Friday, January 31, 2020

14897: Ogilvy Makes Good On New Year’s Resolution To Save Money And Lose Weight.

Advertising Age reported Ogilvy dumped 80 employees—including U.S. CCO Leslie Sims—as part of an overall restructuring. In an internal memo, Ogilvy Worldwide CEO John Seifert noted, “Other than Finance and HR, we are eliminating a whole layer of leadership roles designed to manage across multiple USA locations.” Oh, sure, don’t eliminate the bean counters deciding who gets canned and the HR wonks delivering the pink slips and white moving boxes.

Ogilvy Lays Off 80 Employees, U.S. CCO Leslie Sims to Depart Amid Restructuring

Agency’s worldwide CEO John Seifert, in internal memo, blames cuts on ‘challenging’ second half of 2019

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

WPP’s Ogilvy has laid off 80 employees across nine offices, amounting to 3.7 percent of its U.S. staff, according to an internal memo from Ogilvy Worldwide CEO John Seifert that was obtained by Ad Age.

Seifert also announced that Ogilvy U.S. Chief Creative Officer Leslie Sims would be departing amid a larger restructuring effort to focus on regional leadership, or “location-based leadership teams. Other than Finance and HR, we are eliminating a whole layer of leadership roles designed to manage across multiple USA locations,” he said.

An Ogilvy spokesperson declined to comment.

Seifert blamed the layoffs on “a challenging second half in 2019 and a cautious financial outlook for full-year 2020.”

“We continue to experience volatility in our diverse client portfolio,” Seifert wrote. “Despite important new business wins, we face client budget cuts and pricing pressures; ongoing shifts in the type and mix of work we do; and the dynamics of a project-based business model, which makes full-year forecasting and financial management very challenging.”

Seifert thanked Sims for “all that she did over the past year to support our next chapter business agenda, the creative community across the USA … and for her valued partnership among the Worldwide Creative Council.”

“Leslie joined us at a critical moment in our transformation journey,” he wrote. “She led the development of new creative campaigns on several important client assignments and helped re-energize our new business efforts. I’m deeply grateful for her support and wish her our very best. Leslie is a class act.”

Sims was appointed as Ogilvy's U.S. CCO in December 2018. She previously spent nearly four years at WPP’s Y&R (now VMLY&R), where she most recently was chief creative officer of North America. Before WPP, Sims spent 16 years at IPG’s McCann.

“With new local leadership teams now coming together, I’m very confident that we have the right growth mindset and progressive management approach to getting Ogilvy USA back to stronger business performance by the end of 2020,” Seifert concluded in the memo. “It’s always difficult to part ways with people who have given much to the company and Ogilvy brand, some for many years. Please join me in sharing with all those impacted by this action our deepest thanks.”

The layoffs come amid widespread challenges, including client budget cuts and shifts to in-housing and project work, facing many traditional agencies. On Monday, creative agency Arnold Worldwide, part of Havas, laid off 5 percent of its staff in Boston.

In a recent episode of Ad Age Ad Lib, WPP CEO Mark Read acknowledged the pressures unique to the holding company, as well as those affecting the larger industry. “If I have one frustration, it’s still somehow that we’re seen as an old-fashioned advertising agency that’s being disrupted by Google and Facebook,” he said.

Read said 2020 would see WPP focusing on returning to growth in North America and on championing a new creative strategy to sustain the company for the future, noting that creativity, across its various brands, has not been WPP’s strong suit.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

14896: MDC Partners Excretes Anomaly-Led Pile Of Shit.

Advertising Age reported MDC Partners created an “alliance” between White firms that will be led by Anomaly—a White advertising agency that insists it’s not a White advertising agency. Creating an “alliance” between enterprises within the arguably worst holding company is like fabricating a boy band comprised of American Idol first-audition rejects. It’s a smorgasbord of suck.

MDC Partners Unveils New Anomaly-Led Agency ‘Alliance’

The network, chaired by Carl Johnson, includes Y Media Labs, Mono, Hunter, Relevent and Concentric Health Experience

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

MDC Partners announced it is forming a new Anomaly-led “alliance” to house some of its digital, creative, public relations and healthcare capabilities as part of a continued effort to bring its agencies closer together.

The alliance, chaired by Anomaly Founding Partner and Executive Chairman Carl Johnson, encompasses digital innovation shop Y Media Labs; design and branding agency Mono; consumer marketing communications, PR and digital firm Hunter; creative experiences shop Relevent; and healthcare agency Concentric Health Experience.

Johnson tells Ad Age that this decision does not stem from “a desire to have an integrated offering” but it’s rather a “people- and values-driven thing.” He says bundling capabilities to “have one of them, one of them and one of them,” is an “old model” that he called “lumbering.”

