Friday, July 30, 2021

15498: JWT Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Rules For Divertsity.


Campaign published a view from an employment lawyer blubbering about the JWT sex discrimination lawsuit and its impact on diversity in Adland. Actually, the attorney only focused on gender equality, adding a minor nod for LGBTQI+ equality. In other words, diversity is all about White people.


A view from Amanda Lennon


A lawyer’s view on JWT sex discrimination case: what’s next for diversity?


An employment lawyer explains why Chas Bayfield and Dave Jenner won their JWT sex discrimination case, and where we go next on diversity.


When our discrimination laws were introduced, legislators were unlikely to have envisaged them being used by white, middle-aged, straight men. And yet that is what has happened in the landmark sex discrimination case brought by two former employees of advertising agency J Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson).


In 2018, JWT had the worst gender pay gap in the industry at 44.7%, and a new creative director at the shop, Jo Wallace, made comments, in a joint presentation with her then boss, Lucas Peon, that JWT’s reputation as lacking in diversity had to be “obliterated”.


Chas Bayfield and Dave Jenner made a complaint to HR about the presentation being discriminatory, claiming that in doing so they were making a protected disclosure (whistleblowing) under the Employment Rights Act 1996. Within a week of the complaints being made, redundancies were announced and some of those who made complaints lost their jobs.


Employment Tribunal claim


Bayfield and Jenner brought Employment Tribunal claims against JWT arguing that the main reason they were dismissed was because they had made a protected disclosure. They also brought alternative claims that, if this argument failed, JWT discriminated against them due to their sex, race, sexual orientation and/or age, and/or victimised them for making a protected disclosure (all covered by the Equality Act 2010).


They also claimed against their line manager, Peon, then executive creative director at JWT, and JWT’s HR director, Emma Hoyle (to whom they had originally complained about the presentation).


The Tribunal rejected the employees’ claims that they were dismissed for making a protected disclosure and therefore suffered detrimental treatment, and dismissed their claims for race, sexual orientation and age discrimination. However, the claims for sex discrimination and victimisation succeeded. The Tribunal also rejected all claims against Peon and Hoyle.


Much was made in the case about the perception within JWT that the claimants were focused on the “traditional”. In agency terms, this means focused on traditional forms of media (TV, radio and print) as opposed to digital. The Tribunal accepted that this phrase does not mean “old, outdated or out of touch”.


The Tribunal also agreed that JWT’s plan to address its gender pay gap legitimately included schemes to advance women to senior roles. However, some slides in the presentation proved to be JWT’s downfall. One read: “WHITE, BRITISH, PRIVILEGED, STRAIGHT MEN CREATING TRADITIONAL ABOVE THE LINE ADVERTISING” followed by verbal commentary that “One thing we all agree on is that the reputation JWT once earnt: as being full of “White, British, Privileged... etc.. has to be obliterated.”


The Tribunal found that JWT decided to make the claimants redundant two days after an acrimonious meeting with Peon and Hoyle about the claimants’ views on the presentation. Therefore the claimants were pre-selected for redundancy, making the outcome prejudged. As a result, the redundancy consultation was a sham, and the investigation into the grievances they raised wasn’t conducted fairly. The claimants won their victimisation claim on this basis.


They succeeded in their claim that they were dismissed because of their sex, because JWT viewed its senior creative team as male-dominated (a key reason for the gender pay gap issue).


An influencing factor was Peon’s and Hoyle’s anger at the claimants’ perception of the presentation and subsequent complaints. This, coupled with the claimants falling into the profile JWT wanted to change, meant that they were dismissed due to their gender and, therefore, won their sex discrimination claims.


Promoting diversity


Despite diversity being proved to drive innovation and better decision-making, the advertising industry has a long way to go. JWT was not alone in needing to improve its diversity, particularly at leadership level. Women comprise just 17% of creative directors and representation of other groups is also low. JWT was right to promote change, but this case shows how hard it can be without alienating some existing employees.


It is crucial that HR has a seat – and a strong voice – at board level, which helps ensure that diversity strategies are implemented sensitively. However, this case demonstrates that it is equally important for all complaints to be given due consideration and respect. Agencies should approach diversity by bringing everyone on the journey.


