Friday, October 31, 2014

12179: Data Freaks.

This sort of data would be helpful for dojos in office buildings holding book clubs…?

12178: No Honor In Racism.

Red Circle delivered a strong message in simple fashion to create No Honor in Racism.

12177: TV Break Into The Business.

Campaign published a blurb saluting an initiative to help students who have struggled to break into the advertising business:

Things we like: ITV2 giving young people a shot at advertising

We all know the dangers of a one-dimensional workforce, so full credit to ITV2 for appointing Commercial Break to respond to a youth-focused brief. The not-for-profit organisation is challenging the traditional recruitment process by giving 18- to 24-year-olds who have struggled to find a career in the industry a unique opportunity to be part of a London-based “pop-up” creative agency. Seven of them have been selected to work on a real-life brief from the channel.

“We all know the dangers of a one-dimensional workforce…” Um, based on the reports, U.K. advertising agencies have no reservations whatsoever creating a one-dimensional, exclusive workforce. There is no recognition of danger at all. Meanwhile, it’s hard to tell if the Commercial Break initiative is exclusive too; that is, did they target White kids who’ve struggled to break into the business?

12176: McScary Halloween Concept.

Handing out sugary, processed candy during Halloween isn’t bad enough? Mickey D’s suggests salt-loaded fries too? Now, that’s fucking scary.

From Ads of the World.

12175: Rejecting Kraft Digital Insight.

Advertising Age published another story featuring Kraft Director of Data, Content and Media Julie Fleischer stating the painfully obvious without actually realizing it. Last month, Fleischer revealed Kraft content gets four times better ROI than advertising. No shit, Sherlock. Now she declared Kraft rejects up to 85 percent of digital advertising impressions because of quality concerns. Um, the rejection percentage sounds a little low. But it shouldn’t have anything to do with being “fraudulent, unsafe or non-viewable or unknown,” as Fleischer insisted. Rather, the overwhelming majority of digital advertising goes unnoticed. Digital advertising—especially as practiced and executed by advertisers like Kraft—shouldn’t even appear on the World Wide Web. People go online seeking content, information, entertainment and porn; hence, banner ads for, say, Kraft® Macaroni & Cheese become background annoyances that people completely disregard—unless there is a blatant offer involving a recipe or money-saving coupon. Or porn. Similar to typical Kraft banner ads, Fleischer’s declarations on digital advertising deserve to be ignored.

Kraft Says It Rejects 75% to 85% of Digital Ad Impressions Due to Quality Concerns

Big Spending Advertiser Wants No Part of Fraud

By Alex Kantrowitz

Concerns over ad fraud, viewability and overall inventory murkiness are causing Kraft to reject up to 85% of all impressions offered via real-time ad marketplaces, Kraft’s Julie Fleischer said today at the Ad Age Data Conference in New York.

The massive number reveals that talk of digital advertising supply-chain corruption is indeed leading to action among top brands. Kraft, one of Ad Age’s 100 leading national advertisers, spent $35.9 million on digital advertising in 2013, according to Ad Age Datacenter.

“That 75% to 85% is either deemed to be fraudulent, unsafe or non-viewable or unknown,” Ms. Fleischer, the company’s director of data, content and media, said, referring to the rejected impressions. “Think about what this means for us as an industry. When we’re rejecting 75% to 85% of the impressions available, that’s a problem.”

Kraft’s stance is quite different from the one Association of National Advertisers President-CEO Bob Liodice recently described encountering when he first brought up the issue of fraud to the ANA board two years ago. Back then, he recently said, “there was, I’d say less of an urgency to move this forward.”

Ms. Fleischer said Kraft only dug into this analysis last month, and called the number “remarkable” in [this video interview]. She also discussed whether the rejection of so much inventory leads to higher prices.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

12174: Wondering About Whiteness.

In his recent USA TODAY interview, Silicon Valley Pioneer Ken Coleman wondered, “The real question is, what might I have done or been if I had been White?” Madison Avenue Pioneer Roy Eaton was told at his first interview, “If you were White, I’d hire you immediately.”

