Wednesday, March 31, 2021

15374: General Motors—In General—Is A Culturally Clueless Carmaker.


Advertising Age spotlighted Black media moguls targeting General Motors CEO Mary Barra for refusing to meet and discuss increased advertising spending for Black-owned media. The group ran a full-page ad (depicted above) in the Detroit Free Press, demanding that Barra powwow with them or immediately resign from her position with the automaker. Hey, it’s not the first time GM has displayed deceptive diversity dodging. And it’s a safe bet that Mark LaNeve is probably hiding under his Ford Bronco right now.


GM CEO Called Out By Black-Owned Media Execs In Full-Page Ad


These leaders, including Byron Allen and Ice Cube, say Mary Barra has refused multiple requests to meet with Black-owned media


By Jeanine Poggi


General Motors CEO Mary Barra is being called out by leaders of Black-owned media companies for refusing to meet with them.


The group of media owners—which include Byron Allen, founder and CEO of Allen Media Group; rapper and actor Ice Cube, who owns the pro-basketball league Big3, production company Cubevision and Contract with Black America; Roland Martin, CEO of Nu Vision Media; and Junior Bridgeman, owner of Ebony Media—took out a full-page ad in the Detroit Free Press on Sunday accusing Barra of ignoring multiple requests to meet, and the automaker of allocating less than 0.5% of their ad spend to Black-owned media.


“Mary, you have asked us to meet with your Chief Marketing Officer, Deborah Wahl. We have absolutely no interest in that because when Deborah was Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s, in our opinion, Black Owned Media was, once again, severely neglected, minimized and discriminated against. To be clear, Black Owned Media and not minority owned media, because minority includes white women and large corporations like General Motors can hide behind and tout their minority records while continuing not to do business with Black Owned Media companies,” the group writes in the ad. The ad is also expected to run later this week in the Wall Street Journal.


They are requesting a one-hour Zoom meeting with Barra and several key board members.


“Mary, we and others firmly believe that if you continue to hold the position that Black Owned Media doesn’t deserve meaningful economic inclusion and we are not worth meeting with, then you should resign, effective immediately,” the ad continues.


The seven media owners that signed the letter also include, Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr., president and CEO of Black Enterprise; Don Jackson, founder, chairman and CEO, Central City Productions; and Todd F. Brown, founder, Urban Edge Networks.


In response to the ad, a General Motors spokesman said: “General Motors aspires to be the most inclusive company in the world, and that includes how we allocate media spend. We have increased our planned spending with both diverse-owned and diverse-dedicated media across our family of brands. Additionally, we continue to develop and advance initiatives like the Chevrolet ‘Real Talk, Real Change’ platform and support projects like ‘More than That with Gia Peppers,’ where we’ve partnered with the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters on a content series for Black American listeners produced and distributed by underrepresented businesses. In this same spirit, we will continue to have an open dialogue with Mr. Allen.”


In regards to the claim that 0.5% of GM’s ad spend goes to Black-owned media, the spokesman said that figure is “not accurate,” and added that 80% of the company’s diverse-owned media spend is spent with Black-owned media outlets. The spokesman declined to provide details on how much the company spends on diverse-owned media.


GM also called out other actions it has taken in an effort to be more inclusive, citing its membership to Free the Work, where it requires its agencies to include underrepresented directors and creators for all of its ad productions, and NNPA, a trade association of more than 200 African American-owned community newspapers.


GM also said it is committed to doubling its marketing investment with diverse media, and is on track to deliver this promise in 2021. The spokesman points to Chevrolet’s relationship with Historically Black Colleges and Universities as a sponsor of the Driving the Unexpected program and a partnership with the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters for an urban radio initiative.


GM isn’t the only company Allen and the group are pressuring to see a change. During an interview last week, Allen said that he is calling on major marketers and their agencies to allocate at least 2% of their media spend to Black-owned media or face legal action. He cited Coca-Cola, among others, as brands that have historically not allocated meaningful dollars to Black-owned media.


“Diversity, equity and inclusion are core values at The Coca-Cola Company. These values extend into how we do business with our partners and ensuring we work with minority-owned businesses, including Black-owned media,” a company spokesperson said in a statement: “For years, The Coca-Cola Company has bought—and still buys—advertising space with Black-owned media businesses. We’re proud to partner with these companies and always look to increase these types of partnerships, where the media platform aligns with our business criteria and rationale necessary for purchasing advertising space...Last year, we engaged Entertainment Studios to talk about the potential of working together in the future. We are open to continuing our dialogue with Mr. Allen.”