“The idea behind this is to try to take advantage of experienced agency leadership to help the success of MDC,” Johnson says, noting how inefficient it is for the holding company to manage “40-plus” separate shops. “These are the agencies I chose. I started with leaders I can relate to. Who’s got ambition? Who is smart and who do I want to be in the room with? Where does the growth lie?” he adds.

Y Media Labs is based in Silicon Valley and led by Co-Founder-CEO Ashish Toshniwal and Co-Founder-President Sumit Mehra. Hunter has headquarters in New York and London and is led by CEO-Partner Grace Leong and Partners Jonathan Lyon, Donetta Allen, Gigi García Russo and Erin Hanson. Minneapolis-based Mono is headed by Founders and Chief Creative Officers Michael Hart and Chris Lange and Founder and Managing Partner Jim Scott. Relevent is located in New York and led by CEO-Founder Tony Berger.

Johnson says the agencies will all continue to operate under separate P&Ls and there are no plans at this time to consolidate offices. “Anomaly is never moving out of this building,” he adds. Anomaly was founded in New York and now houses offices in Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Shanghai.

Combined, the new network houses 1,400 employees (Anomaly staffs 850 of those people). Johnson says his role as chair of the “alliance” will be to “provide counsel, rather than getting into the details of their operations.” He says the network’s agencies will be able to lean on the talent and capabilities of each other, as needed. For example, Johnson says Anomaly partners with Hunter on its Diageo business and is working with Y Media Labs on “intellectual property development.”

The move follows MDC having combined its media, data and technology agencies under one network in July, as Adweek reported. That shift saw the merging of its data, technology, CRM and addressable content agency, Gale, with MDC Media Partners agencies Allegory, Attention, EnPlay, Trade X Partners, Unique Influence and Assembly. Media trading consultancy Varick also joined that network, according to Adweek.

In December, MDC also announced a new network led by Doner, and chaired by its CEO, David DeMuth. That network includes PR firm Veritas; shopper marketing agency 6Degrees Integrated Communications; brand and ad shop Yamamoto; creative, technology and media agency Union; brand strategy and digital PR firm KWT Global; and luxury and lifestyle PR agency HL Group. Johnson notes that the recent Anomaly-led alliance will likely not be the last.

The formation of these networks coincide with MDC Chairman and CEO Mark Penn’s grand vision to consolidate real estate and foster greater collaboration among the holding company’s various agencies that also include 72andSunny, Forsman & Bodenfors and CPB. Penn took over MDC following a $100 million equity investment by Stagwell Group—the advertising, PR and data analytics holding company Penn founded in 2015—in the holding company last March.

Penn has been tasked with reducing costs and leading a turnaround at MDC, which faces $1 billion in debt. MDC’s stock fell 12 percent after the company reported in November a decline of 8.8 percent in revenue for its most-recent third quarter and revised its organic revenue expectations for the full year to anticipate a decline of 3 percent to 5 percent. MDC has not yet announced when its fourth-quarter earnings will be released.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

14894: Overreaction Of The Week.

Scientific American published a report titled, “The Surprising Benefits of Sarcasm”—and illustrated the article with a photograph of a Black man. That’s right, Black men are the undisputed champions of sarcasm.

Monday, January 27, 2020

14893: Advertising Agencies Toxic To The Mental Health Of Workers…?

Digiday published a lengthy report on the rise of mental health benefits for advertising agency employees. Of course, the article failed to target the typical ad agency leadership creating and perpetuating workplace conditions that are maddening—and give “Mad Men” a whole new meaning. Oh, and it should be noted that the piece opened by featuring a stressed and anxious employee from The Martin Agency—yes, that agency.

‘Sense of urgency’: Ad agencies are now offering more mental health and wellness benefits to employees

By Kristina Monllos

Until last year, Erada Svetlana had never been to therapy. After feeling mounting stress and anxiety, Svetlana, a design production supervisor at The Martin Agency, booked her first appointment with a psychiatrist through the agency’s employee assistance program.

The first four sessions were provided for free by her employer, something that encouraged Svetlana. “I left that experience on a positive note, felt like I worked through what I needed to work through and even recommended it to a friend,” she said. “There’s a ripple effect.”

That ripple effect goes beyond The Martin Agency. The company is one of a number of agencies across the country that have worked to increase the available mental health resources for employees over the last year or two. The available resources vary but tend to include covering mental health care, paid subscriptions to teledoctors and therapy apps like Headspace, Calm and Om, as well as payments for in-office counselors and yoga sessions. Other benefits: more time off and flexibility about employees’ late arrival or early departure. Some agencies like Eleven, Venables Bell & Partners and EP&Co now also offer services like massage therapy, acupuncture and chiropractor care to employees during office hours.