Another question to consider: “What if all of Coleman’s and/or Eaton’s White peers had been Black (or held to the standards placed upon Blacks)?” Imagine how some of the Whites might have fared if they had been restricted, scrutinized and judged—and expected to perform at the same ultra-extraordinary levels as Black executives of the times.

Stereotypical gripes surrounding diversity include the concern that hiring minorities would lessen the quality of the overall workforce. This belief is pure bullshit. Eaton, for example, was far more than a jingle writer—he was a renowned, classically trained composer and musician. His mother inspired him with the notion of doing 200% to get credit for 100%. If White candidates had been required to match Eaton’s credentials and qualifications—and consistently deliver 200% for 100% credit—just think of how high the quality of the overall workforce would have risen.

Perhaps the question should simply be, “What might I have done or been if I had not faced institutionalized discrimination and racism from Whites?”

12173: Marvel Makes More Movies.

From The New York Times…

Marvel Unveils an Ambitious Roster of Films, With a Bit of Diversity

By Brooks Barnes

LOS ANGELES — It’s Marvel’s world. The rest of Hollywood just lives in it.

Following the release of 10 back-to-back blockbusters — not counting more than a dozen smash hits starring Marvel characters but produced by outside studios — Marvel Entertainment on Tuesday announced a lineup of nine new movies.

Marvel will notably devote entire films to a female character, Captain Marvel, and to an African superhero, the Black Panther.

After revealing the roster of films, which includes a two-part “Avengers: Infinity War,” Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, told a packed El Capitan Theater here, “As you can see, we have a hell of a lot of work to do.”

Shares of the Walt Disney Company, which owns Marvel, climbed nearly 2 percent after the announcement, closing at $89.93. Investors like long-term film-franchise building because it greatly lessens the risk of fluctuations in studio financial results. Wall Street now knows Marvel’s plans through mid-2019.

Marvel’s announcement came two weeks after DC Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros., unveiled its own roster of nine new superhero films. Add the Marvel and DC slates to plans by other studios to keep mining the comic book genre, and Hollywood is on track to deliver 29 superhero movies in the next six years.

Can the marketplace absorb the glut? Some media analysts warn that superhero fatigue is already setting in, but Mr. Feige brushed aside concerns. “If the movies deliver in terms of quality, they will succeed,” he said.

When DC confirmed its slate — single movies will be devoted to Aquaman, Wonder Woman and, in a redo, the Green Lantern — Mr. Feige said Marvel’s reaction was: “Let’s stick to our plan. Let’s do what the audience is telling us we’re doing right.”

Marvel’s 10-movie run, which started in 2008, has been worth $7 billion at the box office; DVDs, TV reruns and merchandise have generated billions of dollars more.

The new Marvel movies for 2016 are “Doctor Strange,” which is expected to star Benedict Cumberbatch, and “Captain America: Civil War,” which will co-star Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and introduce Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther. Following, in 2017, will be “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Black Panther.”

In 2018, Marvel will release the first of the two “Avengers: Infinity War” movies; “Captain Marvel,” based around a not-yet-cast superheroine named Carol Danvers, who has cosmic powers; and “Inhumans,” a film that Mr. Feige said would introduce “tons” of new characters and is envisioned as “a franchise and perhaps a series of franchises.”

Mr. Feige said a version of Tuesday’s splashy announcement event — taking the stage were Mr. Downey, Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, and Mr. Boseman — was supposed to have happened at Comic-Con International in July. But Marvel decided to wait in part to see how audiences responded to the unknown characters in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which arrived in August. It now ranks as the year’s No. 1 domestic movie.

12172: Dirt Via Miami Ad School.

The only thing worse than the hackneyed instruction delivered to Miami Ad School students across the country? The hackneyed instruction delivered to Miami Ad School students in Brazil.

From Ads of the World.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

12171: Clippers Vanilla TV Spot.

