Sunday, May 31, 2020
Friday, May 29, 2020
Thursday, May 28, 2020
The crappy, contrived, clichéd COVID-19 Themed Ads collection is closing in on 450 entries. Such a paradox that the global pandemic is both decimating the advertising industry while simultaneously providing the greatest opportunity for campaigns.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
AgencySpy posted that Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun addressed the troops by discussing the “Future of Our Work” and announced employees would be allowed to operate remotely through the rest of the year. The furloughed and laid-off can probably stay at home too. Hey, maybe Marcel can connect the global network of employed and unemployed teammates. Of course, Maurice Lévy can get folks reduced rates at WeWork.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Advertising Age reported on an Adobe study indicating consumers are getting tired of ‘We’re With You’ messages from advertisers. Wonder how they’re feeling about the crappy, contrived and clichéd COVID-19 ads spreading like a virus…
Adobe Study Suggests Consumers Have Grown Tired of ‘We’re With You’ Ads
By George P. Siefo
While more than a third of marketers have opted to pause their ad spend amid the pandemic, a survey released today suggests consumers still want advertising—but only if it’s executed the right way.
Adobe Advertising Cloud commissioned the survey, which found that only 12 percent of consumers want brands to stop advertising, while more than half (51 percent) still want ads that are tailored to their specific needs. The report surveyed more than 1,000 people about the types of advertising experiences they are willing to have (and not have), their purchasing patterns and how they’re perceiving brands that advertise alongside content about the pandemic.
The findings could be useful to marketers, as many are rejiggering their messaging as states begin to partially open this month.
“Before COVID-19, targeting, personalization and a robust infrastructure to allow for real-time customer profile updating was seen as important, but sometimes put on the back burner by brands looking for easy solutions,” Ryan Fleisch, head of product marketing at Adobe Advertising Cloud, told Ad Age. “A one-size-fits-all is no longer an option.”
Although the survey had several obvious findings (consumers have been negatively impacted financially by the pandemic; people are spending more time online), it also found several others that go against the grain of traditional thinking.
The study suggests that consumers have already grown tired of “we’re with you” ads. Brand marketers believe consumers want ads that showcase how they’re engaging with communities and helping people, but brand marketers are almost 20 percent more likely to believe this than everyday consumers, according to Adobe. The report adds that brands would be better served by focusing instead on “everyday essentials and things that take consumers minds away from the crisis.”
There’s also been increased spending among millennial men and those who are employed full-time, Adobe says, as more than half of millennial men are shopping and spending more money online than they did prior to the pandemic. And almost half (48 percent) of those still in full-time employment are doing the same.
Meanwhile, luxury brands should turn their attention toward GenZ, as this demographic expressed the most desire for high-end products. “Over 40 percent of GenZ want luxury or nonessential brand advertising directed toward them, despite the generation being most affected negatively by economic challenge due to COVID-19,” the survey said. About 67 percent of marketers have pulled back their ad spend on luxury or nonessential products, Adobe says.
The study also suggests that brands can find significant value in advertising alongside coronavirus stories, despite the widespread blacklisting of such content. Roughly two-thirds more American consumers are turning to trusted content than they were prior to COVID-19, according to the study, which points out that ad prices for those publishers have also dropped significantly.
“Brands targeting older or more traditional viewers will do well to advertise on news sites that may feature negative, COVID-related information as these populations will be least likely to associate a brand with the negative messaging,” Adobe says.
Monday, May 25, 2020
It feels a little odd to celebrate Memorial Day during the COVID-19 crisis, an event often described with war-related terms and metaphors—including saluting healthcare workers on the frontlines and declaring the coronavirus an enemy. Don’t mean to discount the noble efforts of people providing services under dangerous conditions, but… really? Even the current Commander-In-Chief joined the rhetoric by claiming to be a “war-time president” battling an invisible foe. MultiCultClassics is not the only publication to note the phenomenon.
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Saturday, May 23, 2020
MultiCultClassics wondered if the photograph that Campaign used to illustrate the report on the IPA Agency Census was actually royalty-free stock photography. A blog visitor confirmed it (photo depicted above). Heaven forbid an article about BAME representation in adland might feature real-life BAME advertising executives.
Friday, May 22, 2020
Campaign published a video interview with Cindy Gallop, who hawked her MakeLoveNotPorn site—indirectly inspired by her personal fetish of fornicating with significantly younger partners. The site has apparently experienced an orgasmic spike in visitors during the COVID-19 crisis, presenting another example of pseudo industry leaders capitalizing on a global pandemic. It’s also another example of Gallop’s annoying hypocrisy. After all, if any adman publicly flaunted their sexual exploits and promoted pornography, his immediate—and rightful—expulsion from the field would come via demands by screeching banshees like Gallop.
Cindy Gallop on MakeLoveNotPorn’s revamped site, the need for braver brands and more
By Lindsay Stein
The well-known industry veteran shares insights for agencies, brands and young people.
Tech entrepreneur, former BBH exec, diversity and inclusion activist, TED Talk speaker, the self-proclaimed “Michael Bay of business.”
Cindy Gallop’s career has many highlights, but one aspect she’s particularly passionate about is her work on sex positive education through MakeLoveNotPorn, which she founded over a decade ago.
MLNP—a site where people can express themselves through social sex in a safe space—just went through a refresh. And the timing is perfect since Gallop said she’s seen a 33 percent increase in daily users over the last four weeks of self-quarantining, as well as a 20 percent jump in revenue.
In addition to sharing the ins and outs of the revamped site, Gallop joins Campaign US on Pillow Talk to chat through how brands can be bolder with their advertising, why gender and diversity issues should improve in the aftermath of COVID-19 and much more.
