervisor’s comments “stupid,” according to the complaint.

Immesoete alleges in the complaint that McDonald used this animosity between the chief creative and account director and Immesoete’s conduct in the meeting as a pretext to fire him, subsequently telling Immesoete not to come into the office and calling a special meeting of the team that had been in the meeting in question.

According to the complaint, McDonald and Kolkey called Immesoete’s conduct in the “huddle” meeting “inexcusable,” and McDonald allegedly told Immesoete’s assistant later that day that he would be fired and that “your boss said [the account supervisor] was stupid and everything she said and did was fucking stupid.”

Immesoete alleges he has an audio recording provided to him by an anonymous source that contradicts this and subsequent characterizations of his statements in the meeting made by McDonald, Kolkey and others. Whether such a recording can be submitted as evidence may come into question, as Illinois is an “all party consent” state and it’s not clear from the complaint if all parties were aware that they were being recorded.

McDonald informed the agency that Immesoete would be placed on administrative leave, which the complaint characterizes as a “never-previously-used status that painted him as a safety risk and accelerated the rumor mill.”

During the process of being placed on leave, according to the complaint, Immesoete claims he was not allowed in Epsilon’s offices, access to his agency email was cut off and he was warned not to speak to anyone about the details of his administrative leave since he had signed a confidentiality agreement. Epsilon then launched a monthlong investigation the complaint characterizes as a “sham investigation” that concluded with Immesoete’s firing, according to the complaint.

McDonald allegedly sent an agency-wide email that read, “John Immesoete will no longer be with the company,” which the complaint claims was “designed to encourage speculation that Mr. Immesoete was a predator.”

According to the complaint, McDonald informed Epsilon employees not to post anything supportive of Immesoete on social media “because your loyalty to the company could be questioned,” adding, “If you have posted anything, take it down.”

McDonald is also alleged to have told employees not to share with Immesoete any materials he worked on at the agency, preventing him from using anything created during his six and a half years at Epsilon in his portfolio.

The lawsuit claims that “false statements” by McDonald and Kolkey “were made with actual malice” with intent to harm Immesoete or “reckless disregard of his rights.”

It goes on to claim that those statements in conjunction with the agency’s limited internal and external communications regarding Immesoete’s employment status at Epsilon were designed to “convey a false impression about Mr. Immesoete, inside Epsilon and in the advertising community.”

Immesoete is seeking back pay, including benefits and bonuses for the alleged age discrimination against him, front pay as determined by the court, liquidated damages, attorney fees, prejudgment interest and costs. The complaint estimated the value of his salary, annual bonus, benefits and share awards at around $800,000.

Epsilon does not appear to have hired a CCO following Immesoete’s departure. The Epsilon agency practice’s website instead lists three svp, executive creative directors as the highest-ranking creatives at the agency.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

14788: Pondering Pizza Propaganda.

This Turkish advertisement for Terra Pizza positions a slice as satisfying the 5 basic food groups…? Right. And Papa John’s addresses Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Friday, October 11, 2019

14786: Clio Cultural Cluelessness Deserves A Trophy For Ignorance.

Looks like the upcoming Clio Entertainment soiree will avoid Pitbullish controversies in favor of racial and ethnicity cluelessness. Bravo.

14785: Ted Royer Is Adding Victims Who Deserve—And Demand—An Apology.

Advertising Age extended its lengthy coverage of the collateral damage created by Ted Royer’s dark comedy monologue staged at the recent LIA event. The reactions underscore the complexities of exclusivity and gender-based issues—as well as the diverse degrees of cultural cluelessness in adland.

Two outrageous responses came via condemnations from FCB and TIME’S UP/Advertising. Um, FCB being connected to IPG makes it rather hypocritical to express shock and distress, as the White holding company has produced some of the most scandalous sexual harassment cases to date. As for TIME’S UP/Advertising, well, the organization still has Wendy Clark—who hired Royer for freelance work—on its roster.