The new White advertising agency for the Los Angeles Clippers—RPA—unveiled its first TV commercial sporting the tagline, “Be Relentless.” Okey-doke. It’s the standard sports anthem message, featuring standard sports filmmaking. Why is advertising for local professional sports teams so tired and predictable? Seems like the Clippers have more uniqueness to offer than this, especially given the kind of spots Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have delivered for other advertisers. The suggestion to hire a minority AOR was ignored, yet what does RPA really bring to the table? The place isn’t even headquartered in Los Angeles. While the commercial is professionally executed, it presents a vanilla and white-bread concept. And in the end, being relentless is pointless if the squad can’t beat the Oklahoma City Thunder or San Antonio Spurs.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

12170: Costs Of Cultural Cluelessness.

Campaign reported on the high price of talent turnover for advertising agencies—with shops poaching employees, elevating salaries when luring people who worked on the latest hot campaign and failing to properly train staffers. Agencies love to talk about diversity. Yet far more time, money and resources are put towards exclusivity. Hey, maintaining the predominately White male status quo is expensive. The Campaign story even touched on exploding digital salaries, which are arguably fueled by traditional advertising agencies’ ignorance in the digital arena. There is growing data to prove that the industry’s discriminatory hiring practices are not only outdated, but also putting us out of business. As always, no one has the courage, conviction or common sense to do the right thing. Instead, the cost of cultural cluelessness keeps rising.

Talent turnover is costing ad industry dear

Poor staff retention rates can be expensive, and agencies must try harder to hang on to their star players. John Tylee reports from the IPA Adaptathon.

The high cost to Britain’s agencies of their failure to retain staff has been laid bare at an IPA symposium, which also heard a plea from the organisation’s president for the industry to form a united front in order to become a talent magnet.

Ian Priest’s call to end a destructive industry war, in which costs have spiralled as agencies poach the best talent from each other, came as he pointed out that the churn among agency staff currently averages 30 per cent a year.

This is 20 per cent more than the average across British industry as a whole.

Speaking at the IPA Adaptathon, the VCCP founding partner acknowledged that adland’s staff retention record was “pretty bad”, adding: “We need to act together to attract talent – and we need to co-operate better as a group to celebrate that talent.”

Figures revealed at the Adaptathon show high turnover is having a major impact, costing the advertising and media industries an estimated £184 million a year.

The research also suggests that, as well as the disruption caused when senior staff depart, it can take up to 20 weeks for a replacement to fully get to grips with the job. It is calculated that the cost of replacing a middle manager can be up to 150 per cent of their annual salary. For senior managers, the figure can be between 200 and 400 per cent.

Sydney Hunsdale, a consultant and the former chief financial officer at VivaKi EMEA, warns: “[Staff] turn-over is the biggest financial drain on our business. We don’t perform to the level we should because people are going out of the door. We steal from each other and have to pay more each time we do so.”

Another expert warns that throwing money at staff isn’t the answer. Max Blumberg is the chief executive of a group of consultants working to improve organisational performance. He says: “Most people overestimate the importance of compensation on an employee’s performance. Doubling somebody’s salary doesn’t double the level of performance. It’s more about creating an attractive working environment. That includes providing the latest cool technology for younger staff.”

The battle for talent is particularly fierce in the digital sector, where a limited supply of expertise is driving up agency wage bills. Four out of five companies report difficulties in attracting data analysts, according to Juan Mateos-Garcia, a research fellow at the charity Nesta. He says the problem has been made worse by data specialists often not having the right skills mix: “It’s not just another IT job.”

He adds that it is difficult for would-be employers to pick the winners because they have no experience in the field: “How do you evaluate people? Can they actually do what they say they can? How can you assess them when you haven’t done it yourself? Also, there’s a need to change the perception of data jobs as being uncreative and boring.”

As social media now enables agencies’ employee relations to be revealed to all, Blumberg urges agency chiefs to be “hands-on” and transparent in their actions.

