Thursday, February 11, 2016

13066: U.S. Census Senseless…?

Adweek reported advertising agencies will be vying for the U.S. Census contract for 2020 work. In 2010, IPG dominated with Draftfcb taking the lead over other below-the-line and minority shops. It’s a safe bet IPG won’t serve up Campbell Ewald as a contender. But will the U.S. Census Bureau hire a White advertising agency to handle the top role? Or will the governmental client seek a partner whose staff reflects the diversity of the country? If so, they may have to wait until 2079 for a qualified agency to emerge.

Agencies Are About to Start Vying for the $415 Million U.S. Census Contract

Deadline looms for 2020 communications work

By Noreen O’Leary

It’s hard to believe another census count is nearly upon us. For agencies wanting to work on the estimated $415 million 2020 census multi-year contract, RFP responses are due Feb. 22.

This time around the Census Bureau is putting more emphasis on digital technology as the government wants to trim costs through greater use of mobile and social.

“The communications industry has changed dramatically since the conduct of the 2010 census, principally due to changes and advances in technology, communications mechanisms and consumer expectations,” according to the RFP. “The Internet, wireless technologies and mobile personal devices have opened new communications channels and media that have empowered consumers with increased connectivity to marketers. The Census Bureau fully intends to harness these emerging technologies and channels as part of the 2020 census integrated communications contract. …The [agency] contractor [selected] shall use an appropriate mix of communications tools with an emphasis on using new technology.”

The final RFP was issued in late January, and agency selections are expected in August. For the 2010 census, Interpublic agencies heavily dominated the team behind the census advertising. Draftfcb, now FCB, was the creative lead, accompanied by agencies GlobalHue, GlobalHue Latino, D’Exposito & Partners, Allied Media, G+G Advertising, IW Group, Plum Agency, Weber Shandwick, Jack Morton, Scholastic, Initiative and Draftfcb Puerto Rico.

13065: Carat’s Caucasian Collection.

Adweek handed the title of “U.S. Media Agency of the Year” to Carat. And the accompanying photo shows the agency’s leadership perfectly reflects the U.S.—at least in regards to U.S. media and advertising agencies. According to Adweek, thanks to Carat’s recent account wins, “the shop is currently looking to fill about 100 positions, boosting its domestic payroll roughly 10 percent.” How many of those new jobs will go to minorities? Based on the looks of Carat’s global leadership, minority candidates can expect to receive a 24-karat/carat golden shower.

13064: BHM 2016—Newport.

Okay, this is definitely not a BHM advertisement. But Newport deserves credit for its loyalty to Black consumers—even though the cigarette brand is seeking to kill the audience.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

13063: Hall Of Fame Shame.

Oh, look! The Advertising Hall of Fame 2016 Inductees are essentially a clan of White men and White women. The honorees include W+K Co-Founder and Chairman Dan Wieden. Hey, making it into the Advertising Hall of Fame still doesn’t beat receiving his ADCOLOR® Award, right?

There is no “all” in Hall of Fame.

13062: Black Sheep, White Shop.

Campaign reported on a promotional video from Bartle Bogle Hegarty that has turned into a recruitment tactic. The video ultimately spotlights the exclusivity at BBH, featuring a predominately White staff with a miniscule sprinkling of minorities. Ironically, the copy is delivered via a poem hyping the power of difference. Sir John Hegarty still displays faux interest in diversity, but continues to fail to show up when presented with the opportunity to actually do something different. The self-proclaimed “Black Sheep” of the industry are just a flock of White sheep—which makes this narcissistic ode a pile of sheep dung.

BBH plots recruitment boost with online poem

By James Swift

Bartle Bogle Hegarty has focused its creative powers inwards to create an online recruitment film about the power of difference.

The two-minute film features an original poem on the power of difference by Harry Baker, a performance poet, set to images of BBH’s staff and the agency’s work. It ends with the line “Black Sheep Wanted”.

The film has almost 50,000 views on YouTube and has been watched almost 12,000 times on Facebook, and at the time of writing had attracted mostly positive comments.

Ben Fennell, BBH’s chief executive, told Campaign that the film was initially created for the agency’s end-of-year gathering.

