Sunday, February 28, 2021

15337: BHM 2021—ASALH.


It’s too late to catch the Marquee Black History Month Event from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History—but the 106th Annual Meeting and Virtual Conference is scheduled for September 13-30, 2021.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

15336: BHM 2021—Coca-Cola (Cont’d).


Looks like Coke created an original 2021 BHM advertisement after all. Oh, and there’s a Black History Month scholarships sweepstakes receiving minimal promotion too—better hurry, the entry period ends tomorrow.


Friday, February 26, 2021

15335: BHM 2021—Outfront Media.


Outfront Media salutes Black History Month with a well-intentioned—albeit not well-executed—campaign featuring Black executives. The torn edges are likely supposed to add urban hipness; however, it looks like the postings have been defaced.


15334: Good Max Campaign Concept Is Bad To The Max.


It’s bad enough that this Good Max campaign from Venezuela takes such a lazy multicultural approach, executing a Black and White version. Yet the concept description is even more lazy—and ludicrously lame:


The coronavirus has left many people without freedom to carry out their day to day as they did before the pandemic. The restrictions have led citizens to spend more time in our homes, which has led to arguments between family members, especially in marriages, many of which have ended their relationship ending with a divorce.


The reason: it is difficult to live with your partner watching him 24 hours a day. For this reason, it is always good to give a little creativity to marital relationships.


BTW, if folks were wearing masks, would facial hair even be visible to creatively and positively affect their relationships?


Thursday, February 25, 2021

15333: BHM 2021—Northeastern Illinois University.

For Black History Month, Northeastern Illinois University offers a full curriculum of activities.

15332: Jeep Cherokee Creates Culturally Clueless Collision.

Advertising Age reported the Cherokee Nation requested that Jeep and other corporations stop using names hijacked borrowed from Native American ancestry to sell products, essentially slamming the brakes on the iconic Jeep Cherokee. When the automaker temporarily stopped airing its Super Bowl spot while celebrity spokesman Bruce Springsteen faced DUI charges, Jeep remarked, “But it’s also right that we pause our Big Game commercial until the actual facts can be established. Its message of community and unity is as relevant as ever.” So, it will be interesting to see how Jeep demonstrates its sense of “community and unity” by responding to the Cherokee Nation.


Cherokee Nation Wants To Reclaim Name From Jeep…: Tuesday Wake-Up Call


By Garett Sloane


Cherokee Nation takes stand


The Cherokee Nation, which has felt co-opted by corporate branding, is out to reclaim its heritage, requesting that Jeep and other automakers retire names of vehicles that borrow from Native American ancestry. Jeep is perhaps one of the best-known car brands, and its Cherokee model has been a part of U.S. driving for decades.


But the keepers of tradition at tribes no longer want to see their sacred names repurposed for corporate sales, according to Automotive News. “The Cherokee Nation said it’s time for corporations such as Jeep and sports franchises to retire the use of Native American names and imagery,” Auto News reports.


Car and Driver was first to report on the request: “I’m sure this comes from a place that is well-intended, but it does not honor us by having our name plastered on the side of a car,” Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, told Car and Driver. “The best way to honor us is to learn about our sovereign government, our role in this country, our history, culture, and language and have meaningful dialogue with federally recognized tribes on cultural appropriateness.”


Jeep had to rethink its marketing in all areas this month, after the company tapped Bruce Springsteen for a Super Bowl commercial. But The Boss was later found to have a recent drunken driving arrest on his record, putting a damper on his big spot.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

15331: BHM 2021—Movéo.

Demand generation agency Movéo celebrates Black History Month by saluting iconic Black advertising figures. Somebody should demand that the White agency hire some Black advertising figures.

15330: Omnicom Optimism And Opportunism.


Advertising Age reported on the latest earnings report from Omnicom, with Pioneer of Diversity John Wren declaring the White holding company “has also ‘doubled its DE&I leads since last summer’ and that all practice leaders at the holding company now have a DE&I leader.” Of course they do. Besides 0.2% growth in PR activities, it appears that DE&I heat shields accounted for the only other uptick at the global enterprise. And the announcement came during Black History Month. Such perfectly opportunistic timing.