Advertising Age also revealed LIA President and Founder Barbara Levy recounted her personal sexual assault experience when the attendees displayed disapproval over Royer’s presence. Gee, a simpler apology than the ones Royer delivered would have sufficed.

Keep in mind, Royer projected mea culpas for his wife, Droga5 and the industry he loves. Yet there’s no remorse for the attendees who suffered through the spectacle.

Meanwhile, Ad Age collected reactions from lots of folks—with the glaring exception of a suddenly silent Royer. Wonder if the trade journal thought of asking David Droga for an opinion. Too many sources state Royer was fired after being targeted by Diet Madison Avenue. Sorry, the man got canned after a thorough investigation conducted by Droga5. If the dismissal was flawed, shouldn’t Royer show resentment for his ex-employer?

Others have opined that Royer deserves a second chance and should regain access to the field. Why? The industry has hardly collapsed due to the absence of Royer, Joe Alexander, Tham Khai Meng, Gustavo Martinez, Ralph Watson and Jeremy Perrott. Or Neil French. Forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness.

Ex-Droga5 CCO Ted Royer’s Recent Speech Sparks Widespread Anger, Some Praise And Calls To Action

Time’s Up Advertising demands apology; FCB cuts ties with organization

By Ann-Christine Diaz

Former Droga5 Chief Creative Officer Ted Royer’s appearance at an advertising event in Las Vegas this past weekend sparked heated, passionate reactions around the industry—from those in attendance and elsewhere.

Royer took the stage on Sunday morning and addressed the allegations of anonymous Instagram account Diet Madison Avenue that preceded his firing from Droga5 more than a year-and-a-half ago. While some praised Royer for being brave enough to speak, there was also plenty of shock and disbelief about his presence at the event from creatives both young and seasoned. Agency network FCB and advocacy group Time’s Up Advertising were moved to take action against the London International Awards, the organization that backed his presentation.

The Liaisons

The London International Award’s Creative Liaisons program ran over several days alongside its awards judging period, still continuing this week. Liaisons aims to provide promising talents with the skills to ensure their success. “Liaisons is designed to be a creative oasis in an industry that is in danger of focusing less and less on its creative output. We stand for the work and those who make it,” reads the description on its site.

During this year’s event, however, some attendees found Royer’s presentation the opposite of a “creative oasis.”

One attendee was so affected by his presence that she left the room crying, prompting festival president and founder Barbara Levy to take the podium and apologize, even recounting her own experience of sexual assault in 1983.

Some Liaisons attendees told Ad Age they felt Royer’s presentation was geared not toward their enrichment. “It was a redemption speech, in my opinion,” says one female creative. In interviews, others called it “tone-deaf” and “inappropriate.” “Everything about it felt very wrong for me,” another attendee tells Ad Age, “even if what he was trying to do was be a better person. He did it in a horrible way, in a really weird context. He’s telling us that all these victims are liars, but some of us in the room were sexual assault victims.”

Royer was asked during the Q&A session why he was presenting at that place and time. “It’s the first thing I’ve been invited to,” he said. “I wanted to talk to creatives because the things that I have learned and have embraced, and tried to embody over the last year-and-a-half I think are very relevant to young creatives. I wanted to level-set and I really wanted to give back to this industry.”

Lacking empathy

One of the points Royer made repeatedly during his presentation was his desire to meet face-to-face with people, including those he has hurt, as a means of opening up communication and promoting “understanding and empathy.”

But some attendees say that his presentation itself lacked empathy. “My issue with what he was saying was the implication that it was my responsibility to resolve the problem,” says copywriter Sydnie Felton of VMLY&R in Kansas City, Missouri. “I would have loved to hear his perspective, even if he gave advice for if you find yourself in a difficult situation, and how you can come out of it in the best possible way and not feel your career is threatened. Everything was about protecting men in his position rather than empowering us with the proper tools.”