Agencies also needed to map out career paths for all their staff, not just potential leaders, and Hunsdale suggests agency HR departments are spending too much time on hiring and not enough on education and training.

And, according to Sarah Baumann, Leo Burnett’s group talent strategy director: “Creatives need as much training as account handlers.”

Hunsdale adds that it is also important for agencies to recognise that younger staff are eager to have their basic salaries augmented by “risk” bonuses that reward innovation. “Agencies with higher retention rates consistently outperform those with high turnovers,” she says. “See what motivates your employees and feed that motivation. You have to set goals to reduce turnover – and managements have to be held accountable for this.”

Monday, October 27, 2014

12169: Poised For Pity.

Continue to strongly believe that students at portfolio centers like Miami Ad School receive really hackneyed direction from instructors. It’s never a good idea to do bad campaigns for obscure products and services.

12168: Publicis Prank-N-Stein…?

Missed the news reported by Advertising Age that changes at Razorfish include the end-of-year departure of CEO Pete Stein. Bwahahahaha! Please tell us more about the imperative for recruiting and retaining talent, Mr. Stein. This, incidentally, is why digital agencies are suffering, despite any hype being generated by internal PR departments. The revolving doors-musical chairs at the senior levels are ridiculous. Stein’s two decades at Razorfish are an anomaly. He’s probably a really great guy and leader getting caught up in Publicis’ politics and pathetic reengineering.

12167: Trashing Total Toyota.

Caught three Camry commercials that are presumably part of the inaugural Total Toyota campaign.

The Bucket List Trip appears to be targeting Whites and maybe baby boomers, as a son and father (?) drive through a predominately White version of New Orleans.

The Fix fixates on the Asian market, taking a Jackie Chan-action-adventure approach to chasing down an ice cream truck for one’s pregnant wife.

Time to Celebrate caters to Latinos, with a husband celebrating his wife’s MBA (because education is so important to Latinos!) by staging an after-hours joyride through a carnival. Oh, how those Latinos love to break the law.

It’s still totally unclear how the minority agencies collaborated with the lead White agency—Saatchi & Saatchi—to create this shit. Across the board, it looks like Whites selected the talent. The film quality is consistent, indicating a single director and/or production house may have handled everything.

Exactly how does everyone—from agencies to clients to dealers to consumers—benefit from Total Toyota? Right now, things smell like total bullshit.

12166: Annoying Infiniti Updates.

Adweek updated its report on Infiniti choosing Crispin Porter + Bogusky as its new global White advertising agency. The updates included elaborating on a couple of points from the original story such as:

In its final stages, the review became a battle among relatively small agencies, some of which have scant or no presence outside the U.S. For example, one contender, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, operates only in America and would have opened offices overseas to service the account.

Likewise, Crispin partnered with recently acquired sister shop The House to help meet Infiniti’s geographical needs. Crispin also plans to open a full-service office in Shanghai and an office for planners and account management staffers in Hong Kong, according to CEO Andrew Keller. The House, in turn, will offer “ground support” in other regions, Keller added.

Now, what makes these points both annoying and outrageous is the way that White agencies receive special dispensation when lacking qualifications. It’s all part of a phenomenon MultiCultClassics dubbed Corporate Cultural Collusion.

Minority agencies are routinely and systematically eliminated from competitions—global, general market, local, etc.—for lacking experience and global resources. White agencies never face similar restrictions. In fact, White agencies are allowed to simply partner with and/or buy agencies in foreign markets where they have zero expertise. Plus, holding companies will even fabricate White agencies from scratch to appease a potential client.

It must be noted, too, that Crispin Porter + Bogusky caught heat in 2012 for a Canadian Bic commercial featuring culturally clueless Asian imagery.

The inequities in the advertising industry continue to extend to Infiniti and beyond.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

12165: Infiniti’s New White Agency.