The Campaign article included a painfully pathetic video featuring Gallop’s self-promotional pap.
Thursday, May 21, 2020
15021: ANA Blames COVID-19 For Decreased Spending With Minority Vendors, Ignoring Exclusivity And Racism.
Adweek spotlighted an ANA study indicating COVID-19 will lead to marketers decreasing spending on diverse suppliers. What makes this pathetic is that the ANA has recognized marketers have shortchanged minority vendors for decades—so decreased attention means increased exclusivity.
Equally pathetic is Adweek illustrating the story with royalty-free stock photography (depicted above). Hey, an image of real minority vendors servicing the advertising industry simply isn’t in the archives.
Equally pathetic is Adweek illustrating the story with royalty-free stock photography (depicted above). Hey, an image of real minority vendors servicing the advertising industry simply isn’t in the archives.
Marketers Likely to Decrease Spend on Diverse Suppliers Due to Covid-19, ANA Says
Minority-owned businesses may take a hit as a result
By Minda Smiley
Many companies are expected to pull back marketing and advertising spendin light of the economic downturn spurred by Covid-19, and it looks like some of their initiatives dedicated to diversity and inclusion will be adversely affected as a result.
Supplier diversity programs, which companies often implement to encourage the use of businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, the LGBTQ community and those with disabilities as suppliers, may suffer in the coming months, according to the Association of National Advertisers.
“Given recent events, the state of the economy, and projections that many advertisers will decrease media investments, spending behind diverse suppliers for marketing/advertising is likely to decrease for many marketers in 2020,” the ANA said in a report on the topic released today.
This means agencies, media properties and other players in the marketing ecosystem that are considered diverse suppliers could be impacted if brands choose to invest fewer resources into securing them.
The ANA report detailed results from a survey of 105 marketers conducted in February on supplier diversity programs. Considering both the scale and impact of Covid-19 have rapidly increased since then, the survey’s responses have lost some of its relevance in the weeks since.
For instance, many respondents at the time said a specific goal of their supplier diversity program is to “increase dollar spend on a year-to-year basis.” However, some of the respondents that the ANA contacted once the pandemic reached the U.S. voiced concerns over to what extent these programs will suffer because of an overall pullback on spend.
According to the ANA, one person commented, “It’s gonna be brutal,” adding that “every spend is under review …. We are only spending to keep the lights on in the office … if you don’t need it, don’t spend on it.”
The ANA said 40% of the marketers who responded to the survey have a supplier diversity strategy specifically for marketing and advertising, while 75% have one for their organization overall. Spend with diverse suppliers was “much more likely to increase than decrease from 2018 to 2019,” the report said, noting that for marketing and advertising in particular, 37% upped their spending and 10% pulled back.
This survey’s findings also suggest that there is a “greater lack of diverse suppliers” for marketing and advertising when compared to other sectors. According to the report, 81% of respondents said they spent less than 10% on diverse “Tier 1” suppliers dedicated to marketing and advertising services last year. “Tier 1” means the company works with that supplier directly instead of through a third party.
The ANA said this is partly because “there are few diverse supplier resources for media,” explaining that Spanish-language network Univision is actually owned by a private equity firm and therefore not considered a diverse supplier. Additionally, many multicultural agencies are owned by holding companies, which prevents them from being classified as diverse suppliers.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Since 2009, the Marcus Graham Project has held its annual iCR8 Boot Camp to provide an extraordinary experiential learning opportunity for Black, Latinx, and Asian aspiring marketing and media leaders. While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a virtual experience, the organization recognizes iCR8 Boot Camp qualifies as essential business. So click any link in this post to learn more—or better yet, donate to the cause.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
AT&T and BBDO brought back Milana Vayntrub—aka Lily—to hype 5G and iPhone Half Off promotions. Customers will likely use the devices and services to download hot photos—especially fake nude shots—of Vayntrub.
Monday, May 18, 2020
Campaign published a painfully plodding interview with S4 Capital Chief Sir Martin Sorrell, who opined the advertising industry will experience a “Darwinian cull” resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Um, Armageddon was transpiring long before the global pandemic arrived, fueled by the greed and mismanagement of chimps like Sorrell. The diminutive simian went on to proclaim holding companies are “too big” and “lack focus”—predicting the enterprises will ultimately fail. Is Sorrell senile or just stupid? If he hadn’t been ousted from WPP, wouldn’t Sorrell still be expanding the too big and focus-lacking model? For the architect to dismiss his own erection is pretty pathetic. Sorrell, however, took delusion and denial to greater heights by remarking, “The forces are keeping the costs high in the traditional business when the revenues are declining quite rapidly”—a cautionary critique of humongous salaries within advertising agencies. Really?
Martin Sorrell: Coronavirus will trigger ‘Darwinian cull’ of ad industry
By Jessica Goodfellow
In wide-ranging interview, S4 Capital chief discusses how Covid-19 presents opportunity for some businesses and coup de grâce for others.
Sir Martin Sorrell is remarkably optimistic about his advertising business during Covid-19, despite likening the impact of the global pandemic as “closer to a world war” than a recession.
That’s coming from the executive who steered WPP through the financial crash of 2008, among other events.
Indeed, Sorrell believes the virus outbreak — which has forced many countries into lockdown, resulting in dramatic shifts in consumer behaviour — opens up “tremendous opportunities” for his own company, S4 Capital.
“I think we will gain as a result of this, not necessarily in the short term, but in the medium-to-long term,” he tells Campaign Asia-Pacific.
The positive impact he details are threefold: a growth in the online consumer base, an acceleration of media shifting online and an acceleration of digital transformation projects at an enterprise level. These are all trends that stand to benefit his four-year-old company, which is “purely digital” and counts technology clients as half of its client base.
