Friday, September 30, 2022

15976: Electric Car Charging Stations Brand Needs Energy.

Confessions of a Petroholic”—a podcast miniseries for Fastned from the Netherlands—takes a long, winding road to promote adopting electric vehicles. Creating a loose connection between driving cars and alcoholism is typically frowned upon. Although any frowns in this case are the result of recognizing a mediocre and contrived concept.


The Fastned brand is progressive. This campaign is not—it’s a car wreck.


Thursday, September 29, 2022

15975: Purple Reign.


Advertising Age and Adweek reported that M&M’s introduced its first new character in a decade—Purple—and pushed DE&I via the female peanut M&M voiced by Amber Ruffin. The newbie actually represents multiple levels of progressiveness, including… oh, never mind.


How many more decades before M&M’s and Mars show greater DE&I progressiveness versus exclusively partnering with White advertising agencies?


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

15974: Forget If Your Agency Is On Fire—Fire Consultancies.


Gee, this consultancy message must resonate with advertising agencies in Southern California.

15973: The Gate To 150 Years Of Exclusivity…?


AgencySpy posted about The Gate—a firm boasting to be the second oldest White advertising agency in the United States. To commemorate its 150th anniversary, “The Gate Apology Tour” presents painfully lame videos seeking to make amends with former clients. Sorry, apology not accepted.


Interestingly enough, a peek at The Gate leadership shows that—in terms of diversity—the place appears to be at least 150 years behind the times. And that’s sorry.


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

15972: Proof That When You Fight Yourself, You Lose.


This GeloMyrtol campaign from Lithuania—which includes TV commercials—should have been knocked out in the concept round. Ditto the responsible creative team. The work demonstrates once again that pharmaceutical advertising globally sucks.


15971: Champion Deserves To Play With Champs, Yet Settles For Chumps.


Adweek reported on a new campaign from Champion that hypes the brand as inventor of the hoodie. Sorry, but this does not feel like an accomplishment to tout for motivating consumer interest. A competent planner—and decent advertising agency—might have devised a better game plan. Besides, it’s tough to call out hoodies without thinking of Trayvon Martin, no?


Champion Invented the Hoodie Nearly 100 Years Ago. Now It's Ready to Talk About It


The brand is looking toward the future as it seeks to engage Gen Z consumers


By Leslie Blount


Champion is calling an audible on its penchant for modesty.


For the launch of its “Be Your Own” campaign, the centenarian athleticwear brand proudly proclaims “Champion invented the hoodie,” the wardrobe staple that’s transcended sports into music, fashion and popular culture since it was created by the brand’s founding family more than 80 years ago.


A new spot—produced by agency partner Energy BBDO—is slated to debut on ESPN during the Ohio State vs. Notre Dame football game on Sept. 3 and features a diverse cast modeling a colorful array of hoodie styles.


Amid quick cuts of the models playing various sports, the narrator channels his inner hype man to inform the wearer “we invented that,” before declaring they ultimately “make it their own” by wearing it.


In addition to ESPN, the campaign will run on linear TV, online and streaming video, in-store displays and across the brand’s social media channels.


While many brands might use archival footage to present receipts documenting historic achievements, Champion vp of global marketing John Shumate said the goal was to look toward the future.


“We wanted to reach a young consumer,” Shumate told Adweek. “Our data points revealed that [we were] skewing a little bit older. And we wanted to connect with that 14- to 24-year-old. We wanted to let the younger audience know that the hoodies they were wearing were developed and innovated and originated by the Champion brand.”


Shumate—who joined the brand a little over a year ago after stints with PepsiCo, MGM Resorts and sports teams including the Miami Dolphins and the Orlando Magic—acknowledged that millennial and Gen Z consumers may not be as familiar with the brand’s history, but they are digitally native, which presented an opportunity to challenge them to get to know the brand better—and to engage with it.


“This [campaign] is really just to grab attention, really have the energy. Get people excited and thirsty and hungry for more,” he said.


