Saturday, December 31, 2022

16084: The Year In Review—DE&I Advertising Remains An Oxymoronic, Paradoxical Enigma.


The diversity advertising depicted here—published in the Summer 2022 edition of Black EOE Journal—perfectly reflects the current state of affairs for DE&I in Adland.


In the past year—as well as the past 70+ years—DE&I has received infinitesimal interest, insufficient investment, insignificant intent, inferior innovation, and inadequate initiative.


The industry that awards itself for breakthrough thinking addresses DE&I with clichéd and contrived cookie-cutter executions that have historically proven ineffective.


The next original idea for DE&I will be the first. It didn’t appear in 2022—and don’t expect its arrival in the years ahead.


Friday, December 30, 2022

16083: Examining The Latest Widow-Maker Position In Adland.


Is it time to recognize that—at least in Adland—Chief Diversity Officer is a “widow-maker” position as defined by management guru Peter F. Drucker?


Read the excerpt above from The Daily Drucker and consider its relevance to the evolving scenario in Adland.


In recent years, the advertising industry has recruited lots of Chief Diversity Officers, awarding lots of lofty titles, publishing lots of self-promotional hype, and delegating lots of responsibilities in the process. Yet, somewhat ironically, agencies have failed to retain the executives. Even Madison Avenue’s usual suspects have bailed out for other industries or unrelated pursuits.


The result is a performative, box-checking revolving door. Hiring seasoned DE&I directors with zero experience in the ad field poses challenges too.


Oh, and no one is publicizing measured progress in the areas of diversity, equity, and/or inclusion.


Drucker recommended, “The only thing to do is to abolish the widow-maker position and restructure the work.”


Abolishing the pseudo abolitionists would create quite a quandary. Restructuring the work by tapping internal ERGs or resident minorities for “volunteers” has also shown to be an ineffective tactic.


At the same time, self-regulation has exclusively satisfied the self-interests of the ruling majority.


In Adland, true diversity defending has always been a widow-maker endeavor—and often a career killer. Maintaining systemic racism, on the other hand, is a kingmaker maneuver.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

16082: Pouring Gas On Gaslighting In Adland.


Digiday published a list titled, “How The World Of Work Changed In 2022—By The Numbers,” which included the following point that was highlighted in an earlier report:


Searches for “gaslighting” spiked by 1,740% on Merriam-Webster’s website in 2022. It’s the latest workplace bullying tactic that is far different from when someone overtly yells at someone in the office. It’s a form of emotional, often more subtle, abuse that can occur between co-workers, both on the same level or from their bosses. While this tactic might have been around for longer than we realize, now experts can give tips for how to recognize and respond to gaslighting in the workplace.


In Adland, it could be argued that gaslighting is regularly executed by executives at White advertising agencies when discussing all DE&I topics. The tactic covers a range of uses, such as:


• Publicly expressing dedication to DE&I—despite having zero proof of progress


• Pressuring resident minorities in ERGs to ‘volunteer’ for a variety of projects like cultural competence consulting, recruitment rackets, and serving as tokens during client meetings


• Presenting percentages on increased diversity vendors spending—while not providing specific figures that might reveal the lioness’ share goes to White-women-owned enterprises with blood ties to White advertising agencies and holding companies


• Presenting percentages on increased diversity hiring—while not providing specific figures that might reveal the spikes are mostly due to adding White women, foreigners of color, and Human Heat Shields


• Human Heat Shields—aka Chief Diversity Officers—drafting ‘thought leadership’ perspectives, gushing about the latest PR stunts fabricated by their White bosses


The truth is, when it comes to DE&I, White advertising executives hit the gas and have a gas with gaslighting.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

16081: Ad Age Presents Marketers’ Biggest Bullshit Heading Into 2023.


Advertising Age published ‘Marketers’ Biggest Concerns Heading Into 2023’—and leading the list were the economy, growth, marketing spending, and sustainability. Toward the end of things to care about—right above data and metrics—was DE&I:


Big marketers at least are still concerned at least publicly about diversity, equity and inclusion. But one analysis says otherwise. At least when it comes to casting, the percentage of people of color and women in video ads declined in 2022, reversing two years of gains, according to research by Extreme Reach.


But among big marketers, that isn’t the case. [Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard] and Verizon Senior VP of Marketing Tony Wells made major points about the importance of DE&I in marketing in speeches at the ANA Masters of Marketing conference in October. And the Cannes Lions—again at the behest of the ANA’s CMO Growth Council members—is requiring that award entries from next year forward disclose the ethnic and gender makeup of people involved in the production of ads.