But others will not be so lucky. In fact, advertising’s big six holding companies — including the one he stewarded for 33 years before his controversial exit in 2018 — are in “deep doo-doo”.
In his view, holding companies are “too big” and “lack focus” — problems that he believes are fatal in the current economic climate.
“The six holding companies [WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, Interpublic, Dentsu and Havas] are really in deep doo-doo, because they can’t get away from their analogue businesses,” Sorrell opines. “If you’re an analogue business, you have to reposition yourself rapidly. You have to blow things up.
“It’s the old cannibalisation argument: if you don’t eat your children, somebody else will. In this case, if you don’t change your organisation, it’s going to change for you — it’s going to be out of your hands.”
Their hamartia is an imbalance of power at the very top, he believes, with traditional creative directors being paid far bigger salaries (he estimates a top New York creative director could feasibly be on a $4-5m annual salary package) than digital directors (he estimates $250,000 a year).
“The forces are keeping the costs high in the traditional business when the revenues are declining quite rapidly,” he suggests.
Sorrell has grown S4 by acquisition, in core specialties of content (MediaMonks, Caramel Pictures, BizTech, IMA, Firewood, WhiteBalance, Circus Marketing), programmatic (MightyHive, ProgMedia), and data and analytics (Conversion Works, Datalicious). Focusing on these core specialties is what makes S4 unique, in Sorrell’s eyes. He believes its only direct competitor is French holding company Fimalac, which bought a majority share in UK-based Jellyfish in November, a digital shop that he says he was considering investing in around the time when S4 bought MightyHive.
Holding companies may claim to offer these specialties, but their “execution is lacking”. Sorrell says the closest thing WPP could get to being a direct competitor to S4 would be an amalgamation of its digital agencies AKQA and Essence with its market research group Kantar (which it sold 60% of to Bain Capital last year).
Sorrell goes on to liken S4 to the Tesla of the advertising industry: “It’s a bit like saying: why is it that the car companies can’t compete with Tesla or why is it that the banks can’t compete with fintech companies? Often they’re so big, they can’t get out of their own way.”
With this in mind, he imagines the financial pressures of Covid-19 will lead to a “Darwinian cull” of the weakest links in advertising — with holding companies forced to either go private and break up, or break up publicly.
“This challenge from C19 is going to unleash tremendous energy,” he continues. “It’s a bit like pruning a tree. I mean, it’s a terrible analogy, because there’s a tremendous human cost here, but there’s a Darwinian cull… that I think is going to happen.”
How Covid-19 has affected S4
Having a technology-heavy client base means S4 may not be feeling the same pain as other ad groups. While many brands have dialled back adspend during Covid-19, some of S4’s technology clients are “spending more money” now, Sorrell claims.
“The tech companies are much more solid in terms of their budgets. There is some switching from H1 to H2, money is being moved because there’s pressure — I think it’s the small-to-medium business pressure,” he says. “But, so far, I would say, marginal actions.”
Non-tech clients are cutting budgets, he acknowledges, but cuts have been targeted at “traditional” advertising such as linear TV, while more money is being spent on digital to drive short-term sales, Sorrell claims.
“The sales side is being delivered by more measurable, cheaper, more effective CPMs and performance on the digital side,” he says. “That’s the big shift that we’re seeing.”
With programmatic, data and analytics purportedly representing 30% of S4’s business (content makes up the remaining 70%), Sorrell is confident it is well-positioned to capitalise on these shifts in client behaviour.
“I think we’re in the fortunate position that we can describe [to employees] a future which has got promise in it,” he said. “Others may have much more difficulty in doing that, but because of the way we’re positioned, I think we will gain as a result of this.” He caveated this with an acknowledgment that the “human cost will be huge”.
S4 has also been “pitching aggressively” during Covid-19 and “getting some very good results”, including winning a major FMCG account and pharmaceutical business last quarter, Sorrell said. The two accounts were previously with holding companies, he added.
Consequently, S4, which made £215.1m in revenue in 2019, has so far seen its financials “marginally affected” by Covid-19.
“We have no leverage, we have good liquidity, and we are well-breached from a facilities point of view,” Sorrell said. He claims the group had a “very strong January” but began to see “a little bit of effect” from February. Liquidity and payment terms are among the chief financial concerns he has.
As the first region hit by Covid-19, Asia-Pacific took the biggest revenue hit in the first quarter, but this region represents just 10% of S4’s business (although Sorrell hopes to up that proportion to 40%). North and South America are its biggest regions, representing 70% of its business, with western Europe making up the remaining 20%. The pandemic only began to take hold of these regions from March, so this will likely weigh down the second quarter for many businesses.
Indeed, Sorrell predicts the second quarter is going to be a “disaster” for the industry, but remains “bullish” it will see a recovery “if not in all, in many segments” by the fourth quarter.
Changes to working practices
Sorrell reveals he is one of eight leaders within S4 to have taken a 50% salary cut from 1 April “as a strong signal to the organisation what we’re prepared to do”. No other members of staff have been given pay cuts at this stage and the business has “reduced but not frozen” its level of hiring.
The eight senior leaders formed a “coronavirus crisis group” in February and have been meeting daily to discuss how to handle the management of staff, clients and finances (in that order, Sorrell assures) during the crisis. His strategy as a leader has been to “over-communicate” to staff by updating them weekly on health and safety and how the business is faring.
It has been “extraordinarily lucky” to have recorded very few internal cases of Covid-19 — Sorrell recalls four cases out of a 2,500-strong workforce.