He describes this particular campaign as long overdue. “We have a very rich and strong heritage,” he added. “But one of the key things we realized is that we’re not telling anyone about it. We want to do a better job of storytelling.”


That’s in part because the word “champion” is typically associated with success, and the brand is looking to broaden that definition.


“We all know that there’s more to life than just winning,” Shumate said. “It’s about playing the game. It’s about the effort in the things that you did to be the best person, and sometimes it’s just going out and just doing your best.”


Legacy brand(ed)


Originally founded in 1919 in Rochester, N.Y., as the Knickerbocker Knitting Mills, the company was renamed Champion in the early 1920s when brothers William and Abe Feinbloom inherited the business and transitioned it from producing traditional knitted goods to heavy wool knit sweaters that protected outdoor workers from brutal Northeastern winters.


The sweaters would later become popular at military academies, before the brothers expanded their product assortment to include athleticwear and began selling directly to college athletes and coaches.


Those relationships led to the creation of the hoodie, which was designed in the 1930s through the input of athletes who wanted a warm-up garment to wear while sitting on the sidelines between games and practice sessions.


It was also in the ‘30s when the brand revolutionized the flocking process, which allows college logos and screen-printed letters and numbers to be added onto jerseys and other apparel.


In fact, the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired one of the brand’s oxford grey Reverse Weave hoodies from the ‘80s for its permanent collection of society-impacting fashion items in 2017.


“A lot of collegiate students get introduced to the Champion brand in the college bookstores with our Reverse Weave product,” said Shumate, who called it “the O.G.” of the brand.


“We’re a 100-year-old-plus brand, and we’re really trying to establish ourselves for the next hundred years,” he added.


Still in the game


In addition to celebrating the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Reverse Weave hoodie, Champion also has partnerships in the works with Disney and upscale street fashion retailer Social Status, with whom it is collaborating to design an HBCU capsule collection.


The brand was also featured in a challenge on Amazon Prime’s reality fashion competition series Making the Cut, which Shumate said resulted in strong online sales for both Amazon and Champion.


But sports are indisputably Champion’s specialty.


The company recently expanded its partnership with the Premier Lacrosse League to include the uniforms worn on the field during play, and will continue to work with high schools and small college athletic programs. In the coming weeks, the brand will also launch a page dedicated to merchandise designed exclusively for its college and university partners.


For Shumate and the brand, it all falls under a mission to bring community, comfort, celebration—and fun—to whoever makes Champion products their own.


“Champion is an authentic athleticwear brand,” he said. “[The Feinbloom brothers] came to the United States and really changed the game. They put the consumer first. And we want to continue to do that.”

Monday, September 26, 2022

15970: Projecting The Future For White Women In Corporate America.


Project Management is the new training ground for future CEOs…? Yep, and White women will land waaaaay more of the top positions before racial and ethnic minorities.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

15969: Back To The Future With WPP.


The WPP Future Readiness Academies learning program has launched. Whoop-dee-damn-doo. Can’t help but think this outsourced offering constitutes a new form of divershitty. Hell, are employees at the White holding company even equipped for present-day readiness?


Saturday, September 24, 2022

15968: The Death And Abandonment Of Creativity.


Surviving the death of the White creative agency is easy—just partner with a consultancy that appears to be completely devoid of creativity. Okay, sounds good.

Friday, September 23, 2022

15967: TBWA Presents Performative, Patronizing Propaganda.

Advertising Age reported that TBWA created two new roles—and filled them by promoting women of color—to enhance recruitment and retention. Of course they did.


It’s always amazing that White advertising agencies think it’s possible to better recruit and retain employees by dumping the duties on people who represent segments—in this case, Black and Latinx females—that are among the most underrepresented in the industry. Now, that’s disruption® delegating diversity.


Or, more likely, bona fide bullshit.