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

15373: Black Girls Rules.


Advertising Age reported on a new guide—created by SeeHer and OWN—designed to school creative teams on how to depict Black women in advertising and avoid cultural cluelessness. Guess this means the average White advertising agency’s resident minorities—including janitorial maintenance and mailroom attendants—won’t be tapped to review multicultural work. The guide should be titled: Delegating Diversity Diva Digest. Or The Dawn Chambers Field Guide. Its publication also begs the question, “What the hell took so long?” After all, SeeHer has been around and for about five years. Perhaps SeeHer sees White women first…? Somebody better send a copy to Stan Richards pronto.


How Brands Should Think About Representation Of Black Women In Creative


OWN and SeeHer debut new guide to help frame authentic images and storylines


By Jeanine Poggi


Does your creative include a Black woman in a meaningful role? Are you depicting an intersectional view of Black female characters? Does the story engender a versatile view of beauty for Black women? These are the questions brands should be asking themselves as they develop campaigns to ensure accurate portrayals of Black women in their messaging, according to a new guide developed by SeeHer and OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.


“Brands spend billions of dollars to influence thought and behavior, and imagine the power of those brands dedicating a portion of their spend to reflect Black stories and people,” says Sheereen Russell, group VP, ad sales, client partnerships and inclusive engagement, OWN. “It’s more than selling a product or service, it’s about creating a meaningful connection and imprint to shift the cultural narrative.”


As the ad world works to fix years of systemic racism, brands are looking to be more diverse in who they feature in their marketing campaigns and be more inclusive in their storytelling. As they do this, there are certainly questions and blind spots surfacing about the depiction of Black people in ads.


The guide is designed to provide creative teams questions and insights to help empower the creative community (advertisers and those in entertainment) to become more aware of potential blind spots and unconscious biases.


Other such questions include: Do the Black female characters have any positive and healthy relationships with key people in their lives? Does the story include at least two named Black female characters who have a conversation about something other than their race? Is there a range in body types, skin tones, hair textures and natural hairstyles among the Black female characters?


It also highlights questions to help avoid potential pitfalls: Is the primary Black female character a sidekick or best friend to a white protagonist, and accordingly lacks a storyline of her own? Does the incorporation of a social justice theme make Black female audience members feel burdened more than seen? Does the story overtly or subtly perpetuate colorism—prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone?


“Gone are the days of one size fits all,” says Esi Eggleston Bracey, exec VP and chief operating officer, North American beauty and personal care, Unilever. “What everyone wants in the world is to feel seen, they want products and brands to serve their needs, and choose brands and products with transparency, without being held to a narrow standard of ‘normal.’ Too much of us haven’t been seen.”

Monday, March 29, 2021

15372: Campaign For Headache Medicine Is A Head-Scratcher.


This Nigerian campaign for Algafen underscores that pharmaceutical advertising sucks worldwide.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

15371: Clio, Gimme A Break!


Clio claims, “We Were On A Break.” And now, the awards show is likely broke—so they’re calling for entries to generate cash.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

15370: Will Work For Cheaper Food…


For this Nigerian advertising campaign addressing gender pay gaps, the agency credits list male and female teammates. It would be interesting to learn if a gender pay gap exists between the creative coworkers.

Friday, March 26, 2021

15369: How Many Brazilians Does It Take To Create A Shitty Campaign?


This Honda campaign from Brazil credits the creative team as including two copywriters, two art directors and a creative director. Really? In the US, it could’ve been handled by a single portfolio school student.


Thursday, March 25, 2021

15368: Ancient Asian Secret Poo…?


Given that this Secret Poo campaign was created in Colombia—presumably for a Colombian audience—could the imagery be deemed as culturally clueless and anti-Asian? Regardless, the advertisements are shit.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

15367: Brazilian Creatives Don’t Know When To Stop…

Given all the attention over sexual harassment in the advertising industry, perhaps somebody should have hit the brakes on this Ford campaign from Brazil.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

15366: New Poll Shows What Every Poll Since 1950 Has Shown—Adland Is Exclusive, Racist Industry.