“A lot of us were visibly shaken, but so were the guys,” says another female creative. “A lot of them afterwards were apologizing to the women in the room.”

She also observed a curious difference in the reactions from the crowd. “A lot of the women were talking about how inappropriate it was, while the guys were talking about accountability,” she says.

“As soon as he started talking, I thought it was a bit surreal because almost immediately he positioned himself as a victim—these are the things that happened to me,” one male attendee tells Ad Age. “He very clearly did not seem to understand these things happened because of his actions and decisions.”

But “I don’t want to dogpile,” he adds. “I saw a broken dude who lost everything, and I want him to find peace and turn this fucked-up thing into something good. I think he just messed up. He squandered a good opportunity and put the burden on the victims. He really needed to take accountability.”

LIA misstep

For some in the audience, the bigger issue wasn’t Royer’s speech, but the fact that it was unannounced—or at least poorly announced—especially in light of the fact that some in the audience had endured harassment or assault themselves. Royer’s name and picture had not been on the program’s online schedule until the week of the event, and in the printed program, his slot listed only “Guest Speaker.” When the show presenter brought Royer to the stage he gave an awkward, quick intro: “I have no idea what this session is going to be about, but I do know that his work speaks for itself.”

“We’re sitting there, on our schedule it says ‘Guest Speaker’ and we’re completely unaware that he was coming,” says one female creative. “It felt like it should have been an op-ed that people could choose to read or not. We were completely unaware—or made to be unaware, in my opinion, that he was coming. I think it was a really big misstep from the program.”

Creatives were also upset by how LIA addressed the adverse reactions to the talk. After the attendee who was in tears left the room, Levy said, “We just had a little incident and I want to apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable. It didn’t occur to me that the topic he was talking about might make some of you feel uncomfortable.” Levy then went on to reveal her rape in 1983.

“When Barbara tried to use her own sexual assault story to justify their reasoning for bringing him there, it left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth,” says one creative.

Another creative, however, tells Ad Age, “I was very impressed that Barbara instantly got up on stage and apologized. For me personally I was happy to move on from there."

Some Liaisons also say that Royer’s presence didn’t prevent them from reaping the benefits of the other parts of the program. CHE Proximity Melbourne copywriter Lauren Eddy and art director Aicha Wijland, in industry publication Campaign Brief, wrote that while they felt “robbed” by Royer’s talk, they still learned valuable lessons in empathy and unconscious bias from other workshops and speakers, including award-winning journalist Lara Logan.

Another creative affected by the speech still called the program as a whole an “unbelievable experience” that left him eager to go back to his agency and start applying what he learned.

“We can see that our misstep was not taking greater initiative to inform the attendees of the schedule change once the conference started,” said Levy in a statement to Ad Age.

As for how she handled her apology to the audience after Royer’s talk, she explained that the intense reaction of one particular participant moved her to speak to the crowd. “I went to have a conversation with her and then felt the need to address the audience,” she said. “In the wake of all the emotion in the room, I may have taken a miscue and been too open about my own personal experience.”

The leaders in the room

While Royer’s presentation was meant for young creatives, a number of industry leaders who were judging the LIA Awards took a break to hear him speak.

During the Q&A session, Edelman Chief Creative Officer Judy John took the opportunity to shed light on questions presented to Royer regarding the “burden” of having to speak to or report an accuser. “As a young creative I’ve been in compromising positions as I think some other women in the room have,” she said in that session. “It’s hard to go to your boss or superior and say, that wasn’t cool… because you might lose your job, you might get blackballed, you might be a troublemaker. There are a lot of reasons why women don’t come forward.”

Another female industry leader echoed the sentiment of the young creatives. “Bringing up DMA and all those accusations were not necessary for someone who was accepting responsibility and apologizing to anyone he hurt,” she tells Ad Age. “But there has to be a path forward for anyone who wants to move forward in my opinion.”