Working practices have not been impacted by the transition to working from home since the business is “purely digital” anyway, Sorrell says.
“I get physically affected when people start to waffle on about how amazing it is that people are working from home,” he says. “For digital natives, working from home is part of their work.”
In fact, Sorrell says the company has dealt so well with the shift that it may become a permanent fixture — with the company beginning to cut its property leases.
“We’re already cutting our leases, not just because we want to reduce those costs in C19, although that’s part of it, but because we see a distinctive change in the pattern of working, and our people are saying that they prefer working from home,” he says.
He envisions being able to reinvest the $35-40m it currently spends in property back into its people, “which is, after all, our business”.
Pandemic ‘will not stop us expanding’
Sorrell is still aiming to double the size of S4 organically excluding deals within three years. Inspired by Facebook’s recent investment in India’s Reliance Jio, he said the pandemic is “not going to stop us expanding the business” and is eyeing expansion in its data and analytics capabilities in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, plus an outpost in Germany.
“We’re not going to do things at scale, we’re going to do things which are manageable and which will not impact our balance sheet negatively as we think short-term financial strength and the balance sheet is critically important,” Sorrell noted.
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Saturday, May 16, 2020
The crappy, contrived, clichéd COVID-19 Themed Ads collection will likely exceed 400 pieces during the weekend—especially since the typical advertising hack has nothing else to work on right now.
Update: As predicted, the entries hit 408…
Friday, May 15, 2020
Adweek presented a discriminatory doubleheader with articles on culturally-clueless critters and slaves for mascots—featuring the stereotypical brand spokespersons declining comment and/or insisting racist figures are beloved icons. Hey, Annie the Chicken Queen and the Pine-Sol Lady deserve an apology for being excluded from the reports.
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Advertising Age reported on The Martin Agency maneuvering through the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing to service 88 percent of its clients by proactively offering ideas and taking action. Gee, imagine if such dedicated focus could be applied to, say, diversifying the White advertising agency. CEO Kristen Cavallo is on it for sure. “A few years ago I climbed Kilimanjaro,” said Cavallo. “We hit what we called the place of most resistance, where I lost the plot and wanted to quit.” Not sure if Cavallo was sharing on a personal excursion or actually talking about navigating over the precipice posed by Joe Alexander.
The Martin Agency’s Kristen Cavallo On Being Proactive During The Pandemic
IPG agency CEO says the shop didn’t wait for briefs—and that led 88 percent of its clients to continue work
By Lindsay Rittenhouse
On Friday, March 13, the call came down from Interpublic Group of Cos. that all employees across its agencies would begin working from home on the following Monday due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
The Martin Agency CEO Kristen Cavallo immediately called the IPG shop’s staff into in an open gallery space at the agency’s Richmond Virginia home office where people could practice social distancing. Agency leaders broke out the flip charts and began going down The Martin Agency’s list of clients alphabetically, hypothesizing ways they could help each one. By end of day, the agency had emailed three ideas on how to manage the crisis to every one of its clients.
“It’s our job to fight for our clients; that’s what we get paid to do,” says Cavallo noting that The Martin Agency couldn’t be “paralyzed in that moment” or wait for briefs to come through the door. “We don’t have the luxury of coming across as invaluable right now. We are fighting for our own survival.”
And the agency hasn’t stopped moving since. “We’ve just been operating on a much faster timeframe,” Cavallo says, equating the agency’s efforts to exercise: it’s hard to get started but once you do, it becomes routine.
“In the initial days of working from home, there was a lot of agency talk about the hardships of working from home,” says Cavallo, citing a plethora of grousing social media posts and reports in industry trade publications like Ad Age. “We felt it wasn’t the right time to talk about difficulties, but to lean into the client.”
This proactive approach allowed the agency to remotely produce work for 88 percent of its clients, the agency says—a feat considering that many brands have decreased marketing efforts or gone dark entirely during this crisis. To date, The Martin Agency has produced 20 ads for 11 clients, with 11 more spots in progress across eight brands. Out of all of its 18 clients, only two have not yet engaged the agency for a campaign during this time.
“In any six-week period, that is a Herculean effort,” Cavallo says. “I can’t tell you how proud and inspired I am of this company. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
And during a time when many hard-hit clients are cutting agency compensation, Cavallo says that not only have “a number of” Martin’s clients held their fees, some have even increased compensation to the agency since the pandemic began.
Even so, The Martin Agency has realigned staffing in certain areas of the business, such as in production, due to the lack of shoots going on right now, and reallocated positions to other areas. But the agency says it has not gone through the type of layoffs that have hit a number of other shops. An agency spokesperson said: “We’ve pulled back in areas like production to heavy up in PR, animation, digital and strategy. We’ve cut some roles, hired others and have some open roles,” according to The Martin Agency.
Leaning into clients
After sending emails out to all of its clients that fateful Friday the 13th, Cavallo says DoorDash, for which The Martin Agency won lead creative duties in August 2019, “was the first one to bite.”
Cavallo says conversations began with DoorDash the following day, and the agency sent 35 creative ideas to the company on the next day, a Sunday. By Tuesday, March 17, the final idea was locked in and the agency had an integrated campaign in market on Friday, March 20—one week after those initial emails landed in clients’ inboxes.
“We briefed Martin on March 14, right after the NBA had closed and Tom Hanks had announced he had COVID,” says Kofi Amoo-Gottfried, VP of marketing at DoorDash. “Six days later we had a completely integrated campaign up on all channels: TV, online, digital, influencers, partnerships. The ability for The Martin Agency to turn that around in six days is extraordinary.”