Agencies are providing these mental health-focused perks not only to help employees manage their stress and anxiety better but also to help the agencies’ business. After all, agencies are a people business and wholly dependent on the talent inside. Doing this might also help agencies avoid having to manage more of a talent crisis. As previously reported by Digiday, agencies have been battling tech companies and major brands for agency talent. A 2019 survey by The Creative Group found that 92% of the advertising and marketing leaders polled said that it’s difficult to find a skilled new hire. With that being the case, agencies are finding it imperative to retain that talent and keep them happy.

Mental health is on the mind of agency employees. In a recent Digiday survey, 17% of the 147 agency employees polled said they were not happy at work. In the same survey, 34% of the respondents said they were worried about their mental health at work and 88% said work-life balance was very important for employees’ day-to-day satisfaction.

“You’re not making a product that’s tangible, and there’s a lot of mental stress in creativity or problem solving on the production end,” said Jeff Howle, director of employee engagement at EP&Co. “Our assets are people. People are what make or break the work,” he added. “It’s imperative that we figure out how we as an industry can maintain the mental clarity or sanity of our people.”

And providing access to mental health care and wellness programs can be directly linked to better business. “There is a data-driven case for improving the mental health of our employees,” said Heidi Taglio, head of talent for Eleven. “Mental health-related and substance-abuse issues cost businesses approximately $90 billion annually. So there’s a reason for companies and agencies to be invested,” she noted. “And it is the right thing to do.” According to research by the National Alliance on Mental Health, mental illnesses can cost the U.S. economy $193.2 billion in lost earnings annually.

The lost earnings that result from employees’ mental health issues are likely just one factor driving agencies’ push to increase the availability of such benefits now. As social norms change and younger generations are now more comfortable talking about mental health than their predecessors, addressing those needs through the provision of benefits has become “table stakes,” according to Jean Freeman, Zambezi’s CEO.

Simon Fenwick, evp of talent, equity and inclusion for the American Association of Advertising Agencies, said agency HR departments have made mental health one of their top priorities for 2020. “There’s generally a sense of urgency in the community around addressing the issue,” said Fenwick, adding that it’s more common now for agencies to offer in-office counseling sessions and point employees to therapy apps. “It’s a good sign that agencies are saying it’s OK to take time for people to take time for themselves. That’s a dynamic shift in the industry.”

Mary Johnstone, head of talent at Venables Bell & Partners, said her agency’s work to address employees’ mental health issues by providing improved benefits is helping with employee retention. Still, “if they’re going to leave it’s not going to keep them here,” she observed. “But we definitely have heard of instances where people have said they would’ve left if they didn’t feel supported. It helps with tenure over time as well as the younger workforce.”

Broad data on the effects of these services and benefits is not available. The 4A’s is working on a survey of its members concerning this mental health and wellness topic, Fenwick said. Agency executives shared with Digiday their anecdotal observations that addressing employees’ mental health does seem to help with their perceptions about their agency and that this likely helps with employee retention, but firm metrics of the programs’ success are unavailable to date.

And agencies have to be careful to not venture too far in one direction in their addressing of mental health needs. According to an employee at an in-house agency who requested anonymity, offering employees the use of apps like Headspace and Calm can feel transactional rather than helpful. “We’re missing that human element,” the in-house creative said, adding that it’s difficult to convey the stress of client demands and deadlines to agency HR staffers who don’t perform such jobs. “People are just left hanging by themselves to figure it out. You have to rely on people outside because you don’t have that trust to go and ask HR for help. They don’t seem knowledgeable.”

For agencies, balancing how much to talk with their employees about mental health is tricky; agency executives said they don’t want to overstep employees’ personal boundaries but do want to make clear what their company offers.

And for employees, addressing mental health at work can also be tricky. Even when confidentiality is promised, being truly open in a discussion with an employer about a mental health issue can feel uncomfortable.

“Agencies are talking about it and the door is open,” said Rushil Nadkarni, an art director at The Martin Agency. “People need to talk about it. But how much do you talk and how worried” should an employee be about how much is shared? “It’s a gray area.”

Yet for all players involved, figuring out how to address mental health is crucial. “Managers and leaders in agencies should acknowledge that this is something we deal with,” said the in-house agency employee. “You can have the best company in the world. But if people don’t really care for you, all those cool perks don’t really matter.”

Sunday, January 26, 2020

14892: Campaign Combining Cars & Clichés Creates Cultural Crash.

This Nissan campaign from Germany presents the Japanese automaker via fans. Sorry, not a fan of cultural clichés.

Friday, January 24, 2020

14890: The Martin Agency Continues To Deny Its Past—And Its Present.

AgencySpy posted on a former copywriter with The Martin Agency who was canned during a GEICO commercial shoot about three years ago—a sad tale he recently told via Twitter. Hey, the guy got booted from GEICO in 15 minutes or less.