Adweek reported Infiniti selected Crispin Porter + Bogusky as its new White advertising agency. No word yet on non-White duties. Whatever happened with the multicultural enterprise Omnicom invented for Nissan in 2008 to comply with the automaker’s requirement for certified minority ownership? To date, CP+B has only demonstrated certifiable cultural cluelessness.

Infiniti, at Last, Picks a New Global Lead Agency

Automaker spends $450 million in media annually

By Andrew McMains, Noreen O’Leary

Infiniti, in a long-running review that lived up to its name, has selected Crispin Porter + Bogusky to lead its global creative efforts, according to sources.

Crispin, a unit of MDC Partners, succeeds Omnicom Group’s TBWA, which had handled the business since 1998. Crispin referred calls to Infiniti, which had no immediate comment. But sources said that the automaker had told the remaining contenders of its decision.

Account revenue is estimated at $30 million and in term of media, the brand spends around $450 million annually, according to Infiniti’s initial request for proposals.

In its final stages, the review became a battle among relatively small agencies, some of which have scant or no presence outside the U.S. For example, one contender, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, currently operates only in America and would have opened offices overseas to service the account. Likewise, Crispin is partnering with recently acquired sister shop The House to meet Infiniti’s geographical needs.

Sources previously identified the other contenders as Anomaly and Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Infiniti executives briefed Anomaly but the shop exited before final presentations last month, sources said. And after those presentations, the execs narrowed their focus to Crispin and Goodby.

Even before Infiniti, the luxury division of Nissan, hired Roth Observatory International to manage its search in the spring, the car company had talked to agencies interested in its business. In fact, sources said that those conversations began late last year.

The stakes are high for Infiniti, which has ambitious growth plans but whose U.S. sales lag far behind brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. Through the first nine months of 2015, Infiniti ranked seventh among luxury marks in the U.S., with unit sales of just 84,880, according to Autodata Corp. In the same period, market leader BMW sold 236,591 vehicles, slightly ahead of Mercedes, at 233,210 units, and Lexus, at 220,683 units, Autodata reported.

In its rfp, Infiniti said its goal was to be a “provocateur that owns the future of the premium car category by winning the hearts of young-minded premium consumers [though] seductive styling, attitude, exhilarating performance, emotive design and intuitive technology.” Well, now the company has a new agency to take up that charge.

12164: Johnnie Walker Walking…?

BrandRepublic reported Johnnie Walker launched a review for its global advertising account, currently with Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Old-School Adman Sir John Hegarty must be irked, as the client has recently tapped non-traditional agencies like Anomaly to produce awful videos starring Jude Law, unintentionally diluting the overall brand image. If Anomaly becomes a contender in the competition, it mostly proves that generating breakthrough creative is not the primary goal of the pitch. It also shows that the industry is in a truly fucked-up state.

Johnnie Walker calls global ad review

By Louise Jack

Johnnie Walker, the Diageo-owned whisky brand, is reviewing its global advertising account.

The process is at an early stage, with the company having just sent out requests for information.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty has held the business since 1999 and said it would “vigorously defend” the business. BBH was responsible for the “keep walking” strapline that has run in more than 100 markets since 2000.

Diageo is handling the process itself and has contacted a closed shortlist of agencies, including BBH, to participate.

Guy Escolme, the global brand director at Johnnie Walker, said: “The brand’s relationship with BBH has been hugely successful, with the agency producing award-winning work of outstanding creativity.

“As the market leader, Johnnie Walker feels the time is right to invite selected agencies, including BBH, to look at how we take the brand forward into the future.”

BBH recently appointed Joakim Borgström as lead creative on the global Johnnie Walker business. He joined from Goodby Silverstein & Partners earlier this month.

The whisky brand also works with other agencies; for example, Anomaly New York created “the gentleman’s wager”, which features Jude Law dancing and was directed by Jake Scott through RSA Films.

12163: Ken Coleman On Diversity.

From USA TODAY…

Tech pioneer Ken Coleman talks diversity

By Marco della Cava, USA TODAY

PALO ALTO, Calif. – As a pioneering African-American in the land of tech, Ken Coleman has earned the respect of venture capitalists and the friendship of presidents.