Omnicom Sees Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Second Quarter


Holding company reports falloff in worldwide revenue and organic growth but predicts rebound in coming quarter


By Judann Pollack


There’s a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for the agency business—and it could start to be seen in the second quarter.


That’s one big takeaway from Omnicom Group’s earnings today that showed the continuing impact of the pandemic on its business. The company reported a 9.3% falloff in worldwide revenue in the fourth quarter of last year to $3.76 billion, and an 11.9% drop for the full year to $13.2 billion, compared to 2019.


Organic growth for the quarter fell 9.4% in the U.S., the sharpest drop excluding the U.K., which was down 12.4%, and the Middle East and Africa, which plunged 36.8%. For the full year, organic growth slid 10% in the U.S.


But while the first quarter was far from rosy, Omnicom CEO John Wren predicted a second-quarter rebound in a call with analysts: “We fully expect to return to positive organic growth in the second quarter and the balance of the year.”


Hardest hit among Omnicom’s disciplines for organic growth in the quarter was consumer experience, which decreased 15.8%, attributed by the company to a dearth of events due to COVID. Events, said Phil Angelastro, exec VP and chief financial officer, account for 3.5% to 4% of Omnicom’s total business.


Among its other areas of practice, customer relationship management execution and support was down 13.7%; PR, buoyed by the election, was up marginally at 0.2%; while health care—generally an area of growth for rivals—fell 2%. Advertising, which was down 9.7%, clocked in with a better number for the quarter than the full year, when it dropped 12.2%.


Omnicom attributed the health care numbers to a tough comparison to the prior year. For the full year, the holding company’s health care business grew 3.3%.


Media prospects seem positive and improved sequentially over the last three quarters, said Angelastro. “We are optimistic,” he said. “We own more than our fair share of pitches.” Specifically cited in the call was OMG’s recent win of Home Depot’s media business, along with Sanofi’s global media account. 


Wren said that while clients are still committing to shorter time frames for media buys due to the pandemic, Omnicom’s media business should improve.


Among its client sectors, Wren said those in travel and entertainment and oil and gas showed the biggest slowdowns, while food and beverage, pharma and tech were stronger—or, as the company put it, “lower than the prior year but better than the second quarter.”


Angelastro said that organic revenue growth in the quarter, while down, was actually showing an improvement, compared to a 23% plunge in the second quarter and an 11.3% falloff in the third quarter of 2020.


Salary and service costs declined by $163 million in the quarter due to pandemic-induced reductions and government offsets as well as the impact of employees working from home.


Wren said the company has also “doubled its DE&I leads since last summer” and that all practice leaders at the holding company now have a DE&I leader.


Unmentioned in the call was the cyber attack that hit the holding company's Omnicom Media Group last week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

15329: BHM 2021—Target.

Target is Black Beyond Measure by backing Black-owned businesses.

15328: Polling Pancakes, Prejudice & Pearl Milling Company.

Advertising Age reported on a survey that gauged consumer reactions to Aunt Jemima being erased and replaced by Pearl Milling Company. The results cut across demographics, geographics and psychographics. One psycho group, for example, said that because “the name is from a different era, consumers shouldn’t take offense.” Then they enjoyed an Aunt Jemima pancake breakfast, brushed their teeth with Darkie toothpaste and washed their laundry with Soapine detergent.


Aunt Jemima’s Name Change Gains Wide Awareness But Questionable Impact On Sales, According To New Poll


Ad Age-Harris surveys consumer opinions on the closely watched change to Pearl Milling Company


By E.J. Schultz


PepsiCo has drawn widespread attention by rebranding Aunt Jemima to remove ties to a racial stereotype, but the move is not poised to move the sales needle by a lot either way—at least, not yet.


According to a new Ad Age-Harris poll, 66% of consumers are aware of the name change to Pearl Milling Company, but only 23% said the overhaul would make them more likely to buy from the brand. More consumers, 28%, said the update would make them less likely to buy products from the brand, which markets pancake syrup and mix products. And 43% said it would have no impact on their purchasing decision.


