Tuesday, May 31, 2022

15840: Buffalo Thunder For Buffalo Soldiers.


The Washington Post spotlighted the annual Buffalo Thunder ride to salute Buffalo Soldiers. Donate to the cause now.


At Buffalo Thunder ride, reflection on Black history and service


By Luz Lazo


The 8-year-old had waited all week to hear the roar of Buffalo Thunder on Sunday morning, and when hundreds of the motorcycles finally arrived in the nation’s capital, his eyes opened wide.


Karter Hassell had decided earlier in the day that he would wear black and gold, just like the men and women on the bikes. He didn’t know much about them, or the brave soldiers they had come to honor, but he wanted to.


“I’ll learn,” he said, standing beside his 7-year-old sister, Krista, and his grandmother, Helen Hassell, as they watched the riders pull up to the African American Civil War Memorial in Northwest Washington.


After two years of a pandemic pause, hundreds of Black motorcyclists returned to Washington for the annual Memorial Day tribute to the post-Civil War, all-Black regiments of the Army, known as Buffalo Soldiers, as well as all people of color who gave their lives for American freedom.


The threat of covid-19 shut down the parade in 2020 and 2021, disrupting the event’s nearly two-decade history. But the ride was back Sunday in a big way, and Hugh Valentine, one of the five founding members of the motorcycle club’s Maryland chapter, was at the forefront, proudly wearing his Buffalo Soldiers gear.


Valentine, 91, an Army veteran and retired D.C. police officer, was thrilled with the return of the ride, which he said is much more about community than motorcycling. After two years of protests for racial justice and a pandemic that has highlighted racial health disparities, Valentine said he hoped the parade would bring attention to the contributions that troops of color have made both at war and in their communities.


Today’s racial divisions come well over a century after the Buffalo Soldiers faced discrimination within the military and deadly violence at the hand of civilians. Both then and now, Valentine said, the problems stem from people’s lack of exposure to diversity.


“It’s up to us to change this,” Valentine said. “So that our community values the life of each individual, Black and White.”


Chiefly members of the Black 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry regiments, the Buffalo Soldiers were known for battling Native Americans in the American West in the late 1800s. They protected settlers and built roads and infrastructure, while facing extreme racial prejudice within the Army. Historians say American Indians gave the nickname to the troops because of their curly hair — and as a sign of respect.


“These people served the country, and as Black men, they had so many struggles,” said Bobbie Coles, of Silver Spring, Md. “They were the last ones that got benefits and recognition.”


At Sunday’s ride, organizers emphasized the Buffalo Soldiers’ spirit of service.


“We ride motorcycles a lot,” Jeff “Shorty Airborne” Freeland, the Maryland chapter’s president said. “But community service is what we do.”


The Buffalo Thunder event is the group’s biggest fundraiser, and its cancellation the past two years meant the Maryland branch had to scale back its charitable work in the region. They weren’t able to offer as many low-income families scholarships, Thanksgiving meals and Christmas gifts. This year, the group hopes to give more than $40,000 in college scholarships to local students and help as many as 150 families with holiday turkeys.


Mason Monroe, chairman of the Buffalo Soldiers of Maryland Foundation, said they didn’t expect as many participants this year because of covid-19, which meant the event was likely to yield less than half the $20,000 it did during a normal pre-pandemic ride. The foundation relies on individual and corporate donations year-round, and members participate in other functions to raise funds to help majority Black communities in D.C. and Prince George’s County.


That community engagement was the mission of the club from its creation nearly three decades ago, Valentine said. It was, he said, meant to re-create the spirit of service of the Buffalo Soldiers — 19 of whom were awarded Medals of Honor.


On Sunday, about 400 Buffalo Thunder riders from across the country, many from as far as Florida and Idaho, rode from a Landover, Md., church parking lot to the African American Civil War Memorial at U Street, passing waving crowds along the 14-mile route.


“It’s really nice to come back together and be able to fellowship in safer times and pay homage to the Buffalo Soldiers and their sacrifice for the nation,” said Kisha Brown, a Maryland chapter member and event organizer.


Hassell said the event was a history lesson for her grandkids. Dressed in a Civil War costume, reenacting a schoolteacher of the era, she walked with Karter and Krista around the statue of Black uniformed armed servicemen as they read some of the more than 200,000 names engraved at the African American Civil War Memorial.