And yet as a black man in America, Coleman shudders when police lights flash.

“When I’m stopped I want to say, ‘I’m not what you think, I’ve got an MBA, I live in Los Altos Hills, I own a home in Maui.’ I want to say that,” says Coleman, 69. “Because I know through experience that person might have an image of what I might be and view me as dangerous. And to not feel that way would be foolish.”

The duality of such an existence would enrage many. But Coleman has guided his personal and professional life with a simple philosophy: “You will experience lots of racism and prejudice. But you can’t look under the bed for it, because then it becomes an obstacle to your success.”

That mantra saw the son of a Centralia, Ill., maid and a heater-factory laborer graduate from Ohio State University and become one of the first African-Americans in Silicon Valley when he joined Hewlett-Packard in the ‘70s as a human resources exec.

Leadership roles at Silicon Graphics followed, where Coleman hired a summer intern by the name of Ben Horowitz, co-founder of VC powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz. The firm recently named Coleman as a special adviser with a mission to both counsel young tech company founders and spearhead a networking effort aimed at increasing the ranks of minorities in tech.

In a blog post noting Coleman’s appointment, Horowitz called Coleman his “personal guardian angel.” But Coleman’s wingspan will need to expand as Silicon Valley grapples with the pressing issue of employee diversity. In recent months, furor over the topic has grown as firms such as Yahoo, Google and Apple divulge staffing numbers with glaring minority under-representation.

USA TODAY’s ongoing coverage of this topic has reported marked pay gaps in tech, where Hispanic, Asian and black programmers often earn $16,000, $8,000 and $4,000 less, respectively, than white counterparts, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.

A recent guest columnist, Charles Hudson, an 18-year Silicon Valley veteran and a partner at SoftTechVC, noted that he is such a rare bird that “I’ve often been confused for everyone from Google’s (chief legal officer) David Drummond to MC Hammer.”

But as one of around 500 leading African-Americans in tech today, Hudson is positively surrounded by peers when compared to Coleman’s debut decades ago. Joining HP after a stint in Korea with the Air Force, where he worked on early computers, Coleman was determined early on to increase the ranks of blacks in tech.

“We had a very aggressive recruiting program (at HP) at the collegiate level, and we did a good job of eliminating the risk concerns many people had,” he says, noting that the advice he still dispenses to any founder who asks is make sure your HR department is staffed by the very minorities you’re trying to recruit.

“Diversity doesn’t happen naturally,” he says. “Social systems, which a company is, want to reproduce themselves. If a founder went to Harvard, they’ll want to replicate that.” He adds that the argument for breaking that habit is dollars and cents.

“I don’t think diversity should be a deficit model,” he says. “It’s an opportunity model. If I know something you don’t know about the marketplace because of my staff, I will beat you. And that’s something every company out there should be concerned about.”

‘DONE WELL BY ANY MEASURE’

Coleman is the first to say he’s “done well by any measure” thanks to his career in tech, which saw him serve as COO of early Web giant Silicon Graphics and today finds him chairman of data analytics firm Saama Technologies. And yet in his mind a notable asterisk accompanies those laurels.

“The real question is, what might I have done or been if I had been white?” he says, not bitterly but rather with his ever-present smile and deep laugh. He recounts how white HP peers were asked to join company boards far earlier than he was.

Coleman’s solution? He accepted the numerous requests that came his way to join non-profit boards eager for diversity, “and then just worked it hard to show people how I could be helpful as an adviser to a company. There was no other option.”

“Ken has been a pioneering figure in Silicon Valley, but what most don’t realize is how many careers he has helped, pulling people up even if they never knew it,” says Price Cobbs, a longtime Coleman friend and corporate consultant who wrote Black Rage, a seminal ‘60s text that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

“What Ferguson (the August fury over the death of black teen Michael Brown) reawakened particularly in Ken and my generation is a desire to reconnect with communities we’re no longer in,” says Cobbs.