She was also struck by the generational differences in the reactions to his talk. “For the most part my generation is a bit numb from growing up with all of the bad stuff,” she says. “We are happy to be talking about it and see a new awareness, but we are mostly focused on the wage gap and opportunities for women at the highest levels. Comments about how we dress have little effect, and attempts for romance or otherwise are annoying but not shocking.”

The younger generation represented by the LIA participants, however, seems to have very different reactions, she says. “There is a lot of anger and they don’t feel like they can talk. They feel way better hiding behind social media because they are used to it. They feel like we are enablers, and by being complacent we didn’t clean it up for them. That comment about their outfit is like a slap in the face.”

Veteran producer Oliver Fuselier thought Royer’s move “was a lesson in humility and true bravery,” he tells Ad Age. He “put it all out on the stage, from apologizing to the room of young creatives and beyond as well as putting his email address on the screen with a standing offer to meet with anyone that he hurt, angered or made feel bad... We as a society need to help us all to find a way to move forward and allow men to start righting their wrongs and healing themselves. We must still hold them accountable, but at the same time support them in their own road to recovery.”

Another industry leader in the room for the speech added that despite what happened, the LIA’s program is still important for the industry. “I believe in the power of learning and the LIA Creative Liaisons team has so far funded almost 1,000 young creatives from around the world to attend the program,” he says. “I urge young creatives who have attended Creative Liaisons over the years to also share their positive experiences so others who haven’t attended it will continue to attend and benefit from it. The learning must never stop.”

Ad Age reached out to Royer about the reactions to his speech, but he declined comment.

The Industry

The industry has begun to take action in response to the speech. FCB, which had both creatives in the Liaisons program and as judges in the LIA, announced it would be terminating its relationship with the awards show. “A recent presentation given at the LIA was deeply upsetting to some of our team in attendance, and the reaction and response by the LIA has been very disappointing and unsatisfactory,” the agency said in a statement.

In a letter to Levy and the other organizers of the LIA, Time’s Up Advertising also took issue with how Royer’s speech was not properly publicized to the attendees. “You left no option for consent,” the letter read. “You showed disrespect for LIA attendees who have been harmed by Royer’s behavior, specifically, or faced similarly disturbing behavior in the workplace. You signaled that his voice is worth a platform, while our voices aren’t worth believing.”

The organization then went on to list the actions LIA should take in the wake of this incident: apologize, publicly commit to creating a safer and more inclusive environment “that respects women,” and be transparent.

If LIA does not heed this advice, Time’s Up Advertising Executive Director Christena Pyle said in an additional statement to Ad Age that the organization is “prepared to take further action.”

Levy told Ad Age in her statement that the LIA has been communicating with FCB on the agency’s decision to sever ties with the organization.

“We apologize if we inadvertently upset anyone during at the LIAisons program,” she said. “We will work closer with the agencies and the top-level creatives to better curate the program moving forward.”

Contributing: Lindsay Rittenhouse

Thursday, October 10, 2019

14784: Note To Advertiser—Hearts Don’t Heart Red Meat.

Somebody tell Viande in Brazil that this advertising concept is not a big idea—but a bad idea.

14783: Was Ted Royer Hit By A Blizzard Of Vengeful Snowflakes? Nah.

At More About Advertising, Editor Stephen Foster asked, “Does latest Ted Royer kerfuffle show an industry comprised of vengeful snowflakes?” Foster is at least being consistent in his sympathy for Royer, yet the journalist’s perspective is a tad crude. After all, attacking the offended and branding them as being too sensitive is the classic response of the insensitive; i.e., Foster comes off as culturally clueless. Oh, and the industry is definitely comprised of snowflakes—vengeful and forgiving—by virtue of being exclusively White.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

14782: Saudi Arabian Airline Campaign Wouldn’t Fly Elsewhere.

This campaign for a low-fare airline in Saudi Arabia might feel like racial-profiling and discrimination in the USA.