When AgencySpy pressed The Martin Agency for a comment, CCO Karen Costello responded by saying, “I was not at Martin then. Reading [the copywriter’s] story, our heart goes out to him. We are not the leaders of three years ago—and we are not that agency.” Okay, but you still look like that agency—the only difference being there are now more White women than White men in charge.

If ex-CCO Joe Alexander thinks his dismissal is worth $75 million, surely The Martin Agency of today can float the dumped copywriter at least $75.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

14889: Super Bowl Displays Super Patronizing Lies From White Ad Agencies And White Advertisers.

Advertising Age published a lengthy fluff piece that claimed Super Bowl advertisers are embracing diversity—which really means that White corporations have conspired collaborated with White advertising agencies to produce pricy divertisements to falsely position themselves as progressive. Indeed, the photo montage illustrating the report is predominately female. And the advertisers who integrated females of color probably feel doubly inclusive; however, MultiCultClassics will label them as doubly deceptive. In 2010, Cyrus Mehri presented the results of a study showing that the creators of Super Bowl advertising were overwhelmingly White. It’s a safe bet that things haven’t changed much over the past decade—except for White women. Super Bowl advertisers are not embracing diversity; rather, they are embracing divertsity. The truth would make Colin Kaepernick drop to his knees for sure.

Super Bowl Advertisers Embrace Diversity … Cautiously

Big Game marketers look to better represent women and minorities without offending anyone

By Jeanine Poggi

This year’s crop of Super Bowl commercials will feature two drag queens, an all-female cast and a “Queer Eye” guy. It's a step to better represent modern society by casting more diverse ethnicities, lifestyles and cultural perspectives in the Big Game. It’s an effort that shouldn’t further fracture a divided nation, but Sabra Chief Marketing Officer Jason Levine says, “Inclusive marketing, even under the best intentions, can find itself feeding into the divisiveness of the country.”

And if there is one goal nearly all Super Bowl LIV advertisers have, it’s to not alienate a particular group or political ideology.

To that end, those who are at least attempting to recast Super Bowl commercials, which historically have not been friendly to women or minorities, are doing so in the least controversial way possible—by cushioning them with humor.

Making space

For its second consecutive Super Bowl ad, Olay was inspired by shows like Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Fleabag” in its effort to depict women in roles typically held by men, especially in the fields of science and technology.

Starring an all-female cast of celebrities, including YouTuber Lilly Singh, comedian Busy Philipps, Taraji P. Henson, Katie Couric and retired NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, the space-themed commercial, “Make Space for Women,” makes light of the fact that as a society we have not historically made space for women.

“We wanted to make a spot that focused on the idea that there’s plenty of space for women, there’s plenty of space for everyone, but do it in a way that everyone got the joke,” says Madonna Badger, whose agency, Badger & Winters, created the ad.

Badger calls the tone of the commercial “humor with a social purpose.”

“When we offer optimism about problems that seem unsolvable, comedy resonates with audiences and creates a really simple gateway or door for us to have an increased understanding of complex issues,” she says. “Beneath our playful story is a very sophisticated and substantial message.”

This strategy, Badger says, resonates with millennial women who “love their humor mixed with who they are and what they can do.”

But Olay isn’t looking to solely speak to these women. Quite the opposite. “We wanted to do it in a way that embraces everyone,” Badger says. “It’s a women-first message everyone can appreciate, men, children, teenagers, millennials, Gen X-ers.”

It’s a similar approach taken by Sabra hummus, which will make its first foray into the Super Bowl with a commercial that stars Kim Chi and Miz Cracker from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” feuding “Real Housewives of New Jersey” stars Teresa Giudice and Caroline Manzo and rapper T-Pain, among others, in an effort to speak to the entire nation of potential hummus consumers. “There’s something for everyone in this ad,” Sabra CMO Levine says, noting the upbeat, humorous spot takes an “apolitical” approach.

Not taking sides

Even as brands make a social statement or look to be more inclusive in their representation of America, they are being careful not to take a political stance in the Super Bowl.

Budweiser avoided anything that even carries the hint of politics in its “Typical Americans” spot, which features viral videos of everyday people engaging in acts of kindness and triumph juxtaposed to negative stereotypes of Americans.

As the voiceover bemoans that “typical Americans” are always “showing off their strength,” the ad shows a firefighter battling flames. “Look at him, touching other people’s things,” the ad continues, as a scene is shown of a man pushing someone else's car out of the snow. Other scenes include a soldier’s surprise homecoming—“showing up uninvited”—and a man giving his shirt to a shirtless man in a subway car—“removing their clothes in public.”

One part of the ad that could have potentially been controversial shows a clip of the founder of the Free Hugs initiative doling out embraces to a police officer during a protest march. Nowhere in the clip, however, is it clearly identifiable what issue the march was addressing.