Lastly, a perspective on the treatment Wallace has suffered. She has been subjected to severe internet trolling and received death threats. Yet she co-wrote the presentation with Peon (who has had comparatively little media coverage), and the Tribunal accepted the presentation’s content was appropriate.


Wallace was neither involved in the decision to dismiss the claimant nor as a witness in the Tribunal case. However, she has been singled out for criticism and some tabloid coverage has made much of the fact that she is gay.


That Wallace is open about this to encourage others should be embraced and respected. It is extremely alarming that she should be scapegoated for the failings of others outside her control.


Amanda Lennon is an experienced HR director and employment partner with city law firm Spencer West.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

15497: The Penn Is Mightier Than, Well, Nothing.

On the meh merger of MDC Partners and the Stagwell Group, MDC Partners CEO Mark Penn said, “We expect our growth to be principally organic because 40 percent of our services will be high-growth digital. That supplants the old model, of 90 percent traditional advertising at MDC. By fundamentally changing the mix, we’re going to change the growth pattern and go after much stronger organic growth and reach up for bigger client relationships.”


Penn’s references to 40 percent and 90 percent add up to over 100 percent bullshit. His motivational mumbo-jumbo will undoubtedly inspire the “old model” shops in the new nuthouse network to accelerate their efforts to bail out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

15496: Don’t Worry, Be Unhappy.


Not sure what the hell this campaign is trying to communicate—and not too happy to admit it.


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

15495: MDC Partners + Stagwell Group—A Tale Of Two Shitties.


Advertising Age reported MDC Partners and Stagwell Group are finally merging. So key White advertising agencies will try to buy their way out of a bigger pile of shit.


MDC And Stagwell Will Finally Tie The Knot


Combined company will have worldwide revenue of $2.1 billion


By Brian Bonilla


The long-awaited merger between MDC Partners and Stagwell has finally been approved following a special shareholders meeting held today. The combined company will be renamed Stagwell and will be traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange.


According to the Ad Age Datacenter’s Agency Report 2021, MDC Partners had 2020 worldwide revenue of $1.2 billion; The Stagwell Group had worldwide revenue of $888 million. The combined company would have notched 2020 worldwide revenue of $2.1 billion, which means that even combined with Stagwell, MDC maintains its 14th place ranking, just behind Cheil. The company currently anticipates that the transaction will be completed on or around August 2 this year.


Stagwell and MDC first announced the merger last December in a deal negotiated with the MDC board’s special committee. However, the meeting, which was initially scheduled for July 22, was changed after the holding companies restructured the terms of the deal following hesitance from some shareholders. The most boisterous opposition came in June from one of MDC’s largest shareholders, Indaba Capital Management.


“We are not able to sit by as Stagwell tries to secure what we view as a sweetheart transaction that deprives us and other MDC shareholders of significant value,” Derek Schrier, Indaba’s managing partner, said in the letter to Mark Penn, CEO of MDC Partners. “Given your apparent influence over various aspects of the proposed combination of MDC and Stagwell, we want to clearly lay out our concerns for you. Unlike MDC’s [board] special committee, you seem to have the ability to address our reservations if Stagwell truly wants to combine with MDC on fair and reasonable terms.”


Stagwell, MDC’s largest shareholder, issued its own statement to Ad Age challenging Indaba’s assertions.


“Indaba continues to demonstrate a lack of analytical rigor, an understanding of the process, or frankly the business combination and its financial and strategic benefits,” Stagwell Partner Jay Leveton said in the statement. “The trading price of MDC’s debt and stock are up significantly because of this transaction."


Under the latest terms of the merger, Stagwell will receive 180 million MDC shares, “a reduction of approximately 36 million common shares from the 216.25 million common shares” mentioned in the original December agreement, according to a statement by MDC Partners. As a result, the existing MDC shareholders (including Stagwell) will now own approximately 31% of the common equity of the combined company.


During an MDC earnings call in March, Penn stated the merger is the centerpiece of the company’s plan to become a top 10 marketing services company with state-of-the-art capabilities in digital and data.