“We have a big company meeting at the end of each year where we review our performance and set the agenda,” said Fennell. “It’s the one time a year that all 450 of us are together and we try to make them inspirational.”

Fennell added that there was also an element of BBH practising what it preached, as the agency is forever telling clients to spend more time and energy communicating with their own staff, having seen what it did to improve standards at British Airways (a client of the agency).

He added: “We wanted a big finish that reconnected to our philosophy and the meaning of difference but in the briefing we felt that if it had a real purpose it would be even more powerful.”

BBH gave Baker, a UK poetry slam champion, a detailed brief on the agency and the power of difference and Fennel said the agency did not have to change a line from his first draft. Black Sheep studios was then tasked with putting images to the words, with Chris Watling taking the lead on the project.

“Creativity is at its core difference,” said Fennell, “And I think this has touched the creative community around the world. We’re only a month in and, measuring the increase of people that have approached us [about jobs] against what is normal for this time of year, we’ve definitely seen an uplift from all disciplines.

“But even though it didn’t start its life as a piece of brand content that is what it’s become. It’s got a short-term purpose to attract talent but its longer purpose is as a piece of brand communication for BBH.

“It’s a bit like with the Robert Carlyle video for Johnnie Walker [a former BBH client]. That just started out as a piece of film to show the company’s staff at a meeting.”

13061: BHM 2016—NBA.

The NBA appears to be celebrating Black History Month on a team-by-team basis, including individual promotional activities with the Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics. Why, the Sacramento Kings even displayed sensitivity over BHM activities coinciding with the Chinese New Year’s “Year of the Monkey.”

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

13060: Howdy, Partner Awards.

What if White men partnered with White women and brought in The 3% Conference who then called ADCOLOR® with the goal of making the world’s biggest diverted diversity smokescreen made with unconscious bias. Why, you’d be eligible to win the 4A’s Partner Awards—as well as a White Pencil and Glass Lion. Hurry, the Partner Awards entry deadline is February 12, 2016!

13059: Dismal Digital Diversity.

Campaign published a story titled, “OMD UK forms new senior digital team.” Um, didn’t somebody insist digital would create opportunities for diversity? Of course, digital is dandy for dames—especially White women—presenting another example of diverted diversity. Guess the potential candidates of color have not yet graduated from the incredible IAB initiative.

13058: BHM 2016—Colgate-Palmolive.

Honor your past. Treasure your health. Cherish your stock photography.

Monday, February 08, 2016

13057: Overreaction Of The Week.

Google celebrates Black History Month with an image of monkeys? Damn, it’s yet another blatant example of the company’s cultural cluelessness and exclusivity. Somebody call Jesse Jackson pronto! Rally the protesters and… oh, wait a minute. The illustration is commemorating the Chinese New Year? Okay. Never mind.

13056: Benetton Flubs Diversity.

Advertising Age Creativity reported on the latest Benetton campaign starring computer-generated models whose features were created by utilizing ethnicity data from different cities around the globe. The work allegedly promotes diversity; however, the majority of the selected cities are predominately White, resulting in models that look, well, vanilla. The responsible advertising agency—180 Amsterdam—appears to be not very diverse as well. Benetton should produce a version using the ethnicity data from 180 Amsterdam. Or any other White advertising agency, for that matter. It would result in the most shockingly provocative advertisement Benetton has ever hatched.

Benetton Uses Ethnicity Data to Create Computer-Generated ‘Models’

Brand’s Latest ‘Faces’ Represent Racial Make-Up of Different Cities

By Alexandra Jardine

For decades, Benetton has been known for using models of different skin colors, ethnicities and appearances to promote diversity with its “United Colors” campaigns. But the latest campaign doesn’t use real models; instead, the Italian fashion retailer has used computer-generated faces based on data from different cities around the world.

The campaign, appearing globally in print, out-of-home, in digital media and in-store, was created by 180 Amsterdam. It depicts a series of faces created based on the facial features and racial mix of different cities around the world; London, Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, Milan and New York. The starting point was investigating the ethnic make-up of each capital, using statistical, demographic analysis from a number of population information sources, and incorporating international data as well as city-specific census reports, in order to most accurately reflect the proportion of each city’s specific racial mix. The team then visited each city to collect portraits of people living there.