PepsiCo’s Quaker division revealed the new look last week, after spending several months consulting with internal and external advisers while considering a list of 300 potential names. Pearl Milling Company is a return to the name of the company founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri that introduced self-rising pancake mix in 1889. New packaging is set to appear in June.


The consumer reception to the overhaul will be closely watched inside the food industry as multiple brands redo their branding to erase racist imagery. Cream of Wheat is removing the Black man from its packaging, for instance, and Mrs. Butterworth’s is in the midst of its own review.


According to the poll, consumers are evenly divided on the need for brands with controversial names to rebrand: 51% stated they should not, while 49% said they should. But the demand for change is higher among people of color, with 63% of Black consumers and 61% of Hispanic consumers saying these products should be rebranded, while only 42% of white consumers supported change.


There are also big differences among age groups: Almost two-thirds of consumers aged 18-34 said brands with controversial names should be rebranded compared with just 35% for the 55-64 age group.


“While consumers overall are divided on the rebranding of controversial brand names, it is clear that people of color largely support these changes. A name change may not do much to drive sales, as we can see in the data, but it accomplishes an important goal: it signals to the consumers most impacted by racial stereotyping that they are heard and respected,” says Will Johnson, CEO of The Harris Poll.


The poll was conducted online in the U.S. from Feb. 12-15 among 1,082 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. Below, some more findings:


• Of those who support name changes for controversial brands, the majority, 52%, said they should do so because “brands should care about respecting people from different backgrounds and lifestyles.”


• But only 35% of those supporting the name changes said they would respect the brand more.


• Of those who don’t support name changes, 58% stated that it is because the brands are already well known as they are.


• Of these people, 45% said that because “the name is from a different era, consumers shouldn’t take offense.”

Monday, February 22, 2021

15327: BHM 2021—Bloomingdale’s.


For Black History Month, Bloomingdale’s displays an off-the-rack diversity donation drive.


Sunday, February 21, 2021

15326: BHM 2021—USPS.


The U.S. Postal Service issued the 44th Black Heritage Stamp, celebrating August Wilson. Given the service delays, use the stamp and expect your letter to be delivered by August…

Saturday, February 20, 2021

15325: BHM 2021—Macy’s.


Macy’s says: Black history. Black brilliance. Desperately seeking to stay in the black.

Friday, February 19, 2021

15324: Ted’s Excellent Adventure.


15323: BHM 2021—UBS.


Not sure this UBS advertisement is a BHM promotion. Not sure what UBS is trying to communicate. Pretty sure it’s BS.

15322: Procter & Gamble Rethinks Its Relationship With The Bachelor.


Advertising Age reported Procter & Gamble is backpedaling after “The Bachelor” TV Host Chris Harrison—who was serving as a Crest spokesman—sparked culturally clueless controversy involving racially-insensitive commentary. To compound the dark comedy, Harrison was set to promote Crest Whitening Emulsions. Don’t mean to overreact, but add Tide featuring a Jason Alexander hoodie and it all underscores the mega-advertiser’s ignorance. Somebody tell P&G that the talk and the look doesn’t negate the hypocrisy.


Crest Reconsiders Using ‘Bachelor’ TV Host In Whitening Emulsions Ad Following Controversy


By Jack Neff


Procter & Gamble Co. is reconsidering using Chris Harrison of “The Bachelor” in upcoming advertising for Crest Whitening Emulsions given his controversy-fueled hiatus from the show.


Harrison last week said he’s temporarily stepping back from his role on the ABC reality series after blowback against his comments about contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who was reportedly photographed at an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity event in 2018.


“We are aware of the developments around Chris Harrison and his role as host of The Bachelor,” a spokeswoman for P&G said in a statement. “We are in the process of gathering more information about these circumstances to determine our next steps. We are deeply disappointed in his comments, which do not reflect our values.”


Speaking to former Bachelor contestant turned “Extra” correspondent Rachel Lindsay last week, Harrison said Kirkconnell’s pictures were “from a long time ago” and decried the “cancel culture” backlash.


“I’m not defending Rachael,” Harrison said on “Extra.” “I just know that, I don’t know, 50 million people did that in 2018. That was a type of party that a lot of people went to. And again, I’m not defending it. I didn’t go to it.”