For Coleman, that means putting a greater emphasis on reading and STEM subjects that are gateways to jobs in the tech industry. Coleman also is quick to stress that “more than 50% of jobs in technology don’t require technology skills,” adding that his current advisor, Pinterest CEO Ben Silberman, has a graphics background.

“Look, he says, “I don’t believe white hiring managers lie in bed thinking of ways not to hire black people. The issue is, most hiring managers are trying to reduce risk. And sometimes your instinct is, ‘You’re different than me, so that’s risky.’ But that’s not the right way to think about things.”

Today, America is a nation of 320 million that is roughly 70% white, 15% Hispanic, 11% African American and 4% Asian. Someday soon, Coleman believes, this country’s technology workforce can and should break down along similar lines, compared to the current 2% of blacks and Hispanics in tech.

“Do I believe this is critical to the country? Yes,” says Coleman. “I know that if the tech companies in this valley put their mind to it, they can put a dent in it. We have some of the smartest minds around. And my avocation is simply to have whatever impact on this issue that I can.”

Saturday, October 25, 2014

12162: Why U.K. Doesn’t Get Minorities.

Campaign reported U.K. “Advertisers often avoid using ethnic minority groups in their advertising for fear of ‘getting it wrong’.” Of course, the story doesn’t touch the possibility that “fear of getting it wrong” could be directly tied to the abysmal lack of diversity and subsequent cultural cluelessness prevalent in U.K. advertising agencies. It must also be noted that the story is spotlighting a new study by Manning Gottlieb OMD regurgitating information already covered in a 2011 study by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the U.K.’s ad agency association. In short, it’s another example of recognizing a problem yet doing nothing to address it—a common phenomenon in the U.K. and U.S. advertising industries.

Brands miss out on ethnic minority youth opportunity

Advertisers often avoid using ethnic minority groups in their advertising for fear of ‘getting it wrong’.

By David Benady

Most UK advertisers continue to fail to represent Britain’s diverse ethnic groups, according to the results of a study by Manning Gottlieb OMD.

Agencies and brands were found to lack confidence when it comes to portraying ethnic minorities in ads for fear of getting it wrong and offending people.

Indeed, many of the young people from ethnic minority groups surveyed believed that, despite improvements in recent years, there are still too many clumsy racial stereotypes in advertising.

The study into the attitudes, beliefs and media behaviour of youth in the UK involved 1,700 18- to 29-year-olds from ten ethnic groups, including white Britons, as well as qualitative research.

Sixty-nine per cent of Asian youth and 75 per cent of black youth agreed that representation of ethnic groups in media, politics and the police is important. Black females feel most strongly about this, with 80 per cent agreeing.

By way of example, Unilever’s Dove ad in 2011 was famously attacked by bloggers as “unintentional racism”, which was then picked up and amplified in the Daily Mail. In the same year, Cadbury apologised to the model Naomi Campbell after comparing her to a chocolate bar in an ad for Dairy Milk Bliss. And last year, PepsiCo had to withdraw a spot for Mountain Dew after a storm of protest over allegedly racist content.

Alison Tsang, the head of insight at MG OMD who led the project, believes mistakes can happen when “there is no single person taking charge of the process so it gets through all levels”, adding: “There is a fear of getting it wrong.”

At the same time, evidence suggests that brands are missing out on opportunities by failing to target young ethnic minority consumers.

Launching the study, MG OMD’s chief executive, Robert Ffitch, says: “The research is giving key insights into the ethnic youth audience of 18- to 29-year-olds that we just don’t have and don’t know anything about – and yet they are becoming so important in our society. Our clients hardly ever talk about this group of individuals.”

By 2016, half of the ethnic minority population will be under 12, while half of the white British population will be under 40, according to research from the Runnymede Trust. Meanwhile, one in four of Generation Y will be from ethnic minority groups.

So advertisers could miss out on targeting these groups unless they understand their aspirations and desires.