The final models’ faces were created using an algorithm that aims to ensure that the proportion of each ethnicity is reflected through features such as skin tone, the shape of the eyes and nose, hair type and color, as well as overall face shape. In the end, though, the computer-generated models almost feel pretty mainstream, compared to the more diverse images of beauty from Benetton’s past.

The work is the first by 180 Amsterdam for Benetton—the agency was appointed to handle projects in 2015. Benetton also still handles some advertising in-house.

13055: BHM 2016—Wells Fargo.

How to diversify a workforce: Offer a credit-bearing training course for minority students at a historically Black college—as opposed to, say, hiring qualified minorities right now.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

13054: Super Bowl Super Bullshit.

USA TODAY published a story titled, “Super Bowl ads to put diversity on display.” A more appropriate headline might have read, “Super Bowl ads reflect diversity of U.S.—and deflect diversity of U.S. advertising agencies.”

The truth is, there are more lies, deception and subterfuge in this scenario than Deflategate, although few citizens would actually give a shit upon learning the facts. Sure, the commercials might integrate greater non-White casting, but the commercials’ creators are customarily comprised of Caucasians. This point was most recently called out in 2010 by Cyrus Mehri and the NAACP. At that time, Mehri and the NAACP cited a study from the University of Central Florida examining 58 out of 67 total Super Bowl commercials for the year. The study showed 92 percent of the responsible creative directors were White men, 7 percent were White women and a single creative director was Latino; however, the Latino was the winner of Doritos’ annual consumer contest versus an advertising agency employee. The University of Central Florida study for last year’s Super Bowl indicated only 7 percent of the responsible creative directors were people of color. That might sound like a decent increase, but the figures are fuzzy and likely include assorted global citizens and foreigners. After all, Black representation in the industry has declined in modern times.

The USA TODAY story also presented a blurb featuring Omnicom SVP Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany R. Warren:

The advertising industry has worked toward making content creators, as well as others involved in the creative process, a more inclusive group, says Tiffany Warren, founder of ADCOLOR, a group that celebrates people of color working in advertising, media and marketing.

When there are opportunities for diverse minds to provide input in ads, “you’ll see opportunities to increase the relationship you have with the public,” she says.

Funny how USA TODAY didn’t recognize Warren’s official Omnicom role; plus, stating that Madison Avenue “has worked toward making content creators, as well as others involved in the creative process, a more inclusive group” is an unproven pipedream.

The Super Bowl remains the most popular stage to showcase diversity in advertising—and the dearth of diversity in advertising agencies.

Super Bowl ads to put diversity on display

By Charisse Jones, USA TODAY

Super Bowl ads are practically an event unto themselves. And when they unfold on the screen this Sunday, viewers will see a reflection of America’s diversity.

While Hollywood faces a backlash over an all-white slate of acting nominees for this year’s Oscars, several of the TV spots airing during the big game will feature actors, athletes and characters who represent a range of ethnicity, generations, and sexual orientations.

A Pokemon ad will show children from across the globe empowering each other to succeed. African-American comedian Kevin Hart will loan his car to his daughter’s date in a humorous ad for Hyundai’s Genesis.

And among the images of masculinity showcased in an ad for Axe’s grooming products, will be a man dancing in heels.

“Super Bowl advertisers get that as the face of America changes, so must marketing tactics,” Karen Sinisi, director of sales for multicultural marketing data provider Ethnic Technologies, said in an email. “Advertisers know the importance of speaking to the fastest growing segments of our population.”

Though some ad watchers say that Super Bowl advertising has had diverse casting for several years, others believe that a noticeable change occurred in 2015, when images were far less stereotypical and more people of color took center stage.

African Americans had a leading or co-leading role in 19 of 61 commercials aired last year, as compared to just two such roles in 2011, according to a 2015 study of Super Bowl ads by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. The objectification of women in ads also significantly decreased.

Diversity “has definitely increased,” says Richard Lapchick, the study’s main author.