TBWA’s Talent Retention Strategy Includes New Roles


The agency appointed a chief learning and development officer and executive director of global recruiting


By Gillian Follet


TBWA today announced two new roles designed to counter high levels of employee turnover within the ad industry and difficulties recruiting creative talent.


Rhonda George-Denniston was named chief learning and development officer, and will be tasked with spearheading the agency’s talent development and retention strategies. Monica Torres was appointed executive director of global recruiting, and will be responsible for directing TBWA’s global recruitment initiatives.


The ad industry continues to deal with workplace shuffling stemming from the pandemic and “Great Resignation,” as several agency leaders have reported challenges in finding and securing talent.


TBWA conducted a global study earlier this year that revealed creative talent reports higher levels of burnout and dissatisfaction with their work-life balance than the global average: Only 55% of creatives reported being content with their work-life balance, almost 10% lower than the global benchmark of 64%.


“The pandemic definitely highlighted the need and importance of [workplace] fundamentals and ways to connect with each other and having the tools you need to get your job done,” said Amie Miller, TBWA’s chief talent officer. “You expect certain things, and those are the fundamentals, and without those—the magic, the experience, the feelings, the emotion—those things can’t happen.”


These “fundamentals” that employees expect from their workplace include robust employee development programs and opportunities for internal recruiting and mobility, Miller said, which inspired the agency to establish new positions that oversee these areas. Both George-Denniston and Torres have already contributed to initiatives in these departments in their previous roles at TBWA, Miller said.


George-Denniston has worked at TBWA for over two decades, and recently led the launch of TBWA\U, a learning platform that offers on-demand courses for agency employees. Torres, meanwhile, has led recruitment efforts at the agency’s New York office since 2017, overhauling the recruitment and interview process in an effort to eliminate bias in hiring decisions.


TBWA already runs several employee leadership and development programs for workers at all levels of the company, from C-suite executives to mid-level managers, Miller said. The agency’s newest initiative, TBWA\Bursary, partners with schools such as Miami Ad School Europe to help junior employees complete training programs offered by the schools. Expanding this program to include additional schools is one of George-Denniston’s highest priorities, she said in an email.


“Our industry is constantly changing,” George-Denniston said. “We have to be intentional in how our people develop and grow to meet their personal and our organization's goals, and that’s a discipline in itself—it requires a dedicated team to plan, design and execute the experiences and opportunities that will empower people to thrive.”


Torres will focus on uniting the agency’s network of offices around the globe by “[sharing] learnings and best practices between them,” along with increasing opportunities for employees to move into new roles within the agency, she said in an email.


“By encouraging our people to stretch beyond their existing teams, we’re able to keep our top talent engaged within the collective—providing opportunities for growth and excitement that ignites innovation and creativity,” Torres said. “And just as important, we become talent magnets—a collective that people want to work with and for over the long term.”

15966: McNews Item.


From the ‘You-Can’t-Make-This-Shit-Up’ category: In the Byron Allen lawsuit charging Mickey D’s with discriminatory practices toward Black-owned media—which includes accusations of cultural cluelessness and systemic racism—the last name of a lawyer representing the fast feeder is Lynch.


Hopefully, this is not an ominous sign for Allen.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

15965: Building Heat Shields And Performative, Self-Promotional Propaganda.


Adweek spotlighted Media Bridge Agency in Minnesota, where staffers attended a “mandatory college-level seminar on race”—reportedly an anti-racism course—led by a former University of Minnesota professor. Whoop-dee-damn-doo.


Admittedly did not bother to read the full story. Mandatory anti-racist schooling is sorta contradictory, no? Seems like authentic anti-racist pursuit should be an intentional, desired and life-long journey versus a forced, short-term curriculum.


Viewing the firm’s leadership and staff presents the only evidence necessary to conclude that cultural competence and DE&I are at remedial levels—and no legitimate bridges have been built yet.


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

15964: Ba Da Ba Ba Byron Allen Bashes Mickey D’s.