A full tally of the votes for the six proposals included in the meeting will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, no later than four business days from now, Penn said in the meeting. He concluded the meeting with the following statement:


“Let me thank everyone involved, let me thank the shareholders for giving the go-ahead and approval,” Penn said. “[Thank you] for giving MDC a fresh start a new opportunity, combined with Stagwell for growth, a better balance sheet, better scale, and an opportunity to have an incredible mix of creativity and digital service that I think will win in the marketplace.”

Monday, July 26, 2021

15494: Depression Depresses, Hot Off The Presses.


Are You Depressettling…? It’s depressing that someone settled on this lame concept.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

15493: Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Bills…?


The only explanation for Spike Lee to direct this Coin Cloud commercial: He needed the currency.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

15492: Cleveland Creates Cultural Competence…?

The Cleveland Indians are now the Cleveland Guardians. Changing the first syllable means only minor logo adjustments are necessary. Hell, other teams could do likewise, resulting in the Atlanta Braids, Washington Buckskins and Kansas City Griefs.

Friday, July 23, 2021

15491: Mickey D’s McPledge To Minorities…?

Advertising Age reported, “McDonald’s Pledges To Buy More From Diverse-Owned SuppliersThe fast-food giant is dedicating a quarter of its $14 billion annual supply chain spending to firms owned by people underrepresented in business.” The fast-feeder should display the allocations like its menu board. That is, show exactly how much is going to each group, distinguishing racial and ethnic minorities versus White women.

Otherwise, it sounds like McCrumbs.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

15490: We All Scream For Ice Cream—And Scream At Stupid Ad Agencies.

Wunderman Thompson hyped Sensodyne with an ice cream promotion. Combining toothpaste and sweet desserts is as stupid as, well, pairing shitty White advertising agencies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

15489: Exposing A Scam, Once & For All.

A MultiCultClassics visitor presented an in-depth explanation for why the Publicis Media Once & For All Coalition should be renamed Once & For All Crumbs. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

15488: Ad Age’s Regularly Updated Bullshit.

Advertising Age publishes A Regularly Updated Blog Tracking Brands’ Responses To Racial Injustice. The last entry is dated January 13, 2021. Perfect. Nothing on MLK Day or Juneteenth. Absolutely perfect. Pathetic too.

Monday, July 19, 2021

15487: Happy Belated Birthday.


Forgot to acknowledge MultiCultClassics’ 16th year of publishing on March 6. Thanks to all visitors for your support.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

15486: That’s (Not) Entertainment!

The call to entry for Clio Entertainment is anything but entertaining.

Friday, July 16, 2021

15485: Drive Like An Egyptian.


Egypt has a high rate of car accidents. Not convinced this campaign will steer things in the right direction.


Thursday, July 15, 2021

15484: Renouncing Versus Denouncing…


Adweek declared, As Washington Renounces Native American Imagery, Pressure Continues on Remaining Teams.” Maybe the other teams should powwow on what to do.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

15483: Planting Pizza Propaganda.


Advertising Age reported on Little Caesars’ new plant-based pizza—called the Planteroni. Hey, when Papa John’s introduces a competitive offering, they’ll probably name it the Plantation Pizza.


See How Little Caesars Is Plugging Its New Plant-Based ‘Planteroni’ Pizza


The pizza chain partners with Field Roast to launch affordable plant-based pepperoni pizza


By Moyo Adeolu


An order for pizza usually stirs debate on what toppings rightfully belong. Plant-based pepperoni can now be added as another questionable topping.


This week Little Caesars and Field Roast are introducing the “Planteroni Pizza,” in what the two companies are billing as the first plant-based pepperoni pizza sold by a national chain.


For now, the custom pizza can be ordered online and will be available at Little Caesars locations in the following cities and suburbs of Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, San Francisco and the chain’s hometown of Detroit. A large planteroni goes for $8.49, keeping with the chain's affordable reputation.


While this is a “healthy” alternative, Field Roast swears by its authentic, bold pepperoni taste. The launch will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign across digital video, social, influencer and retail channels. One commercial features Bigfoot and other characters speculating if the plant-based pepperoni is actually good. The ad, called “You Better Be-leaf it!” comes from Greenleaf Foods’ agency of record 160over90.