Advertising Age reported on a new poll that showed marketing employees—which included advertising, communications and design workers—expressed “the most severe struggles with discrimination, unequal pay, lack of access to opportunities and disregard for their well being.” Other gripes included employers not actively recruiting for diversity, Black and Asian women feeling invisible and companies failing to make good on promises of commitment to DE&I. The most outrageous part? That anyone actually believed there was a need to poll people to collect these complaints—which have been common knowledge since, well, the beginning of the ad industry. Do we really need to collect the same points every decade? More importantly, why continue to tolerate the “leaders” who consistently shrug and confess, “We’ve got to do better…”—when will these White people be held accountable?


Marketing Jobs Report Highest Level Of Worker Discrimination, According To New Poll


By Mike Juang


Marketing employees reported the most severe struggles with discrimination, unequal pay, lack of access to opportunities and disregard for their well being, according to a recent survey from The Harris Poll and worker diversity group Hue.


Marketers, which in the study includes advertising, communications and design, were two-times as likely than those in other job functions, to report that their employer has not addressed recruitment of BIPOC, increasing BIPOC visibility or provided equal access to opportunities for BIPOC. And only one in seven marketers said employers were financially invested in promoting racially diverse employees.


The poll also found that Black women and Asian women were two groups most likely to not feel seen at work for who they are; 67% of Black men and 46% of Asian women said their employer did not address opportunities to advance their careers, compared with 33% of Black women, 28% of white women and 22% of white men.


At the same time, marketers were more likely to say that in the past six months their employers had “made a commitment to building a more equitable environment for employees of color” and “hired someone to lead diversity and inclusion,” showing the words of the marketing world may not be matching their actions. The poll, which was conducted in 2020, sampled 2,250 U.S. adults.


Advertisers and agencies have spent the past year pledging commitments to fighting racial injustice and inequality. (Ad Age’s longstanding blog tracks many of these developments.) Some in advertising are calling out what they see as commitments that lack follow-through, however. Earlier this month, media mogul Byron Allen called on major brands to fulfill their pledges to support Black and minority-owned media companies by threatening possible legal action against brands and agencies.


And this week the ad world responded to the hate crimes against the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities following shootings in Asian massage parlors in Atlanta that left eight people dead.

Monday, March 22, 2021

15365: Royal Family May Delegate Diversity.


CNN reported Buckingham Palace is considering hiring a Chief Diversity Officer. Of course they are. Expect Oprah Winfrey to recommend candidates. And Sanford Moore will crown the executive a Royal Pimp.


Royals say they may consider appointing diversity chief


By Schams Elwazer, CNN


London (CNN) Buckingham Palace says it may consider appointing someone to spearhead its efforts around diversity.


The news comes weeks after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, told Oprah Winfrey that a member of the royal family -- not the Queen or Prince Philip -- raised the issue of how dark their unborn child’s [skin] would be.


“Diversity is an issue which has been taken very seriously across the Royal Households,” a royal source said Sunday. “We have the policies, the procedures and programmes in place but we haven’t seen the progress we would like in terms of representation and more needs to be done, we can always improve.”


“The work to do this has been underway for some time now and comes with the full support of the family,” the source added.


Regarding reports circulating in multiple UK media that the royal family may appoint a “diversity chief,” the source said it was “something that has to be considered,” but it was “too early” to announce any “firm plans.”


“Lots of measures are being considered. Certainly the idea of someone to spearhead this work and look at diversity / inclusion across the three households is something that has to be considered. It is too early however for any firm plans to be announced. We are listening and learning, to get this right,” the source added.


Harry and Meghan also spoke of racist coverage in the British press during their bombshell interview, claims that led to the resignation of the head of the UK Society of Editors after he refused to acknowledge the problem.


Last week, Prince William told reporters that the royals were “very much not a racist family,” days after the Palace said that — “while recollections vary” — the serious claims were going to be addressed by the family privately. The Palace has however hired an external law firm to investigate claims that Meghan bullied royal staff.

15364: The Martin Agency Poops Out Purpose Puffery.


The Martin Agency announced hiring a former Adweek editor—Doug Zanger—to serve as its Director of Brand Purpose Communications. Ironically, the associated self-promotional hype press release doesn’t provide a clear communication of Zanger’s professional purpose. Rather, the statement includes: “This new, evolving role at Martin seeks to tap deeply into DEI, sustainability, climate justice, innovation and other purpose-led opportunities that includes operationalizing custom programs and partnerships for the agency.” Sounds like the White advertising agency will be promoting its divertsity and faux do-gooder spirit to woo potential clients—as well as create heat shields for new business competitions that require pitch participants to present their DEI credentials. Maybe The Martin Agency should consider actually executing diversity and being purposeful versus typing about it.