Advertising Age reported that Byron Allen and Mickey D’s will face off in court after a federal judge denied the fast feeder’s latest motion for dismissal.


Referring to his legal actions, Allen declared, “This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the U.S. economy. McDonald’s takes billions from African-American consumers and gives almost nothing back. The biggest trade deficit in America is the trade deficit between white corporate America and Black America, and McDonald’s is guilty of perpetuating this disparity.”


In short, Allen is determined to collect golden rewards versus McCrumbs.


Byron Allen’s McDonald’s Lawsuit Survives Latest Dismissal Effort, Set For May Trial


Ruling backs some of Allen’s arguments and finds text by McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski relevant


By Jack Neff


A federal court has denied the latest motion for McDonald’s Corp. to dismiss Byron Allen’s discrimination lawsuit against the world’s largest restaurant company, in a ruling that supports some of Allen’s arguments.


The order late Friday by Judge Fernando Olguin of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California found McDonald’s hadn’t met a relatively high bar for proving Allen’s Entertainment Studios made no reasonable claim of discrimination. The case is now set for trial on May 30.


Allen sued McDonald's in May 2021, seeking $10 billion in damages, alleging the company intentionally discriminated against Entertainment Studios and Weather Group through “a pattern of racial stereotyping and refusals to contract.”


McDonald’s had won dismissal late last year of Allen’s first amended federal complaint, following an original complaint in California state court. But the court allowed Allen’s company, Entertainment Studios Networks, to file two amended complaints and since has denied a second and now a third motion by McDonald’s to dismiss the case.


Olguin’s ruling questioned the validity of some of McDonald’s arguments in seeking the latest dismissal, which might also have bearing on the ultimate outcome of the case.


“McDonald’s apparent refusal to even offer terms for advertising on The Weather Channel makes little business sense given that The Weather Channel has higher ratings and wider distribution than the two [white owned] comparator networks,” Olguin wrote.


The court also rejected McDonald’s argument that Allen’s allegations regarding McDonald’s corporate culture based on an allegedly racist text message sent by CEO Chris Kempczinski are irrelevant to the case. Olguin cited an appellate ruling that remarks by a corporation’s senior management that suggest the existence of racial bias can support a discrimination claim even when not directed at the plaintiff specifically.


“The court finds that plaintiffs plausibly allege that defendant intentionally discriminated against them in refusing to contract,” and would have done business with Allen’s companies “but for” race, a higher bar than the “substantial reason” standard Allen needed to meet under a California state law, according to the ruling.


Oguin gave McDonald’s until Sept. 26 to file an answer to Allen’s latest amended complaint.


McDonald’s lawyer calls the allegations ‘groundless’


“The decision has nothing whatsoever to do with the merits of the case, but simply allows Mr. Allen to continue to try, as he has for more than a year now, to substantiate his speculative and conclusory claims through fact discovery,” Loretta Lynch, McDonald’s legal counsel, said in a statement. “We believe the evidence will show that there was no discrimination and that Entertainment Studios’ claims are meritless. Their complaint is about revenue, not race, and plaintiffs’ groundless allegations ignore both McDonald’s legitimate business reasons for not investing more on their channels and the company’s long-standing business relationships with many other diverse-owned partners.”


Allen’s lawsuit contends that McDonald’s refusal to deal with Entertainment Studios is the result of racial stereotyping through a tiered advertising structure based on race, where the chain's general market advertising is handled by Omnicom Media Group’s OMD and a much smaller “African American” tier is handled by Burrell. The complaint argues Entertainment Studios was relegated to the “African American” tier even though its networks have general-market appeal and do not specifically target African American audiences.


Allen, who has threatened to sue as many as 20 to 30 more companies over discrimination in advertising decisions, said earlier this month he has no interest in settling with McDonald’s.