DoorDash’s campaign highlighted the many restaurants open for delivery and featured local eateries as well as big U.S. chains like Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, The Cheesecake Factory, Chick-fil-A, Chili’s and Cracker Barrel, among plenty others. The campaign included a 30-second TV spot, “There For You,” and an #OpenForDelivery site aimed at promoting the various delivery options available to consumers during this time. A tweet promoting the campaign even tagged rivals Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub and Caviar, “or wherever your go-to happens to be!”
“Our view was, first and foremost, we are trying to help,” Amoo-Gottfried says, explaining the campaign and its decision to promote competitors. “It was not about DoorDash. This was a category and industry response. It was not about our sales; it was about restaurant sales.”
The campaign drove an 84 percent positive engagement rate with consumers.
As The Martin Agency cranked out that campaign for DoorDash, it was simultaneously producing work for its other clients. Cavallo says the agency shipped camera kits to talent to film from home; leaned on existing stock footage; and even used drones in certain cases to produce the spots remotely.
For UPS, The Martin Agency released a spot thanking its delivery drivers who continue to work through the pandemic. “We went from brief to creative in a little more than a week, which is really, really fast,” says Todd Wandtke, VP of digital marketing, advertising and brand management at UPS.
For Oreo, The Martin Agency churned out three pieces of work: a Trolls World Tour augmented reality experience, a #CookieChallenge partnership with TikTok, and its “Stay Playful” campaign, which as Ad Age reported, has become one of YouTube’s most-viewed coronavirus-related ads.
“Agility is more important now than ever. Having a partner who can adapt quickly to changes in consumer sentiment and understand how our brands can respond with authenticity and empathy is key,” says Justin Parnell, a senior director at Oreo Brand and Mondelez International.
For Ritz, The Martin Agency put a branded spin on Instagram’s #KaraokeChallenge that encouraged people to sing together while staying apart, which helped raise funds for Feeding America. The campaign was produced in a week.
“I feel very close to the agency team and I think this moment has reinforced the level of trust and respect we have for them,” says Patty Gonzalez, senior director of marketing at Mondelez International.
A fight for survival
The Martin Agency is, of course, not the only agency firing on all fronts to survive during this time. Shops are having to prove their worth as a rising tide of brands pull back their marketing spend due to the adverse effects the pandemic is having on their businesses. According to an IAB report, more than one third of brands and media buyers have paused their advertising efforts altogether. Coca-Cola and Molson Coors are among major brands to pause or scale back marketing.
A recent Kantar report countered that while many brands consider “going dark to save costs,” it found that a six-month absence from TV would result in a 39 percent reduction in total brand communication awareness, “potentially delaying recovery in a post-pandemic world.”
“The role of creativity has never been more important,” says Devika Bulchandani, McCann North America president. “Creative is the only way to survival. This is where advertising as an industry shines.”
According to McCann, its Worldgroup network has produced 100-plus new spots since the pandemic began. Bulchandani says that didn’t happen by sitting around waiting for briefs. “In a moment like this, if we waited for briefs, we are not a true partner,” she says.
Still, an agency is made up of humans with lives and anxieties of their own to tend to. Cavallo says The Martin Agency has regular meetings to check in with its people, sends them lunches through DoorDash and tries to inspire them with personal, handwritten notes thanking them for their hard work.
“A few years ago I climbed Kilimanjaro,” Cavallo says. “We hit what we called the place of most resistance, where I lost the plot and wanted to quit. When we were in that space, our guide reminded us we chose to be here. That gave us permission to have control over our fate, one step over the other. So we did that. We’d take one step in front of the other. We did this on a frequent basis so we never felt lost or adrift. [As an agency], it hasn’t been easy [but that mantra has] been super inspiring and provided us fuel.”
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Business Insider reported fast-food restaurants have been experiencing sales spikes during the COVID-19 crisis—with the big winners including Papa John’s. The pizza joint that weathered racism and sexism is now benefiting from a global pandemic? Somebody cue the Apocalypse.
The quarantine diet: People are eating more pizza and chicken wings, boosting sales at Papa John’s and Wingstop as other restaurants face sales slumps
By Kate Taylor
As Americans shelter in place and restaurant sales suffer, a few chains are thriving.
On Wednesday, Wingstop reported same-store sales were up by more than 30% in April. Papa John’s had similarly cheery earnings the same day, with same-store sales up 26.9% in April.
Even in late March, when restaurant sales were the lowest across the industry, wings and pizza remained popular. Wingstop said its sales were up 8.9% in the second half of March. Papa John’s reported at the end of March that its same-store sales were “negatively impacted by the cancellation of large gatherings,” but that sales were up 3.6% in the last month.
These sales explosions are in stark contrast to the rest of the restaurant industry.
While fast-food chains have generally weathered the coronavirus pandemic better than the industry as a whole, chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell said that sales dropped by 20% to 35% in late March.
Restaurants without drive-thrus faced an even more dire financial situation. Waffle House’s same-store sales dropped by 70% to 80% in late March at locations that remained open, the company told Business Insider. The Cheesecake Factory saw similar declines, with sales down roughly 75% before beginning to recover in April.
The National Restaurant Association said in late April that the industry lost $30 billion in March and was on track to lose $50 billion in April.
Wingstop and Papa John’s, as well as other delivery-centric pizza chains, have cashed in on customers sheltering in place. Americans were already familiar with the chains’ to-go business, and companies had the necessary infrastructure in place to ramp up sales, with an emphasis on digital ordering.
Wingstop said on Wednesday that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, off-premise already made up 80% of sales. Now, all of the chain’s business is to-go and delivery, with digital sales growing to 65% from 40% of sales.