Harrison then apologized on Wednesday. And on Saturday he posted on Instagram that he’s stepping aside from his Bachelor role, saying he was “deeply remorseful” for the pain and damage his “ignorance” caused. “To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry. My words were harmful.”


The reality show went on without him Monday. But it’s unclear whether a Crest ad featuring him, which was created as a follow up for an ad Harrison did last year and set to air next month, will go forward. The Bachelor tie-in is part of a broader campaign behind Whitening Emulsions that launched earlier this month, featuring and partially developed by several influencers.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

15321: BHM 2021—Ford Motor Company.


Ford Motor Company is hauling a full load of BHM events and activities.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

15320: BHM 2021—JPMorgan Chase & Co.


Okay, this might not be a BHM initiative, but Advancing Black Pathways features a lot of the characteristics of such promotions—including celebrity spokespeople of color.

15319: Being Culturally Clueless On Purpose.


Adweek reported White advertising agency Oberland published a 2021 Purpose Forecast designed to inspire brands to do the right thing—addressing systemic racism, environmental destruction and misinformation. Okay, but a peek at the agency personnel shows they need to review the guide too… the forecast looks like heavy bullshit with a chance of hypocrisy.


Oberland Aims to Inspire Brands to Do the Right Thing With Its Purpose Guide


‘2021 is going to be the year of accountability’


By Kyle O’Brien


Many companies still don’t know the ins and outs of being purpose-driven. To guide them, full-service agency Oberland has mapped out a plan with its 2021 Purpose Forecast.


Oberland has been purpose-driven since its inception in 2014, but this is the first year they decided to put out a definitive guide that lays out how others can benefit from the practice. After an intense year full of Black Lives Matter protests, a seemingly never-ending global pandemic, climate disasters and a turbulent election, the team at Oberland decided to take action.


“This is really the culmination of what we call: ‘There is no normal, only new,’” Davianne Harris, partner and head of strategy at Oberland, told Adweek.


“2021 is going to be the year of accountability,” added Drew Train, co-founder and president of Oberland. “This is the year where people realize the system was broken. Brands are a part of the system, and the whole system and its inequities need to be fixed, and brands can’t avoid that conversation anymore.”


The agency did a series of webinars, conducted research and observed what brands were doing right and wrong when addressing purpose to come up with its forecast. It divided it into the following categories: racial and systematic inequities, climate action and sustainability, and democracy and truth.


The forecast cites facts such as 67% of Americans supported Black Lives Matter during 2020, up from 43% in 2016, and 42% of people are doing something to combat systemic racism for the first time.


The report also highlights companies doing the right thing, like Netflix adding a Black Lives Matter genre and Chipotle launching virtual hangout sessions to keep people social while isolating.


But what may help brands the most are the do’s and don’ts offered at the end of each section. For racial inequities, for instance, it reads: “Do highlight and center the Black experience,” while democracy and truth says: “Do not blur the line between truth and misinformation.”


While some of these tips may seem obvious for those companies already doing the right thing, Train said many companies don’t know how to hold commitments to causes.


Oberland saw many brands taking stances during the Black Lives Matter protests, for instance, but not all stuck with their commitments. To truly make purpose stick, Train said companies need to operationalize their commitments and take them out of the marketing department.


“Ultimately, being a more inclusive organization is not actually the problem of your CMO. Making a company more inclusive, friendlier to people of color, [is the] the COO’s job,” Train said. He noted that the responsibility needs to be shared between the COO, CMO and, ultimately, by the CEO. If the CEO believes it, then everyone lines up.


Purpose doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition, however. Train suggests that to operationalize purpose, he would do it one thing at a time.


In the long run, Harris said, it’s not about getting it perfect but being frank and acknowledging that there is work that needs to be done on whatever purpose a brand chooses. “It’s not about knowing all the right things to do. But staying silent, that’s never the right answer,” she continued.


Oberland hopes its guide will prompt people to look at the role they play in a broken system and then ask themselves what they’re going to do to fix it.


“The bigger the brand is, the bigger part of the system they are, and the bigger their responsibility to be part of the solution,” said Train.