“The use of these commonly used stereotypes against America was a means to help remind us that this is something that we are in together,” says Monica Rustgi, Budweiser’s VP of marketing. “These are stereotypes that we all collectively share. We strategically used those to help everyone see themselves as being on the same team, and then debunking those stereotypes and rising above.”

‘Pandering or fake’

While brands might be playing it safe in their efforts not to offend any group, there’s always a risk when attempting to be inclusive.

“It can come off as pandering or fake,” says Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. “They are checking the boxes but it comes across as very awkward or forced.”

If the brand isn’t practicing what it preaches in hiring practices and in other parts of their business, it can appear as if it’s capitalizing on a cause for the brand’s own benefit, which can result in viewers feeling exploited, he adds.

True progress is also more than just casting female leads, minorities or LGBTQ in a spot or making a statement of support for any specific group. Instead, Daboll says, the goal should be normalizing same-sex relationships and women in roles traditionally played by men, for example. It’s about “representing contemporary society better rather than pushing a cause.”

Still a divide

There’s no denying there’s a pressing need for Super Bowl ads to be more friendly to women, minorities and LGBTQ.

While it’s been at least several years since Super Bowl commercials portrayed women as sex objects or the stereotypical nagging wife, women are still featured far less in Super Bowl commercials than men.

Last year, 21 women had starring or feature roles in Super Bowl commercials compared to about 43 men, according to Ad Age’s Super Bowl archive. And of the celebrities that appeared in Super Bowl LIII commercials, 25 were male while just 13 were female, according to data from E-Poll Market Research. (This does not include the 40 or so current and former football players that appeared in the National Football League’s spot.)

While things are moving in the right direction, the percentages are out of sync with the Super Bowl’s audience, which is nearly half female. Last year, 39.5 million women watched the Super Bowl, accounting for 46 percent of the 98.2 million viewers.

When it comes to LGBTQ representation, the situation is even bleaker. While there have been a few attempts made over the years to represent the community, such as Coca-Cola’s 2018 ad “The Wonder of Us,” which embraced gender-nonconforming pronouns, or Axe’s 2016 ad showing a man vogueing in heels, those efforts are few and far between.

That’s changing a bit this year. “Queer Eye’s” Jonathan Van Ness will star in a spot for Pop-Tarts, while rapper Lil Nas X, who came out as gay last year, will be featured in Doritos’ commercial.

Kim Chi, a South Korean-American drag queen, artist and TV personality best known as a contestant on season 8 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” says “Ten years ago if you would have said there would be a queer artist of color in a Super Bowl ad you would have laughed at it.”

This year, Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, another contestant from the show, are featured in Sabra’s spot.

“Growing up for me there weren’t many Asian representations in pop culture and gay role models were extremely, extremely rare,” Kim Chi says. “For me, to be that for an Asian kid growing up gay in a small town watching football with their family, that’s incredibly exciting.”

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

14888: Brazil Bombshell Confirms Advertising Agencies In The Country Are Sexist And Racist.

Business Insider published a story titled, “Anonymous spreadsheets allege sexual harassment and racism at some of the biggest ad agencies in Brazil. Anyone who finds this news shocking or surprising is a sexist racist.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

14887: Buh-Bye, Bogusky.

Advertising Age reported CP+B Chief Creative Engineer Alex Bogusky has left the station. Again. Hey, there are a bunch of White advertising agencies in MDC Partners probably seething with jealousy that Bogusky was allowed to bail out.

Alex Bogusky to Depart CPB—Again

Move comes nearly 18 months after the founder’s surprise return

By Ann-Christine Diaz

Less than 18 months after CPB announced that Alex Bogusky was returning to the agency, the co-founder will once again be leaving the building.

CPB Partner and Chairman Chuck Porter says Bogusky made the decision to depart, citing the desire to reprioritize and focus more on family. “We spent 80 hours talking about it over a month,” Porter says. “It wasn’t an easy decision because there were a lot of things he liked, but he thought it wasn’t really fair for the agency if he wanted to reorder his life and not step away.”

Bogusky, says Porter, will not leave immediately but will transition out over the next few months.

In August 2018, eight years after the storied creative departed the MDC agency, CPB surprised the industry by announcing that it was bringing Bogusky back as co-founder and giving him the newly minted title of chief creative engineer. But the homecoming didn’t turn out as many had anticipated.

Bogusky, one of the few larger-than-life creative directors left in the industry, was known for breaking new creative ground for clients like Mini and Burger King. (Famously, he instructed his staffers to think of the press release and the story a campaign would generate before the media itself—an approach that’s now become standard practice in the industry.)

Expectations ran high with his return, since Bogusky stepped back in just as the agency was in reset. Earlier that year, CPB closed its flagship Miami office and two month after Bogusky rejoined, the shop shuttered its Los Angeles outpost. The return, coming at a time when agencies have been struggling to reinvent themselves in the face of shifting client needs and increasing competition from consultants, was heralded as something of a second coming.