Adweek Editor Joins Martin Agency’s Cultural Impact Lab


“When Martin says this agency is out to fight invisibility, we’re not here to make small moves—we want purpose-filled creativity to flourish,” shares SVP + Managing Director of Martin’s Cultural Impact Lab, Jaclyn Ruelle. “I know Doug Zanger can help us rise to the level of our ambitions with journalistic rigor and tenacity.”


Zanger will report directly to Ruelle as Martin’s Director of Brand Purpose Communications. His start date at the agency is March 16.


“Martin has a legacy—and with Kristen Cavallo’s energy and leadership—there’s serious moxie and momentum. Top-to-bottom, this is an agency and team that values talent and understands its role in going beyond solving its clients’ business problems,” says Zanger. “I look forward to building upon the agency’s strong POV while continuing to elevate more voices and find new ways to put societal-shifting purpose at the forefront of agency-led and client-led initiatives.”


Operating as a content bridge between internal teams and brand marketing leaders, Zanger is responsible for bringing forward meaningful insights and stories to the marketing industry and beyond. This new, evolving role at Martin seeks to tap deeply into DEI, sustainability, climate justice, innovation and other purpose-led opportunities that includes operationalizing custom programs and partnerships for the agency.


Zanger joins Martin by way of Adweek, where he’s served as agencies editor for nearly three years while also taking on advisory board and instructor duties at the University of Oregon Master’s in Advertising and Brand Responsibility program. Based in Portland, Zanger’s reporting focuses on the creative intersection of brands, agencies, talent and more.


He’s interviewed numerous pop culture personalities, as well as marketing and brand luminaries: Aloe Blacc, Colleen DeCourcy, Jeff Goldblum, Seu Jorge, Mira Kaddoura, CJ McCollum, Marc Pritchard, Megan Rapinoe, Martin Sorrell, Dan Wieden and notable NFL legends—to name a few. Additionally, Zanger’s coverage prioritized DEI, sustainability, climate and other critical purpose-related topics.


“The fact that one of the leading agencies in the world understands the power of true actionable purpose holds such promise for the future,” says University of Oregon Carolyn Chambers Distinguished Professor of Advertising, Deborah Morrison, PhD. “That’s leadership, courage, dedication to social good—and change agentry.”


“Placing Doug Zanger front and center in connecting sharpened purpose to multiple audiences makes sense,” adds Morrison. “His voice has always been focused on how we make sense of the world and do good within it.”


According to Zanger, a 15-year tenure in radio was a catalyst for his commitment to DEI efforts. “I was very much a beneficiary of being part of a diverse team, with Ebro Darden [Hot 97 and Beats 1] giving me my first legitimate gig as his morning show producer in Portland over 20 years ago.”


Zanger was the London International Awards radio jury president in 2008 and 2009 and went on to win a coveted Mercury Radio Award. International trade group, Women In Marketing, named Zanger “Highly Commended” as its 2017 Journalist of the Year honoree. In addition to being a Portland Advertising Federation Rosey Award recipient, Zanger sits on the board of ThinkNW, a regional marketing advocacy group focused on the Pacific Northwest. Before, Zanger was Americas Editor at The Drum. He spent eight years at Stillwell Partners leading social and content marketing for the Advertising Week events in New York and London.


Zanger’s announcement comes on the heels of Martin winning Campaign US’ Corp Comms Team of the Year.


“Living within the Cultural Impact Lab, our Brand Comms team set out to make the Martin brand its own best case study in 2020,” shares Ruelle. “We’ll continue to do that by adding relentless forces for good to our roster to cultivate the most beloved and talked-about brands in business.”

Sunday, March 21, 2021

15363: CSI—Egypt.


This Egyptian plastic-straws-kill-wildlife campaign is a creative CSI: crime scene idiocy.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

15362: Advertising Age Best Places To Work Seems Out Of Place.

Advertising Age continues to hype its Best Places To Work awards program, despite a past year where most places told employees to work from home. Wonder how many White advertising agencies bumped their diversity figures by counting the family members of minority employees working remotely. And it’s only a matter of time before Ad Age tries to generate more revenue by introducing Best Places To Work Remotely awards.