Even as chains across the board push to-go and delivery offers, customers seem to be craving some foods more than others. A whopping 43% of respondents to a Gordon Haskett survey of more than 300 households said that they had increased their use of pizza delivery in the week ending May 1 — the highest percentage since analysts began surveying people on pizza orders in February.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Sweat + Co is the latest self-absorbed enterprise shamelessly seeking to capitalize on COVID-19 with its Agencies Under Quarantine webinar series. Of course, there is an endless list of potential panelists, as self-absorbed adpeople are not only in abundance, but also virtually full of free time and bullshit. Given that the overwhelming majority of White advertising agencies are desperately dealing with pay cuts, furloughs, layoffs and dismissals—as well as dramatically downsizing and decimating—does anyone really have a single original thought to offer that might be helpful? Hey, that’s never stopped folks from pontificating in the past. Pathetic.
Monday, May 11, 2020
Campaign reported the latest IPA Agency Census showed BAME representation actually decreased in adland. This is not surprising, as legitimate interest in diversity has diminished too—replaced by overwhelming enthusiasm for divertsity and the promotion of White women. Dame trumps BAME every time.
BTW, the photo accompanying the story (depicted above) being caption-less probably means it’s a royalty-free stock image—an appropriately pathetic indicator of the industry’s inability to identify, hire and retain actual minorities.
BTW, the photo accompanying the story (depicted above) being caption-less probably means it’s a royalty-free stock image—an appropriately pathetic indicator of the industry’s inability to identify, hire and retain actual minorities.
Behind the disappointing decline in adland’s BAME representation
With agencies far off the IPA’s targets for BAME diversity, many are overlooking issues such as retention and progression.
By Brittaney Kiefer
Five years ago, the IPA set a challenge to ad agencies to improve black, Asian and minority-ethnic diversity among their workforce. But as the deadline for hitting those targets approaches, the industry’s progress is stuttering, revealing a massive disconnect between its intentions and the realities for BAME staff in adland.
The IPA’s latest Agency Census, released last week, found that the proportion of staff in UK agencies from BAME backgrounds has fallen at each of the three highest levels of seniority. Just 4.7% of C-suite executives were from a BAME background on 1 September 2019, down from 5.5% in 2018. People from BAME backgrounds also make up a slightly smaller proportion of the overall workforce, down 0.1 percentage points to 13.7%. The figure rose 0.8 point to 17.7% at junior level.
These numbers are still a long way off the IPA’s targets. The organisation has said that agencies should achieve 15% BAME representation in leadership roles and 25% among new starters by 2020. The figures for this year will be revealed in the census in around 12 months from now.
It raises the question: why is BAME representation dropping at agencies despite the increased focus on diversity in recent years? And what can adland be doing better?
Answering these questions is even more pressing as the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to divert businesses’ attention away from diversity to surviving this crisis. Yet diversity should still be top of mind for leaders, especially as recent data shows that the coronavirus is having a disproportionate impact on BAME communities — a fact that has prompted an inquiry by Public Health England. The situation underlines a lack of deep understanding among government and other sectors of the challenges faced by BAME groups.
“This pandemic is revealing structural inequalities in society that advertising is not immune from,” Asad Dhunna, founder of The Unmistakables, says.
Those “structural inequalities” within advertising start early. The industry’s approach to recruitment still leans too heavily on what Ali Hanan, chief executive of Creative Equals, calls the “network-ocracy”, with professionals tending to draw from their insular circles to find talent.
To counter this, agencies should “make sure all your recruitment slates are balanced and interviewers are trained in unconscious bias,” Hanan advises.
While the IPA Census suggests that some progress has been made in recruiting junior employees from BAME backgrounds, there are still major challenges in keeping them for the long term and changing the face of industry leadership.
“Agencies have taken huge strides to attract talent from BAME communities over the last few years, which is great to see. But we’re not seeing this effort translate into more BAME individuals making it into the industry and staying for the long term,” Amina Folarin, international people director at Oliver, says.
The figures “show there are problems with retention and progression, which signal a much deeper issue than a lack of intent”, Rania Robinson, chief executive and partner at Quiet Storm, observes. “Somewhere along the line, people from BAME communities are being held back or choosing to opt out of the industry — potentially to an industry where they feel a greater sense of belonging or opportunity.”
That word, “belonging”, is key to how many leaders explain the drop recorded by the census. Breaking into adland is challenging enough, but new recruits may also struggle to find their place and see a clear path of progression in an industry where they are in the minority.
“The lack of BAME representation in our industry, especially in leadership, makes it less attractive to BAME talent, which then affects talent acquisition. The situation perpetuates itself and you get ‘diversity churn’,” Ete Davies, chief executive of Engine Creative, explains.
While there are some schemes in place to attract diverse talent, more can be done within agencies to support those recruits and help them establish their careers after they get in, Leonie Annor-Owiredu, a cultural strategist and writer, suggests.
“When entering the creative industries, there’s an expectation to be caught up in terminology and standards that are rarely made explicit for new talent,” she says. “Establish a system which acknowledges the barriers BAME talent have to navigate and provides support and training, where they can give voice to concerns without repercussions.”
Robinson suggests that more workplaces should introduce “progression programmes” to help those who “feel a lack of understanding and support within their organisations”. Put simply, businesses need to “create more role models” for BAME staff — and this could start with elevating the voices of that talent within organisations, Robinson adds.
BAME people may struggle to have their voices heard, Folarin says. She sums up the situation: “Imagine for a second being the only person of colour in your team, on your floor, perhaps in your entire place of work. This has been my reality throughout my career in TV and advertising.
“Lucky for me, I could talk openly about it with my boss at Oliver. Most people don’t have that privilege; they feel at odds with adland and, to avoid being misunderstood, leave the business or the industry altogether.”