In an interview with Ad Age, Bogusky said he intended to remain close to the creative because “it’s the quickest way to have a positive impact,” he said, and “if I don’t jump in on the work and with the teams, I won’t have a real sense of how to improve the process.”

But since then, there has been a dearth of bold, game-changing ideas at the shop. The agency produced some entertaining work, but arguably nothing more notable than what it had been delivering already. There was a co-branded campaign for and Poo-pourri to steer couples through their “first poo with Boo,” while another for Fruit of the Loom saw the brand creating a limited-edition tee, with fan and NFL star Alvin Kamara. Since he signed on, the agency took on global creative duties for Scotch whisky brand Ballantines and also added fast casual chain Noodles & Co. and North American construction company Sunbelt Rentals.

Outside of the work, the agency’s moves in the months after Bogusky’s return seemed like jargony press release fodder. There was the shop’s rebranding from CP&B to CPB, along with the introduction of a “leaner” and more “agile” creative process the agency branded as Gut+ and “Crisp Jam,” a product offering dedicated to project-based work promising to “get to big ideas fast.” Bogusky seemed to spend much of his time on a podcast, “The Woodshed,” about “demystifying the creative process.”

There were also a number of head-scratching stunts. In October of 2018, the agency and Bogusky announced “The Quitty Awards,” declaring the shop was dropping out of the awards circuit and encouraging other agencies to do so too.

He also challenged “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson and VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk to wrestling matches.

Observers believed that Bogusky’s re-entry would be the kick in the pants both CPB and the industry needed. Former and current CPB staffers believed he would bring new energy to a flagging shop. Gut Agency founder Anselmo Ramos, who at David helped to steer Burger King through a creative renaissance that seemed to follow in the footsteps of CPB’s work, said on Twitter, “This is like Steve Jobs coming back to Apple advertising version.”

Yet others likened it to an act of desperation,” with one former MDC staffer saying “It’s like Michael Jordan going back to the Wizards,” analogizing the comeback to an aging athlete trying to recapture the glory, way past their prime.

Given the agency’s output since Bogusky’s arrival, the latter might seem to ring true. But Porter says his contributions have been internally palpable. “He reorganized the creative department into a different, more efficient and effective structure for our clients—what we call ‘houses,’” he says. “He worked with data and analytics people we know toward creating a new methodology for planning and testing creative development that makes it more reality-based and empirically-based. It’s made our planning and creative quicker, smarter and more data-driven.”

Though we haven’t seen that yet play out in the work, “It was a complex process and I think that the results of that process are coming,” Porter says.

CEO Erik Sollenberg says that Bogusky didn’t return to do what he had done previously. “Based on his experience in startup and tech, his role was to look at our process thinking, at data. What he has been doing is changing the perspective of how advertising can be done. The effect will be long-term rather than directly digging into the creative.”

As to whether or not 18 months was long enough for him to impact the agency, Sollenberg says, “of course it would have been different if he’d stayed longer, but I highly respect his decision to live his life in a different way.”

For now, the agency isn’t looking to fill the position. Porter says Bogusky will still have an office at the shop where he’ll continue his personal projects and perhaps even do some consulting.

While parent company MDC has been making efforts to streamline and reorganize, Porter says that was not a factor in Bogusky’s decision to leave. “His relationship with MDC is really good, and when we began to talk to them about it, they encouraged him to stay to make this transition smooth.”

Monday, January 20, 2020

14886: Minding Table Manners In Adland On MLK Day.

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

—Martin Luther King Jr.

When MLK delivered the words above in 1963, he likely never imagined how the vision would play out in the advertising industry. As previously noted, today’s adland applauds progress via the sons of former slave-owners and the daughters of former slave-owners sitting down together at the table of brotherhood-sisterhood—as co-conspirators who perpetuate delaying, diverting and denying the dream. Meanwhile, the sons and daughters of former slaves are waiting to be seated.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

14485: Overreaction Of The Week.

In Ukraine, Danone presented limited edition Black Yogurt—containing charcoal. It’s a wonder the advertising didn’t feature people in charcoal-smeared Blackface.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Friday, January 17, 2020

14883: Make Adland Great Again—White Ad Agency Designs Divertisements For Immigrants.

Not sure why somebody thought this campaign celebrating International Migrants Day by saluting U.S. immigrants was a good idea. Um, excluding Native Americans and those kidnapped from their homeland, most U.S. citizens are directly or indirectly tied to immigration. Oh, and the White advertising agency responsible for the work could benefit from adding a few racial and ethnic immigrants to the fold.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

14882: Publicis Groupe Is Silent As A Mime On Marcel.