“It’s a teachable moment,” Hassell said, “as well as a day of celebration.”


Monday, May 30, 2022

15839: Ask Your Doctor If Anti-Racist Medication May Be Right for You.


AgencySpy posted on a stunt from Anchor Worldwide designed to raise awareness of Asian American Pacific Islander hate crimes in New York City. The campaign featured fake pharmaceutical products—promising to cure racism with a pill—left in pharmacies across the city. Um, as if pharmaceutical advertising isn’t misleading enough… Sorry, but this concept would never have gained FDA approval. Just visit this website instead.


Agency Releases Guerilla Marketing Project to Raise Awareness of AAPI Hate Crimes


By Kyle O’Brien


Independent creative agency Anchor Worldwide has gone guerrilla on pharmacies around New York City to raise awareness of—and combat the spread of—Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate crimes in New York.


The agency has unleashed an art-meets-guerrilla marketing project made of hundreds of fake pill boxes that have been planted in pharmacies throughout the city—in areas where hate crimes have taken place.


The reason for the project arose because, during the pandemic, the rate of AAPI hate crimes spiked 300%. And while vaccines arrived to fight Covid-19 and infections declined, incidences of AAPI racism have not decreased accordingly. The “Cure for Racism: AAPI Formula” masquerades as a seemingly new pharma product that purports to end racism with a pill. On closer inspection of the pharmaceutically styled pill box, people learn that the only real cure for racism is love, compassion, introspection, empathy, courage and conscience.


Fine print on the box reads: “There is no recommended dosage of anti-racism treatment. Only learning and understanding can help. If you are experiencing racist thoughts or behavior and feel increasingly violent towards others, just stay home and rest. Forever. No one wants racists out on the city streets. We all belong here.”


Additionally, mock ads as wild postings are being placed on city streets in impacted communities. Headlines tout this new “Cure for Racism” and how you can “Feel less racist, Fast!” A QR code on the posters and the pill boxes connects curious viewers with the StopAAPIhate.org site where they can learn more about how they can help.


“We wanted to use an unconventional delivery mechanism to share our anti-racism message—because racism really is a kind of a disease in the way that it spreads and infects people’s minds,” said Anchor Worldwide chief creative officer Aaron Sedlak in a release. “While we have found ways to prevent and treat Covid-19, AAPI hate crimes have continued unabated. So when art director Kevin Bae proposed a project to support StopAAPIhate.org, an organization devoted to combatting AAPI racism, we as an agency immediately embraced it.”


Sunday, May 29, 2022

15838: Mamma Mia, RAGÚ.


Remember the good old days when RAGÚ advertising only relied on Italian stereotypes?

Saturday, May 28, 2022

15837: Unfortunate Intrusive Advertising.


Whoever thought to use fortune cookies as advertising tactics should be beaten with chopsticks.


Friday, May 27, 2022

15836: Filipinos Love Hip Hop.

This campaign was created by the in-house agency for Sendwave—and it’s unclear where the place is headquartered. Regardless, even in-house agencies targeting Filipino audiences love hip hop.


Thursday, May 26, 2022

9421: White Agencies Love Hip Hop.


Adweek reported Real Hip-Hop Network chose Berlin Cameron United as its AOR. Granted, the client is not worth a lot of revenue, but one has to wonder if the review included obvious candidates like Translation, Amusement Park Entertainment, will.i.am, Latinworks or any number of Black agencies. Damn, the minority shops can’t even pitch for hip-hop accounts.

Real Hip-Hop Network Finds Agency

Account media spending estimated at $15 million

By Andrew McMains

Berlin Cameron United’s grasp of youth culture—as illustrated in past work for Boost Mobile and VitaminWater—made Atonn Muhammad confident that the shop could tackle advertising for his Real Hip-Hop Network.

To date, the four-year-old network has lived online. Next month, however, RHN will extend its reach through satellite TV providers DirecTV and Dish. Those expansion plans sparked Muhammad’s search for an ad agency that led to the hiring of Berlin Cameron.