In years past, there were images that were “sometimes stereotypical,” he says, “and that has definitely improved significantly.”

The advertising industry has worked toward making content creators, as well as others involved in the creative process, a more inclusive group, says Tiffany Warren, founder of ADCOLOR, a group that celebrates people of color working in advertising, media and marketing.

When there are opportunities for diverse minds to provide input in ads, “you’ll see opportunities to increase the relationship you have with the public,” she says.

It was a glaring lack of diversity among actors vying for this year’s Oscars that sparked the latest debate about parity in Hollywood. But beyond accolades, there also remains a need for people of color to have more substantial roles in front of and behind the camera, says Gil Robertson, co-founder and president of the African American Film Critics Association.

“If those characters aren’t meaningful, if those portrayals aren’t three-dimensional, and relevant, you still have a problem,” Robertson says. “People need to be represented in a real and substantive way, and not as caricatures and stereotypes.”

While there is still more to be done, corporate America has had more pressure to be accountable to the public in a way that Hollywood has not, says Aaron Walton, co-founder and partner at Walton Isaacson, a firm that provides general and multicultural marketing services to such clients as Lexus, Macy’s and Wells Fargo.

“Hollywood keeps making excuses as to why they have not stepped up,” Walton said via email. “Corporate America can’t keep making those excuses. They have shareholders. They have consumers giving them feedback on social media. They have consumers buying products that reflect them and not spending money on products that don’t. Hollywood can often be in an insular bubble.”

But not all aspects of diversity are getting their moment in the Super Bowl spotlight. Although SunTrust has a big game ad this year featuring a man in a wheelchair, “major brands are only beginning to recognize the purchasing power of the disability market of $220 billion,” Tari Hartman Squire, CEO of EIN SOF Communications, a strategic marketing and employment consultation firm specializing in disability-inclusive diversity, said in an email.

When it comes to the world of media, “TV shows are farther ahead on disability–inclusive diversity than ads or movies.”

There is also a need for more inclusiveness in the top creative ranks of the advertising industry. According to the University of Central Florida report, of the 42 Super Bowl commercials for which data was available last year, only 7% featured exclusively a person of color as the head creative director. And 81% of the creative directors were men.

Liz Castells-Heard, president of Hispanic marketing agency Castells & Asociados praised a Super Bowl 50 ad for the Mini car brand that features a diverse cast, including tennis player Serena Williams and soccer champion Abby Wambach. Ads for PayPal and SunTrust also showcase multi-ethnic characters or tout messages emphasizing inclusion.

Yet, “there is much room for improvement,” Castells-Heard said in an email. “This includes the lack of representation of Hispanics, Asians, and the LGBT community versus the overwhelming amount of ads featuring white males.”

She adds: “Strides were made, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

13053: BHM 2016—EBONY.

Based on the February 2016 cover of EBONY, Valentine’s Day trumped Black History Month. That is, there’s more content on “Black Love” than Black heritage. Like Essence, there are very few BHM advertisements too. Excluding a couple of salutes to EBONY Power 100 and promotions for historical items available in the EBONY Store, you’ll find six legitimate BHM messages from advertisers. The major brands aren’t showing much love for the historical achievements of Blacks.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

13052: Maurice White (1941-2016).

From The New York Times…

Maurice White, Founder and Leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, Dies at 74

By Peter Keepnews

Maurice White, the founder and leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, whose genre-defying music made it one of the most successful bands of the 1970s, has died at his home in Los Angeles. He was 74.

The band’s publicist, Mark Young, said Mr. White died late Wednesday or early Thursday. He did not specify the cause, but Mr. White had announced in 2000 that he had Parkinson’s disease.

Earth, Wind & Fire — whose many hits included “Shining Star,” “September,” “That’s the Way of the World” and a cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” — had a sound that was rooted in rhythm and blues but crossed musical boundaries, attracting an audience that was as diverse racially as the music was stylistically.

The horn arrangements were punchy, the bass lines funky and the rhythms infectious, but there was also room for adventurous improvisation, mellow vocal harmonies and pure pop melodicism.