Field Roast is part of leading plant-based protein company Greenleaf Foods. The company positioned the move as bringing plant-based pizza toppings to the masses. “Plant-based eating should be available to everyone and hopefully this partnership will be able to do that. It shouldn’t be for a select few, it should be available to everybody and that’s what I think we have been able to accomplish here,” says Greenleaf Chief Operating Officer Adam Grogan.


Grogan says his team is beginning to see a trend in meat-eaters branching out to more plant-based alternatives, as well as vegans and vegetarians receiving the benefits of the new innovations when it comes to enhancing the taste of plant-based food.


“The campaign is not necessarily speaking to vegans and vegetarians, it’s to anyone that wants to give plant-based pepperoni a try because it hasn’t existed up until now,” he says.


“Planteroni delivers a plant-based version of the delicious flavor of America’s most popular pizza topping, and you need to taste it to believe it,” says Jeff Klein, chief marketing officer at Little Caesars. This product is really going to surprise and delight our customers.”


The move comes as fast-food chains, such as White Castle and Burger King, have experimented with plant-based products including burgers co-created with food companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Not all meat-free products have been a hit, however: Dunkin’ recently scaled back its Beyond Sausage sandwich, cutting it from thousands of its restaurants.


Field Roast sells a variety of meatless products, including sausages in a variety of flavors, burgers, deli slices, appetizers and their signature stadium hot dogs, which can be purchased at participating Whole Foods Markets. Later this year it expects to roll-out plant-based pepperoni toppings for sale at North American grocery stores.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

15482: The Illusion Is Fake. The Ads Probably Are Too.


Leave it to Brazil to hype booze with hallucinatory imagery. 


Sunday, July 11, 2021

15481: Recycling Shitty Ideas.


This Greenpeace campaign from Chile should have been dumped into the recycling bin.


Saturday, July 10, 2021

15480: Shit In A Bottle.


If the advertiser paid for this Canadian campaign, they should be madd.


Friday, July 09, 2021

15479: Once, Twice, Three Times A Heat Shield.


Advertising Age reported Publicis Media fabricated the Once & For All Coalition, connecting industry executives and minority suppliers to dream up long-term solutions to equitable representation in advertising. Of course they did. After all, delegating diversity and erecting heat shields is always easier than actually and actively making progress.


Publicis Media Launches The Once & For All Coalition In Pursuit Of A More ‘Equitable Ad Ecosystem’


The Publicis Groupe-owned company is uniting industry executives and minority suppliers to brainstorm long-term solutions to equitable representation in advertising


By Ethan Jakob Craft


In a bid to remove financial barriers and solve representation inequities in the advertising industry, Publicis Media has announced the creation of the Once & For All Coalition, a cross-section of marketing leaders tasked with creating a more equitable environment for minority suppliers and audiences.


Through what the Publicis Groupe-owned media firm calls a “cross-industry consortium” of agency executives, brand-side marketers and inventory suppliers, the coalition will focus on addressing three core missions: developing minority content and creators, pursuing sustainable infrastructure systems and fostering equitable investment in minority-owned and targeted media.


The coalition—which was launched with an inaugural meeting of more than 120 industry stakeholders—will be open to all Publicis Groupe clients and includes voices from at least two-dozen firms, including major industry groups such as the Association of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing.


“We have spent many years working toward more inclusive investment and supplier diversity, but in order to drive true change we need all industry players working together,” said Lisa Torres, president of Publicis’ Cultural Quotient, adding that the Once & For All Coalition’s long-term goal is to help address “population change and fast-rising majority.”


As a complement to the coalition’s development and continued expansion, Publicis Media has pledged to invest $25 million in diverse content creation in conjunction with its minority- and women-focused APX Content Ventures.


Publicis Media and its client partners will also establish a multiyear commitment to increase investments in diverse media as well as research, measurement and other relevant streams within the space.


“There is a critical challenge in effectively reaching, engaging, and winning the hearts and minds of a highly valuable consumer segment of color and unique identity. We believe this collaborative approach is what is needed to truly deliver collective results, not just today, but for many years to come,” says Talia Raviv, CEO of Publicis Media Exchange.


The coalition, which is set to meet quarterly with data scientists, academics and more in pursuit of its industry-specific goals, will provide a year-end update and progress report in the fourth quarter of this year.