More About Advertising opined on the delayed launch of Publicis Groupe’s messed up marvelous Marcel, an AI project management “platform” allegedly designed to coordinate and connect the countless Caucasian corps comprising the holding company. In 2017, Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun banned award show entries, partly in order to finance the technological toy. It’s bad enough that the organization boasting deep digital departments is apparently struggling to assemble an organizer gizmo. Then again, Publicis Groupe is more comfortable and crafty with digital disorganization.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

14881: WPP CEO Mark Read Ad-Libs Bullshit.

Advertising Age’s “Ad Lib” podcast broadcast buffoonish blubbering and babbling titled: CEO Mark Read on Building a Leaner WPP: ‘We Don’t Need 500 Brands.’ Well, yeah, especially when the White advertising agency brands in the holding company are the branding equivalents of Edsel, Newton and New Coke. In addition to not needing 500 brands, Read also essentially admitted the company doesn’t need about 2,500 employees. The man’s comments represent perhaps the most diverse example of deceptive drivel of any single organisation.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

14880: Best Places To Work 2020 Shows Adland Is In The Worst Place Ever.

Advertising Age presented “Best Places To Work 2020”—identifying 50 companies that rated highest via six key satisfaction scores: employee benefits, company culture, company environment, employee perks, employee development and employee engagement. It says a lot about the state of adland when health, dental and vision benefits apparently trump innovation and creativity. Plus, it’s noteworthy that the list didn’t include many recognizable names. Are the independent startups superior workplaces—or have the familiar White advertising agencies simply devolved into hellish outhouses trapped within bureaucratic holding companies? Of course, the satisfaction scores didn’t include diversity—although the illustration embellishing the report (depicted above) certainly saluted and wildly exaggerated divertsity with its female-majority staff.

Monday, January 13, 2020

14879: Circle K Campaign Concept Convenient Crap.

Is Circle K targeting White trash? Actually, this campaign should have been trashed in the concept stage.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

14878: Now Playing In Theatrics—Violence Against Women In South Africa.

This campaign from South Africa seeks to generate awareness for violence against women via movie poster parodies…? Sorry, the concept gets a thumbs down.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

14877: Advertising Agency HR Executive Confesses No Concern About Diversity & Inclusion.

A recent installment of the Digiday confessions series spotlighted an alleged “HR exec” from an independent White advertising agency, who whined, “It’s too unstable. There’s no business model.” What was the most outrageous thing about the anonymous executive’s confession? The entire conversation made zero references to diversity. In short, it shows the typical HR wonk will confess that diversity is not on his/her to-do list at all.

Friday, January 10, 2020

14876: Mickey D’s Not In The Black With Franchisees.

Business Insider published a lengthy report titled, “McDonald’s gets slammed with new lawsuit claiming black franchisees were ‘disparately strong armed’ out of system.” Guess 365Black doesn’t apply to Black franchisees. Can’t wait to see the 2020 Black History Month propaganda from the Golden Arches.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

14875: Advertising Age Ageism Ad-Lib Is Old.

Advertising Age published doddering divertsity drivel from The Media Kitchen CEO Barry Lowenthal, who presented the increasingly clichéd Caucasian complaint about ageism in the advertising industry. Like lots of Old White Guys, Lowenthal uses arguments mimicking the historical positions of racial and ethnic minorities who have been denied entry into the field. The main difference, of course, is Lowenthal is making a case in defense of the people who have perpetuated the exclusivity and discrimination for scores of decades. Most outrageous is the title of Lowenthal’s essay: “Agencies Need To Understand That Diversity Means Hiring People Of Different Ages, Too.” Um, agencies don’t even understand what diversity means at all.

Agencies Need To Understand That Diversity Means Hiring People Of Different Ages, Too

How age discrimination limits our potential for cultivating great ideas and what the industry can do to fix it

By Barry Lowenthal

Recently, a former colleague reached out to talk about making a career change. Now in his fifties, he’s a former head of a small agency and has had a distinguished career. He wanted my perspective on where he should focus his efforts next. Should he try to go client side? Get another agency job? Try something else?

Without even thinking, I told him not to bother looking at agencies.

The unfortunate truth, in my experience, is that most agencies would consider him too old. Agencies, in my observation, are not businesses that look favorably on people over 40. A lot has been written about this topic, and much of it suggests that, since advertising reflects popular culture, advertisers must be well-connected to youth culture in order to succeed—and that means you have to be young.

But is that really the case? I know plenty of older people who are incredibly well-versed in everything modern. I also know a lot of young people who can develop highly effective media plans for targeting people over 50.

The reality is that older people are more expensive and the agency model just can’t afford them. One of the easiest (and, in my opinion, laziest) ways to drive profitability is to “juniorize” a team. But when that happens, we lose the valuable perspective that only time and experience can bring to the table. Therein lies the counterargument, of course.