“This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the U.S. economy,” Allen said in a statement. “McDonald’s takes billions from African-American consumers and gives almost nothing back. The biggest trade deficit in America is the trade deficit between white corporate America and Black America, and McDonald’s is guilty of perpetuating this disparity.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

15963: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow—Or By End Of Year.


Missed this recent report from Campaign that confirmed Dentsu plans to eliminate its International Global CEO role—i.e., Wendy Clark’s job—as part of a corporate restructuring. In other words, Clark resigned to avoid being rendered redundant.


Holding companies have fueled a commoditization of talent—i.e., the average staffer is a generic, replaceable drone—and now CEOs are increasingly forgettable and pointless too.


Dentsu to drop international CEO role in restructure as Wendy Clark heads for exit


By Ishwari Khatu


Hiroshi Igarashi, CEO of the Japanese parent, is set to take direct control


Dentsu is set to drop the role of international chief executive and move to a single, global operation – a restructure that is expected to lead to Wendy Clark, the current international CEO, heading for the exit.


Campaign broke the news on 1 September that she was poised to step down as global CEO of Dentsu International after only two years, although there has been no confirmation yet from Dentsu or Clark that she is leaving her role.


Dentsu Group Inc, the Japanese parent company, is expected to announce in the coming days that she is stepping down as part of a global reorganisation that will bring together its two subsidiaries, Dentsu International and Dentsu Japan, as one operation.


Currently, Hiroshi Igarashi, chief executive and president of Dentsu Group Inc, oversees the two subsidiaries: Dentsu International under the leadership of Clark, with the CEOs of the Americas, Asia Pacific and EMEA reporting to her, and Dentsu Japan under the leadership of Norihiro Kuretani.


Under the likely new structure, Igarashi is set to take direct control of all four of Dentsu’s regions globally – the Americas, Asia Pacific, EMEA and Japan.


Dentsu has been pushing a “One Dentsu” strategy to bring its international and Japanese businesses closer together and industry sources said the move to four regions under one global leader would be a logical outcome.


A spokesperson for Dentsu declined to comment about its restructure plans and referred Campaign to a previous statement, issued in response to the earlier story about Clark’s expected exit.


“A cross-functional global team of our executive leaders has been working on our long-term roadmap for Dentsu,” the company said. “We have strong confidence that this will continue our progress in driving growth and making client impact. We expect to communicate more fully as we finalise this planning process.”


Dentsu Group Inc already reports the financial performance of its four regions at its quarterly results.


Japan represents 43% of global revenue less cost of sales, the Americas 25%, EMEA 22% and Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) 10%, according to Dentsu’s 2021 results.


Jacki Kelley is CEO of the Americas, Giulio Malegori is CEO of EMEA and Robert Gilby is CEO of APAC.


Leadership change at the top of Dentsu Group Inc


The expected restructure follows a series of significant changes at the top of Dentsu Group Inc at the start of 2022.


Igarashi, who was previously head of the Japanese business and co-chief operating officer of Dentsu Group Inc, became CEO and president of the parent company.


Tim Andree, the chairman of Dentsu International, also moved to become non-executive chairman of Dentsu Group Inc.


Andree is one of the key architects of Dentsu International. He oversaw the acquisition of Britain’s Aegis Group in 2013 to create Dentsu Aegis Network, which later rebranded to become Dentsu International in 2020 and continues to be headquartered in London.


The international arm reported declining revenues in both 2019 and 2020 and hired Clark from Omnicom’s DDB as part of a turnaround strategy.


That has included moving from 160 to six agency brands and a push to generate 50% of revenue from customer transformation and technology services.


Dentsu International and Japan have both reported strong revenue growth in 2021 and the first half of 2022.


Igarashi told investors at its Q2 results in August: “The transformation the group has undertaken over the past two years positions us well for the future – a simplified business with reduced complexity.”


Dentsu is the world’s fourth largest agency group with about 65,000 staff. Around 45,000 work in the international arm, whose flagship agencies include Carat, Dentsu Creative, iProspect and Merkle.