Media spending behind the creative assignment is projected at $15 million. The New York agency’s work will take the form of TV, print, outdoor, radio, and online ads. RHN’s programming represents a mixture of news, documentaries, concerts, videos, and perspective, including a show hosted by rapper KRS-One that's called “Analyze This." Its core target is the 18- to 34-year-old demographic.

Berlin Cameron’s ads will aim to appeal to viewers as well as advertisers and regional cable operators. The shop’s first campaign will likely break in December, according to CEO Ewen Cameron.

15835: For Juneteenth, Walmart Shows Cultural Cluelessness For Umpteenth Time.


The Washington Post reported on Juneteenth jerkiness at Walmart, as the mega-retailer staged an ice cream social disaster—with typo-riddled t-shirts too. Online backlash prompted Walmart to issue apologies. Hey, sincere amends could include letting all Black employees take a paid day off on June 20—a freedom celebration.


Walmart apologizes, pulls ‘Juneteenth ice cream’ after online backlash


Critics accused the retail giant of commercializing a solemn holiday meant to commemorate the end of American slavery


By Jacob Bogage


Walmart pulled “Juneteenth ice cream” from its freezers and apologized Tuesday after a social media backlash and accusations of commercializing a holiday meant to commemorate the end of American slavery.


The retail giant was set to sell “swirled red velvet and cheesecake” ice cream in a container adorned with Pan-African colors and an image of two Black hands high-fiving each other. “Share and celebrate African American culture, emancipation and enduring hope,” the label read.


But the product drew swift online condemnations from users who accused the retailer of treating a solemn day as a moneymaking vehicle.


In a statement to Fox television stations, which first reported on the products, the company said it would “remove items as appropriate” as it reviews its Juneteenth products.


“Juneteenth holiday marks a celebration of freedom and independence,” Walmart’s statement said. “However, we received feedback that a few items caused concern for some of our customers and we sincerely apologize.”


The company did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.


Walmart’s website on Tuesday offered a wide array of Juneteenth products, including a T-shirt with a word cloud of social justice and Black empowerment themed phrases in the shape of Africa and Juneteenth party decorations.


Another product listing features a White model wearing a black tank top with the words “Because my ancestors weren’t free in 1976,” an apparent mistaken reference to American independence in 1776.



“This is what happens when you commercialize federal holidays,” comedian Kevin Fredericks said in a viral TikTok. “It just became a federal holiday. Now you can celebrate with this ice cream.”


Juneteenth marks the anniversary of freedom for enslaved people in Texas after the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in states that seceded during the war, but it was largely unenforceable, and many enslavers fled to Texas to continue the practice.


On June 19, 1865, the Union army took control of Texas and outlawed slavery.


“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all enslaved people are free,” Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger wrote in General Order No. 3. “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and enslaved people, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”


The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which permanently banned the practice, was ratified six months later, and on June 19, 1866, many formerly enslaved people began celebrating the date as the anniversary of their freedom.


Congress passed legislation in 2021 to make Juneteenth a national holiday as the country continued to reel from the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a White Minneapolis police officer and violence toward civil rights demonstrators.


This year, the holiday will occur about one month after 10 Black shoppers and supermarket employees were killed at a Buffalo grocery store in an attack prosecutors say was fueled by racist hate.


A Washington Post-Ipsos poll conducted after the shooting found almost three-quarters of Black Americans say they are worried that they or someone they love will be attacked because of their race, 65 percent said it was a “bad time” to be a Black person in America and 53 percent expect race relations to worsen in their lifetimes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

15834: Predicting The Death Of The Art Of Copywriting.


The online advertisement depicted above feels like it’s promoting a copywriting instruction service, promising to help you overcome writer’s block. Turns out Anyword delivers “Copywriting AI with predictable results.” Remember when being told that your copy was predictable meant it sucked?


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

15833: Authentic Representation For Only $4.00 With A 1-Month Subscription.


Advertising Age published a perspective titled, “LGBTQIA+ Asian American Pacific Islanders—It’s Time For Authentic Representation And Visibility.” Yeah, well, get in line behind White women and a slew of other White segments claiming marginalized status.


It’s also hilarious that Ad Age chose to illustrate content about authentic representation with a $4.00 stock image. Perfect.


Monday, May 23, 2022

15832: Oh Hi—Nancy Hill Lands In Ohio.