This is an industry where “confidence is everyone’s secret weapon”, Sarah Jenkins, managing director at Saatchi & Saatchi London, says. But if you are the minority in the room, that currency can be harder to come by and build.
“Being different often makes being confident harder and BAME talent will almost certainly be the most visible ‘different’ in many of their agency cohorts,” she explains. “The feeling of exposure, the weight of expectation and sense of representation can make confidence a horribly fragile commodity. And what hope is there to reach the boardroom without a bucketload of self-belief?”
To understand these underlying issues within workplaces, Folarin proposes instituting “more cognitive, emotional and human needs-based training” for senior management – something that could then trickle down the ranks and foster greater inclusivity.
“Management must be able to understand the unique experiences of people from BAME communities (or any under-represented group, for that matter), so that they can really support them as individuals and help them feel part of this picture whenever challenges arise,” Folarin says.
More broadly, Dhunna thinks agencies need to treat this issue as a business priority, rather than an add-on, and “take it out of HR”. He advocates for making diversity one of the metrics for evaluating senior leadership performance, “so that there are real consequences to inaction”.
Davies, too, believes that “accountability should sit on the desks of chief execs, chairpeople and founders — not just HR teams”, adding: “Nothing would lead to a faster realisation of change than making these targets part of every CEO’s objectives and tied to their bonuses or remuneration.”
Clients should also hold their agency partners to account for their lack of progress in this area by pushing for greater representation in teams and in the work, he says.
Ally Owen, founder of Brixton Finishing School, echoes this idea: “Brands should ask those tendering for their business what steps they are taking to make their workplaces more inclusive and give clarity on their statistics (including pay) in order to be awarded a contract. After all, why would you choose an agency partner that can’t represent your consumers?”
Brixton Finishing School recently conducted a survey among entry-level talent on their views of future employment prospects in the ad industry. One respondent’s answer captured the heart of the issue, highlighting a common perception that the industry’s progress on diversity has so far only been skin-deep.
“They talk a big game, but when you walk in it’s just a white wash,” the student said.
Sunday, May 10, 2020
Adweek reported Wunderman Thompson ECD Danielle Trivisonno Hawley bailed off the sinking ship to take a creative leadership role at Uber. Lots of other Wunderman Thompson employees will likely be joining Uber too—as drivers and delivery drones.
Saturday, May 09, 2020
Friday, May 08, 2020
Campaign reported Omnicom dumped Proximity into RAPP, designing another example of downsizing disguised as dynamic. Redundancies to follow. RAPP CEO Marco Scognamiglio gushed, “Unifying these agencies under the RAPP brand accelerates the opportunity for our clients and our talent to benefit from a breadth of skills that rival any agency’s.” Yeah, the newly excreted dung heap can match any White agency in the Omnicom outhouse—including Fathom Communications.
Omnicom folds Proximity into Rapp
Newly formed agency will have 500 staff in UK.
By Gurjit Degun
Omnicom is dropping the Proximity name and merging the agency with Rapp to create a shop that fuses customer experience and engagement.
In the UK, the business will be led by the agencies’ former chief executives, Chris Freeland (who becomes executive chairman) and Gabby Ludzker (who remains in the role of CEO).
Mike Dodds, global CEO of Proximity, takes on the role of CEO of Rapp EMEA.
The UK agency will have 500 staff, making it one of the biggest in the Omnicom portfolio. Proximity has 208 and Rapp has 307 employees, meaning there will be some redundancies.
Campaign understands that the merged shop will have one creative leader in London but this has not yet been confirmed. John Treacy and Al Mackie currently lead the creative output for Proximity and Rapp respectively.
The move is believed to have been in the works since February, before the impact of the coronavirus outbreak hit the ad market. The newly formed agency aims to “create a more compelling proposition around data, technology and strategy”.
Globally, the agency, which has 19 offices around the globe, will be led by Rapp CEO Marco Scognamiglio.
He said: “Unifying these agencies under the Rapp brand accelerates the opportunity for our clients and our talent to benefit from a breadth of skills that rival any agency’s.
“We already partner together on a number of clients globally and this will clearly establish our UK office, with more than 500 employees, as a flagship agency within the Rapp worldwide global network.”
The two UK agencies are located in different buildings at Omnicom’s Bankside headquarters in London. Freeland and Ludzker will now work on how the two shops will come together on a practical level once the lockdown measures are lifted.
Rapp will continue to operate within the Omnicom Precision Marketing Group. Its CEO, Luke Taylor, said: “At OPMG, we are always strategically reviewing how we can deliver a more competitive and relevant offering to our clients. This union aligns highly complementary skills and services, and will benefit both our people and clients worldwide.”
Thursday, May 07, 2020
AgencySpy has become the anti-Indeed, essentially posting daily on pay cuts, furloughs, layoffs, dismissals, downsizing and decimation. In typical clueless fashion, the editorial chimps continue to run Featured Jobs in the right rail. Brilliant.
Wednesday, May 06, 2020
CNN reported on the quiet removal of the iconic Land O’Lakes Native American maiden, who was replaced by a qualifier that reads, “Farmer Owned.” Ironically, Native American farmers have been historically disrespected too.
Land O’Lakes replaces Native American woman logo, touts farmer-owned credentials instead
By Mallika Kallingal, CNN
(CNN) — A Native American woman will no longer adorn the packages of Land O’Lakes butter.
After nearly 100 years, the Minnesota-based dairy company has removed the Native American woman kneeling against a background of green pine trees and a blue lake from its products. New products feature the lake and trees with the words “Land O Lakes, 1921” in bold.