Many agencies think that young people easily reflect new media because they grew up on it. Older people have a harder time proving their value (and price tag). And if young people can do the jobs of older people for half the price, many companies do not feel pressure to address the mass exodus of people over 40.

An economist might say that the advertising industry reflects a pure working capitalist system. While it might make sense from a capitalist’s point of view, I believe that diversity in all forms leads to better work environments and better ideas. And better ideas lead to success, including financial success.

One aspect of agency life that perpetuates age discrimination is the way friendships are formed within companies. I’ve noticed employees often bond over late-night drinks, spin classes and happy hours. Those are all most often pursuits of the young singles demographic. If important relationships are built during activities that only cater to one group, then only that one group will build the kinds of relationships that lead to agency success. Groups that have more demands on their time, like parents and caregivers, are often excluded.

I mentioned this issue to friends in HR at different agencies. The response is typically along the lines of, “Everyone needs to explain what they can bring to a culture.” That kind of thinking only contributes to the problem. It’s not incumbent on the candidate to show how they fit in. We need to make room for all kinds of diversity, including people in their forties, fifties and sixties. I know making room isn’t necessarily easy. Agencies can start by building an understanding of what people with different backgrounds and at different life stages require. People over 40 have different needs and responsibilities than people in their twenties, including childcare responsibilities, eldercare responsibilities and probably longer commute times to the office. Instead of scheduling all the bonding events after business hours, agencies should consider shifting some to the afternoon, allowing people to attend without sacrificing family time.

Another way to build that understanding is to share learnings more regularly so that everyone can benefit from the collective experience. This allows us to go beyond a reliance on real-time experience—such as having “grown up” digital—and creates an environment in which lived experiences and hard-earned wisdom can come together for the benefit of the entire agency.

There are about 65 million people in the U.S. who are part of Gen X and more than 74 million baby boomers (along with 72 million millennials). Those people represent a lot of collective wisdom and experience and I hope we can continue to honor that in the advertising industry.

While we certainly have to get the economics right, we also have to be willing to make room for all kinds of diversity. That starts with believing in diversity of all kinds.

Barry Lowenthal is CEO of The Media Kitchen

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

14874: Droga5 Literally And Figuratively Shits Out Equinox Campaign.

Equinox has historically produced soft-porn bullshit campaigns, so it’s unclear why the advertiser would need Droga5 to continue perpetuating the sex stereotypes and lewdly obscene awfulness—especially since Ted Royer is no longer employed by the White advertising agency.

Oh, look! A sexually fetishized Black woman—how original!

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

14873: Increasing Quantity And Quality Of Ignorance, Hypocrisy And Cultural Cluelessness.

Campaign published a pathetic perspective from Heat Strategist Lindsay Wade titled, “My 2020 wishlist for diversity in advertising,” wherein she discussed the casting of racial and ethnic minorities in advertising campaigns and opined, “Instead of leading with diversity in quantity, advertisers should lead with diversity in quality.” The term “leading”—at least in reference to the advertising industry—should never appear in the same sentence with “diversity.” Unless the statement is emphasizing that adland is leading most professional categories in failing with and actively denying diversity. Additionally, there is a large and growing quantity of culturally clueless clowns like Wade presenting high-quality ignorance and hypocrisy in defense of divertsity.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Sunday, January 05, 2020

14871: Dashing Through The Snow, Bashing Through The Renault…

This Renault advertisement from Grey in Turkey is described as follows:

Zoe, a new generation electric car by Renault. Our print celebrates the New Year by using Santa’s sleigh as a metaphor. Zoe is small. Zoe is powerful. Happy New Year!

Okay, but why are flying horses being pulled by Santa’s sleigh? Somebody should’ve pulled the plug on this electric car concept.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

14870: The Worst Ads Of The Decade Expose The Worst Hypocrisy Of The Ad Industry.

Business Insider presented “The worst ads of the decade,” calling out 15 advertisements that broke down as follows: 8 with race- and/or ethnicity-based cluelessness, 4 with sex- and/or gender-based cluelessness and 3 with general cluelessness. The results kinda underscore the outrageousness of White women crying discrimination in the advertising industry, especially considering that White women have been co-conspirators with White men in maintaining the underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities in the field—and in the campaigns.

And a special shout-out to Brad Jakeman for making the Business Insider list via the Pepsi-Kendall Jenner video. The “honor” is another example of the outrageous hypocrisy so prevalent in the industry.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

14869: Digiday Cats And Dogs Deserves Being Placed In Litter Box Or Doghouse.

Digiday published a fluff piece titled, “Inside agencies, men and women still struggle to deal with the fall out of #MeToo.” Typo aside, the awfulness was compounded by an illustration (depicted above) featuring separated cats and dogs. Despite displaying a diversity of house pets, there were no Blacks among the bunch—and a more accurate illustration would have shown a predominately White-furred menagerie.