“DE&I will continue to be a big theme for next year,” said [William White], the CMO of Walmart U.S. “For us, it’s about how we make deeper and long-lasting relationships with our associates, our customers and our partners at large. We’re going to spend a minimum 5% of our total budget with Black-owned media and businesses, and that figure will continue to grow.”


Wow, Ad Age barely buys the patronizing, political, and performative bullshit, using qualifiers like ‘at least’ and ‘at least publicly’ to describe marketers’ DE&I dedication.


As always, the grand proclamations from Pritchard, Wells, and White are absolute hypocrisy when screened against their continued loyal partnerships with White advertising agencies.


In 2012, Walmart made bold promises to increase the crumbs spent with multicultural customers. Has anyone measured—or even recorded—the mega-retailer’s progress over the last decade?


Sorry, marketers do not view DE&I among the biggest concerns heading into 2023—and based on their actions, they don’t appear to care about it at all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

16080: Krazy Kwanzaa Koncepts.


To celebrate Kwanzaa, advertisers and advertising agencies considered a variety of concepts—which were ultimately scrapped for lack of interest and lackluster investment. MultiCultClassics gained access to a handful of the ideas presented here.


Monday, December 26, 2022

16079: USPS Celebrates Kwanzaa Forever.


The USPS issued Kwanzaa Forever Stamps designed by Art Director Antonio Alcalá with original artwork from Erin Robinson.


Amazing that the USPS has not yet released Wakanda Forever Stamps.


Sunday, December 25, 2022

16078: More Merry Memories.


I saw Rastus serving Santa Claus…

16077: Blue Christmas Without Aunt Jemima…?


Savor holiday memories with Aunt Jemima, er, Pearl Milling Company Eggnog Pancakes.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

16076: You Da Iman.


British Vogue features Iman on its cover—and includes an interview titled, “‘I’m Done With The Seat At The Table. Let’s Just Dismantle The Whole Table’: Iman On The Need To Reset Fashion’s Agenda.


Nuff said. Go read the interview.

Friday, December 23, 2022

16075: Mattress Firm Tells R/GA To Sleep On The Couch…?


Advertising Age reported that Mattress Firm nixed R/GA as its Creative Agency of Record, demoting the shop to a project-based vendor roughly one week after announcing R/GA had nabbed the AOR role. Talk about strange bedfellows. Um, no further comment.


Mattress Firm Drops R/GA As Creative Agency Of Record


Internal memo cites ‘massive cracks in the scaffolding process’ as a reason for its demotion to a project role


By Brian Bonilla


Mattress Firm is significantly reducing its scope with R/GA only a week after it was reported that it named the Interpublic Group of Cos.’ shop its creative agency of record. The news was shared to R/GA staffers yesterday in an internal memo obtained by Ad Age that was sent by the chief creative officer of its connected communications division, Shannon Washington.


Washington’s memo cites several reasons why Mattress Firm chose to “change directions” in terms of its involvement with the agency, including “some massive cracks in our scaffolding process, communication, and our organizational readiness to move at the speed of retail. This is something that April [Quinn, managing director at R/GA], Brandon [Kaplan, senior VP, executive director, business operations], Tiff [Rolfe, global CCO of R/GA], Sean [Lyons, CEO of R/GA], and I are keenly aware of and are actively addressing so that this never happens again. To be transparent, this includes introducing new ways of working in 2023 and holding the appropriate people accountable.”


Mattress Firm will work with R/GA on a project basis moving forward, according to multiple people close to the situation. “We will also keep some time dedicated to [Mattress Firm] proactive ideas and incremental work as it comes in,” Washington wrote in the memo. “As decisions are made, your talent partners will be in touch.”


“Great ideas are currency,” Washington continued in the memo. “Just as you would never throw away a used dollar, look at great creative work in the same light. With that, as we move forward and work with you all to align on your next steps (projects, client teams, etc.), I don’t want you to look at your incredibly hard work as a waste. Rather, it’s time to spend it on other endeavors and get some work out. I appreciate you all and thank you again for rocking so hard with us this far.”


Mattress Firm wasn’t immediately available for comment. A spokeswoman for R/GA confirmed that Mattress Firm is still a client, but did not comment on the contents of the memo by deadline.


The company had previously worked with Droga5, which created notable campaigns including its most recent “Junk Sleep” brand platform, which focused on the negative effects lack of sleep has on people. Mickey Mericle joined as the company’s chief marketing officer in April. She previously served as the CMO of pool and spa care company Leslie’s.