Advertising Age reported former 4As President and CEO Nancy Hill is taking the CEO role at Cleveland-based Marcus Thomas. During her 4As stint, Hill was a vocal—albeit ineffective—proponent for diversity. Despite the contrived and clichéd rhetoric for inclusivity posted at the Marcus Thomas website, a peek at the White advertising agency’s leadership shows that if the new CEO is set on bringing change to the place, Hill will have an uphill battle.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

15831: Neuriva Plus Presents Mind-Blowing Side Effects.

Neuriva Plus promises, “Do more for your brain”—yet the commercial looks like the drug makes your head explode…



Saturday, May 21, 2022

15830: Overreaction Of The Week—Not BFFs With Brooklyn Film Festival…


Brooklyn Film Festival boasts about offering Something to Offend Everyone—and succeeds by depicting cartoonish characters that appear to be Black.


Friday, May 20, 2022

15829: Confessing Caucasians’ Constant Cultural Cluelessness.


The latest Digiday confessions series installment presents a clear snapshot of the cultural cluelessness—as well as latent racism—in Adland today. Indeed, the scenario could have happened in the ivory tower of a global White holding company or the WeWork Dedicated Desk of a local White startup. From the faux concern for social justice to the resentment for being labeled racist, it all underscores how the commitments to progress that were expressed in 2020 have already been abandoned—and were probably never even acted upon.


It would be great if Digiday could get a typical White advertising agency executive to confess to the lies and deceptive practices executed to perpetuate the systemic racism in Adland.


‘He thought I was accusing him of being racist’: Confessions of a comms pro on working with out of touch leadership


By Ronan Shields


To say the U.S. is awash with contentious social issues is an exercise in understatement, and in recent years it has intensified.


In the era of the Trump administration, the volume was dialed up arguably reaching its zenith in mid-2020 after the murder of George Floyd galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement.


In the marketing and communications industry, this period was also notable as marketers seemed more willing than ever before to place their brands at the center of the conversation by taking a public stand on social issues. And in adland itself, many expected their employers to show some leadership, but when push came to shove in the long hot summer of 2020, some Madison Avenue leaders preferred to stay under the radar.


In this edition of our Confessions series, in which we exchange anonymity for candor, a media communications specialist disclosed the frustrations of working with a cautious C-suite.


This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.


How did your leadership respond as the BLM movement spread across the world?


I think it’s important to point out that in early 2020, the company’s leadership announced they were starting DEI initiatives around recruitment, payment equality and retention.


Although, when the George Floyd murder happened, I requested permission to post support for the BLM movement on our social channels — this was before most companies in the space did so. I was quickly referred to the CEO and founders of the company and got a very discouraging email from them, saying, ‘This is political and we don’t take a political stance.’


How exactly did the C-suite justify this response?


One of them actually compared the situation [George Floyd’s murder and BLM] to cigarette smoking. He said something along the lines of, ‘People get killed every day, does that mean we are supposed to post something every time somebody gets shot?’


He, who was based elsewhere in the U.S., clearly wasn’t feeling the emotions that a lot of us who were based in the New York City area were. In my opinion, he was very out of touch with what a lot of people were feeling nationwide.


What do you think was going on here?


Well, a lot of the industry is based here in New York City where feelings ran very high, but our C-suite was mostly based elsewhere [away from metropolitan areas]. And I think that a lot of those people with major shares in the company don’t want to piss off clients whose opinions may not be in check with the popular or internal sentiment.


So, was it an open and shut case?


HR eventually got involved, and it then escalated to an in-person meeting [via Zoom, this was 2020 after all] and the call got extremely tense. I raised my feelings that it was about human rights and that we could be seen as being complicit if we didn’t take a stand.


Overall, my CEO seemed very annoyed and I think he thought I was accusing him of being racist. He and one of the other co-founders felt the need to point out that they mentor Black people and donate a lot to Black-focused charities.


That was neither here nor there, it wasn’t about them, but they were making it about them.


How was this resolved?


In the end, we did post support for BLM, I’m not entirely sure what changed their mind, I think there were a lot of side conversations with HR involved.


It’s kind of funny because when we did that and notified people internally on Slack, some employees thanked our leadership for taking a stance and speaking out. The CEO just gave a thumbs-up and didn’t mention anything about the earlier conversations, but you don’t really expect them to.