The change was made in February and received little notice until this week. It comes as many businesses, universities and sports teams have begun to drop Native American images and symbols from logos.
The new packaging was launched ahead of the company’s 100th anniversary next year. And the company says it’s shifting the focus of the packaging to farmers which is borne out by the words “Farmer Owned” in large text on one side.
Land O’Lakes, Inc. is a farmer-owned cooperative founded by a group of Minnesota dairy farmers in 1921. According to a company press release, the change was made to highlight the company’s roots as a farmer-owned business ahead of its 100th anniversary in 2021.
In announcing the change, the company made no mention of the removal of the Native American woman.
Some products, including stick butter, will include photos of Land O’Lakes farmers and co-op members and copy that reads “Since 1921” and “Proud to be Farmer-Owned: As a farmer-owned co-op, we stand together to bring you the very best in dairy,” the company said.
Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford said in a statement that the company is trying to have packaging that reflects the foundation and heart of the company’s culture. “And nothing does that better than our farmer-owners whose milk is used to produce Land O’Lakes’ dairy products,” Ford said.
“As a farmer-owned co-op, we strongly feel the need to better connect the men and women who grow our food with those who consume it. Our farmer-to-fork structure gives us a unique ability to bridge this divide,” she added.
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan welcomed the change. She tweeted: “Thank you to Land O’Lakes for making this important and needed change. Native people are not mascots or logos. We are very much still here.”
The company says they have been making an effort to better tell its farmer-owned story in recent years. This includes remaking the classic song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” with country music star Maggie Rose and featuring Land O’Lakes member farms in the music video.
Heather Anfang, senior vice president of Land O’Lakes US Dairy Foods, says consumers care about the fact that the company is farmer owned.
“Extending that farmer-owned story to our packaging is arguably our most direct vehicle to communicate with consumers,” she said.
The company says the new farmer-owned packaging has already started to appear on several products is expected to be fully rolled out across all its products by the end of 2020.
Tuesday, May 05, 2020
Adweek published a perspective titled and subtitled as follows:
Covid-19 Advertising Has Had a Glaring Lack of Disability Inclusion
Those that are most susceptible to the virus appear to not be a consideration in marketing efforts
Um, okay. However, there’s increasing evidence “those that are most susceptible” are not the disabled, but rather, the disadvantaged and disenfranchised—you know, the underrepresented groups that have been historically deferred, denied and dismissed in advertising and adland.
Monday, May 04, 2020
The crappy, contrived, clichéd COVID-19 Themed Ads collection reached 305 pieces. Wonder if awards competitions will waive entry fees, as most of these scam ads were probably hatched by hacks that experienced furloughs, pay cuts, layoffs or dismissals during the pandemic.
Sunday, May 03, 2020
Saturday, May 02, 2020
Leave it to Brazil to address the COVID-19 pandemic in contrived, clichéd and cartoonish scam style. A legitimate creative director would have called time of death for this shit at the concept stage.
Friday, May 01, 2020
Advertising Age reported WPP has access to $747 million in credit from the U.K. government as part of a coronavirus-related financial assistance initiative. Now, it’s a safe bet that former WPP Overlord Sir Martin Sorrell will lobby for a cut of that loot.
U.K. Government Gives WPP Access to Hundreds of Millions in COVID-Crisis Borrowing
Holding company was approved for £600 million ($747 million) under the Covid Corporate Financing Facility
By Lindsay Rittenhouse
WPP received access to £600 million ($747 million) in credit under the U.K. government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, Ad Age has learned.
WPP CEO Mark Read recently told The Telegraph that the holding company had applied for the CCFF borrowing program from the Treasury and Bank of England. According to one person close to the matter, WPP was approved for the borrowing but had not yet dipped into the funds.
WPP declined to comment.
According to WPP filings, the holding company has £4.4 billion ($5.5 billion) of liquidity and £2.8 billion ($3.5 billion) in “other facilities,” which includes government funds. The person close to the matter says the “other facilities” pool is available to WPP should it need to access it, but it hasn’t yet.
The U.K. government announced in March a series of temporary measures, including the CCFF program—under which, “firms making a material contribution” to the U.K. economy can borrow money for up to a year on terms comparable to those available before the COVID-19 economic shock and then use the money “to pay wages and suppliers, even while experiencing severe disruption to cashflows.”
The requirements for the CCFF program stipulate that recipients must be U.K. incorporated companies, including those with foreign-incorporated parents and with a genuine business in the U.K.; companies with significant employment in the U.K.; and firms with their headquarters in the U.K. The government said it will also consider whether the company generates significant revenue in the U.K., serves a large number of customers in the U.K. or has a number of operating sites in the U.K.
WPP, the world’s largest agency holding company, has its headquarters in London, but it gets most of its business from outside the U.K. WPP in 2019 generated 12.8 percent, or $1.77 billion of its $13.8 billion worldwide revenue less pass-through costs, from the U.K., according to WPP’s year-end financials.
Some question whether the CCFF program was really established to help a company like WPP.
“The large holding companies have the market to support them through realigning their businesses for growth,” says Greg Paull, co-founder and principal of R3. “It doesn’t seem appropriate that governments should be supporting them in the same manner that they are investing in truly local small businesses.” The holding company declined to comment. However, someone with knowledge of the situation said the U.K. government has separate programs providing COVID-related relief for small and large businesses, so one does not take away from the other.
According to The Financial Times, many U.K. retailers have had their applications for the CCFF loan rejected. The FT reports, among the larger publicly traded retailers, only Next, Marks and Spencer and Associated British Foods, the owner of Primark, have received the facility. Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic attempted to secure £500 million from the CCFF but was denied, The Guardian reports.
Contributing: Bradley Johnson