“Although we were basically jazz musicians, we played soul, funk, gospel, blues, jazz, rock and dance music … which somehow ended up becoming pop,” Mr. White wrote on the group’s website. “We were coming out of a decade of experimentation, mind expansion and cosmic awareness. I wanted our music to convey messages of universal love and harmony without force-feeding listeners’ spiritual content.”

Earth, Wind & Fire, which was larger than the average rock or funk band, became renowned not just for its music but also for its elaborate stage shows, marked by pyrotechnics, choreography, lighting effects and sometimes even magic tricks. Mr. White stopped touring with the band in the 1990s.

Mr. White, who began his career as a jazz drummer, played various percussion instruments with Earth, Wind & Fire as well as the African thumb piano, or kalimba, which became an essential element of the group’s sound. He shared lead vocals with Philip Bailey, wrote or co-wrote some of the group’s biggest hits, and produced many of its records.

As a producer, Mr. White also worked with Barbra Streisand and other artists.

Maurice White was born on Dec. 19, 1941, in Memphis and raised by his grandmother. He sang in a church choir and was inspired to become a drummer by watching local marching bands.

“I saw the guys in the band playing drums — they had on shiny suits and were getting all the attention from the girls,” he told The Commercial Appeal of Memphis in 2007. “So I decided: That’s what I want to do. From that point on I just became infatuated with music.”

After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, where he was in the drum corps, Mr. White moved to Chicago, where he studied at the Chicago Conservatory of Music and played drums in local nightclubs. By the mid-1960s he had become a fixture in the studios of Chess, the city’s leading record company, recording with Etta James, Fontella Bass and others.

In 1966 he replaced Red Holt in the pianist Ramsey Lewis’s trio, which, with records like “The ‘In’ Crowd,” had become one of the few jazz groups to crack the upper levels of the pop charts in the 1960s.

“Ramsey helped shape my musical vision beyond just the music,” Mr. White said. “I learned about performance and staging.”

Mr. White left the Lewis trio in 1969 to form a group with two friends, Wade Flemons and Don Whitehead. That group, the Salty Peppers, had only moderate success. After moving to Los Angeles, Mr. White renamed it Earth, Wind & Fire (after the three elements in his astrological sign), revamped the personnel and signed with Warner Bros. Records.

The band’s records for Warner Bros. attracted some attention, but Earth, Wind & Fire did not break through to worldwide success until Mr. White shuffled the personnel yet again and signed with Columbia. The group first reached the pop Top 40 in 1974 with “Mighty Mighty” and had its first and only No. 1 pop hit, “Shining Star,” a year later.

All told, Earth, Wind & Fire had 16 Top 40 singles, won six Grammys and sold an estimated 90 million albums. Mr. White also won an individual Grammy for his arrangement of “Got to Get You Into My Life” in 1979.

The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Mr. White was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.

His survivors include his brothers Verdine and Fred, both of whom were members of Earth, Wind and Fire for many years. Complete information on survivors was not immediately available.

Mr. White was proud of his accomplishments as a musician. But he always saw his mission as more than just entertaining people.

“It’s important to put the emphasis on the positive aspect,” he told The Chicago Tribune in 1985. “I have learned that music helps a lot of people survive, and they want songs that can give them something — I guess you could call it hope.”

Liam Stack and Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.

13051: BHM 2016—Coca-Cola.

Coke continues its Pay It Forward scholarship promotion—although it seems odd to require product purchase to gain eligibility. Coke Adds Restrictions®.

13050: Ghetto Blasting.

AgencySpy gossiped that multiple White advertising agencies across the country held meetings to “specifically address” the Campbell Ewald racist incident which resulted in firings and the potential loss of a major client. Presumably, the shops discussed the imperative to prevent similar scenarios from taking place. Really? By golly, let’s be sure to avoid openly displaying bigoted behavior. Heaven knows it’s so easy to make a slip—especially during Black History Month. Come on, people, we worked through Martin Luther King, Jr. Day without messing up. We can be civil—even if we lack a basic understanding of Civil Rights.

Friday, February 05, 2016

13049: BHM 2016—USPS.

For BHM, the United States Postal Service mailed it in with commemorative stamps.