It appeared from the memo that R/GA has still been working on an execution for the client, given the first sentence of Washington’s memo. “I want to sincerely thank you all for the incredible hustle over the last two weeks and weekends on Mattress Firm, the work is looking really tight, and we started the week on a positive note with great feedback on Friday’s shoot, a tight and fruitful design conversation and our ongoing activation work for Mr. Irrelevant.”


While the character was not defined in the memo, “Mr. Irrelevant” is a nickname given to the last draft pick in each NFL Draft. This year it was given to quarterback Brock Purdy, who is currently starting for the San Francisco 49ers. It’s unconfirmed if the activation is referring to something that involved Purdy.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

16074: Is Nielsen Restructuring Or Falling Apart…?

Advertising Age reported on changes at Nielsen, including the departure of five top executives and a reorganization into three units. Look for Byron Allen to split his lawsuit three ways—or triple the amount of money he’s seeking to collect.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

16073: A Half-Hearted Effort To Address Inequities…?

MediaPost spotlighted how two Big Pharma companies—Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim—allegedly “aim to solve health inequities for Black and Latina women.” Okay, but are the brands doing anything to solve the inequities for Black and Latina women (and men) in Adland—or do they continue to exclusively partner with White advertising agencies?


Fair balance only applies to pharmaceutical advertising, not the people getting paid to produce it.


Take Heart: 2 Pharma Companies Aim To Solve Health Inequities For Black, Latina Women


Pharma companies Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim have expanded an eight-month-old “Hear Your Heart” initiative targeted at Black and Latina women with the launch of Spanish-language materials under the “Cuide Su Corazón” banner. Marketing Daily discussed the program via email with Elena Livshina, U.S. head of cardiovascular portfolio, commercial, Boehringer Ingelheim. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Marketing Daily: What’s the significance of the target market to heart health?


Livshina: One in three Latina women have a form of cardiovascular or heart disease, and yet studies suggest that Latino adults are the racial and ethnic group least likely to visit a doctor’s office. The reasons vary but may include a strong preference for cultural or family remedies, distrust in the medical system, language barriers, lack of time, or even some combination of all. And when it comes to heart failure, due to significant health disparities and inequities, Latina women have even worse health outcomes.


Marketing Daily: Since Latina women were one of the two target audiences for “Hear Your Heart,” why wasn’t the Spanish-language content launched back in April?


Livshina: With a large-scale initiative like this, it was important to take a phased approach, to ensure we can gather learnings from our initial launch to apply to future program expansions.


“Hear Your Heart” and “Cuide Su Corazón” are multiyear efforts, and we plan to continue to keep them fresh with new content, resources and spokespeople.


We saw the success of communicating our messages of hope and resilience through authentic voices. We first brought those messages to life through real stories from Tannie, a woman living with heart failure, and Dr. Alanna Morris, an expert cardiologist.


For “Cuide Su Corazón,” we developed relevant content featuring two Latina spokespeople: Lupe, a woman living with heart failure and Dr. Johanna Contreras, a cardiologist.


Marketing Daily: What elements have been involved in “Hear Your Heart”?


Livshina: “Hear Your Heart” includes traditional media education, partnerships, social media, digital media, video content, expert content, and a content hub at


Marketing Daily: What have been the results of the English-language campaign so far?


Livshina: As a result of our media outreach efforts, a variety of news outlets covered the initiative including, consumer, industry, health and wellness and medical trade outlets.


We’ve also seen strong results from social media campaigns, which raise awareness of health disparities and inequities, encourage our audience to prioritize their health, and drive to the content hub. To date we have seen 1.4M+ video views and 45K+ English-language program content hub visits.


We’ve also launched paid editorial integrations including custom articles, social content, digital banners and pre-roll video featuring program spokespeople. To date, we’ve seen 8.8M+ impressions across social content, digital banners and pre-roll, and 2.5M+ impressions on our articles.


Marketing Daily: How do the Spanish-language materials differ from the English-language content (besides the language, of course)?


Livshina: Given health inequities and disparities, we wanted to bring the experiences of Latina women living with heart failure to the forefront of “Cuide Su Corazón.”


Content was developed based on extensive research, as well as the real-world insights and opinions of Dr. Contreras and Lupe, to ensure our audience sees some of their own personal journeys in these stories and are empowered to better manage their condition.


Unique, tailored content to help Latina women better manage their care, found at, includes videos featuring Lupe and Dr. Contreras and resources for Latina women living with heart failure.


Given the success of our social media campaigns and editorial integrations for “Hear Your Heart,” we’ve employed similar strategies for “Cuide Su Corazón,” launching social campaigns and paid editorial integrations with targeted media.


In 2023, we plan to launch additional Spanish-language materials for both care partners and healthcare professionals.