The research shows they have distinct behaviour and attitudes, which could offer opportunities for brands. Youth from ethnic minority groups are more aspirational than the wider population, placing greater emphasis on status symbols such as brands and designer labels.

More than a third (34 per cent) of ethnic minority youth agreed that “having the right designer labels are important for a person’s image”, while 18 per cent of white British youth agreed.

Tsang said: “They are very much into their brands and buy them more than white youth because they are little status symbols to counteract negative stereotypes… if they look good, it is projecting a really positive image of themselves. They feel they need to work harder.”

The study chimes with the latest research from the Advertising Association, which found that only 45 per cent of the ethnic minority population think ads represent a multicultural society.

12161: Why Razorfish Lacks Talent.

Digiday published a fluff piece titled, “How Razorfish tackles the agency talent crisis”—featuring Razorfish Global CEO Pete Stein presenting the standard recruitment-retention gobbledygook. First of all, the main talent crisis at Razorfish involves a global deficit of talent. Additionally, the place has been executing “workforce reductions” pretty consistently in recent months. Stein’s breakthrough strategies include hiring interns and make zero mentions of cultural diversity—plus, he admits competitors pay more money. Oh, and today’s careers section at the Razorfish website spotlights three freelance roles. Yeah, post your résumé with Razorfish pronto.

How Razorfish tackles the agency talent crisis

By Brian Morrissey

Attracting and retaining talent is the No. 1 issue facing agencies, at least judging by the concerns shared by attendees at the Digiday Agency Summit in Austin, Texas, this week.

When asked to write down the biggest challenge they face, talent-related issues appeared the most times. For a big agency like Razorfish, which has 1,500 employees worldwide, a typical year sees one in four employees leave the agency. In China, that figure is 50 percent. Pete Stein, global CEO of Razorfish, said employee churn is simply the cost of doing business.

“Recruiting has to be a core competency,” Stein said. “You have to have a very clear recruiting strategy. We have a very robust intern program. Every year you have 80 or 100 interns who come through in the U.S. alone. We hire about 60 percent of those. You need to also focus on retention. If you can keep it down to 20 percent versus 25 percent, that’s a lot of people you don’t need to re-recruit and retrain.”

What’s more, agencies like Razorfish now face more competition than ever for digital specialists, not just from other agencies but also from the likes of Google, Facebook and startups that seemingly pop up left and right.

“You’re competing with agencies, publishers, clients, ad tech, startups,” he said. “Everybody needs the talent in this room. There is a talent crunch.”

Watch a [three-minute video clip] in which Stein discusses the talent challenge and how Razorfish builds a culture that attracts and retains the best talent.

12160: Sears & Kmart To Shut Shitload.

The New York Post reported at least 116 Sears and Kmart stores will be closed—many during the holiday season—liquidating at least 6,000 jobs. Must be a lot of employees shitting their pants right now, including the Teflon-coated hacks at FCB Chicago responsible for some of the worst advertising in the brands’ histories.

Sears to close stores, lay off workers during holidays: report

By James Covert

Eddie Lampert is preparing to deliver more lumps of coal this Christmas — more than 6,000 of them.

The billionaire chairman of Sears Holdings is preparing to close at least 116 Sears and Kmart stores, many of them during the holiday season, in a liquidation that could cost 6,067 jobs, Seeking Alpha reported.

Sears shares rose 4.5 percent Thursday on the news to close at $35.95.

Sears disputed the accuracy of the report, but didn’t provide any numbers on store closures and layoffs, saying it would do so when it reports quarterly results next month.

“Make no mistake, we believe the store will continue to play an integral role in our transformation,” Sears said in a statement. “However, if a store is not generating a profit, it is straightforward that the store should be considered for closure.”

Seeking Alpha’s report cited notices of liquidation sales sent out last month that signaled the closure of 55 Kmart stores, 30 Sears department stores and 31 Sears Auto Centers.

The stores includes two Kmart locations in New Jersey — Paramus and Randolph — where liquidation operations have already begun.