Sunday, July 13, 2014

11954: Cause Marketing From Hypocrites.

Adweek reported on the trend of advertising agencies showing interest in cause marketing. Apparently, “the emergence of the millennials”—an audience with do-gooder tendencies—helped motivate the integration of cause marketing into agency service offerings. Popular causes include environmental affairs, feminist issues, and LGBT rights. Now, what makes this all so despicable is Madison Avenue’s historic willingness to service clients who have hurt the environment (e.g., Dow, BP, Monsanto, etc.). More outrageous is the industry’s continuing discriminatory practices—especially against women and minorities. To top it off, advertising agencies have admitted cluelessness when trying to insert millennials into their ranks. Any agency selling expertise in cause marketing should first be required to publicly display their records regarding any of the topics above. Otherwise, clients should have a cause for concern.

Agencies Increase Focus on Cause Marketing

Young & Rubicam’s Inspire practice is latest example

By Erik Oster

Cause marketing is a growing trend in advertising, as agencies seek to align the brands they represent with social causes customers care about. The growing agency focus on cause marketing is now larger than ever, as evidenced by WPP’s Young & Rubicam Group’s decision to open a practice called Young & Rubicam Group Inspire entirely devoted to advertising with a cause.

Young & Rubicam Inspire is “drawing upon employees at several of the more than a dozen units of the Young & Rubicam Group, among them the public relations agencies Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe, the branding agency Landor Associates, the public affairs agency Penn Schoen Berland, the digital agency VML, the direct marketing agency Wunderman and, of course, the advertising agency Y&R,” reported The New York Times. The new practice already has a presence online and on Twitter, and Young & Rubicam has been considering forming such a practice for three years, according to chairman and CEO Peter Stringham. Stringham told The New York Times that the realization that such a practice was necessary was accelerated by “the emergence of the millennials,” now seemingly advertising’s favorite target demographic, adding that “what the younger generation does washes back into the general population.”

He pointed to Trish Wheaton, managing partner for global new business at Y&R, as the principal advocate for forming the new practice. Wheaton identified the goal of the organization as meeting consumers’ “high expectations about the companies they do business with and the brands they will be loyal to,” while offering “a multidisciplinary approach that is unique, powerful.” While the practice is starting small in its early stages, Wheaton is hopeful that it will grow over time. “Right now, we’re pulling together teams that have expertise to work on a given initiative,” she said. “In due course, we would hope we will be successful enough to have some dedicated full-time employees.”

Young & Rubicam Inspire is the latest example showing that cause marketing can no longer be ignored. Others include Havas PR’s recent Havas Worldwide Climate Practice and Publicis Groupe’s recent acquisition of Salterbaxter, which The New York Times describes as “a consultancy that specializes in advising marketers and brands on sustainability.”

Popular causes in advertising include environmental concerns, feminist issues, and LGBT rights. Pride month saw a wealth of campaigns from brands including Burger King, YouTube and Lucky Charms. Female empowerment campaigns included Dove’s award-winning “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign and Always’ recent viral success “Like A Girl.” Criticism surrounding another Dove campaign, “Beauty Patches,” demonstrates the hazards of cause marketing: appearing insincere, or even tone-deaf and offensive.

Consumers have a natural skepticism about brands allying themselves with causes, and it takes tact to appear to not be using the cause solely for financial gain. Environmental ads are routinely labeled “greenwashing,” with Coca-Cola a notorious offender in the eyes of many groups. The terms “pinkwashing” and “rainbow washing” have also sprung up, to describe ads that capitalize on women’s issues and LGBT issues. As cause marketing becomes more prevalent, consumer skepticism will only increase and such campaigns will need to be handled with expert care on the part of advertisers, and backed by meaningful initiatives from brands.

As Stringham put it, “People trying to pull the wool over shareholders’ eyes or consumers’ eyes is not something we want to take part in. There is nothing we can do that masks the truth.”

Saturday, July 12, 2014

11953: WTF NRA.

The NRA proclaims: We’re the longest-standing civil rights organization in the U.S. Okay, but how many true civil rights heroes have lost their lives via gunfire?

Friday, July 11, 2014

11952: Cumia Commentary.

Wonder if Anthony Cumia—formerly of The Opie & Anthony Show on SiriusXM—will be asked to serve as a character witness for Donald Sterling. Gawker posted samples of Cumia’s Twitter rant, and it’s not pretty. Gotta believe even Don Imus would shun the shock jock. The culturally clueless, misogynistic moron deserved to get bitch slapped—and pink-slipped.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

11951: Miami Ad Fools.

Is Miami Ad School preparing students for life in the real advertising industry with courses in insensitivity and cultural cluelessness?

From Ads of the World.

11950: Sex Harassment Down Under.

There’s something about this Australian campaign against sexual harassment that doesn’t feel right. It’s trying too hard to be clever with an unfunny subject. Plus, advertising people creating messages to fight sexual harassment demonstrates hypocrisy of the highest order. What’s next? Diversity recruitment ads?

From Ads of the World.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

11949: Pam El Drafted By NBA.

Advertising Age reported Pam El—formerly of State Farm Insurance—has been named CMO of the NBA. Guess her promotional connections with Chris Paul and LeBron James paid off. No comment or congratulatory voicemail yet from former L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Pam El Named NBA CMO

Former State Farm Marketer Calls New Job a ‘Dream Come True’

By E.J. Schultz

The National Basketball Association has hired former State Farm marketing executive Pam El as its chief marketing officer.

Ms. El will report directly to NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum and oversee the league’s global marketing operation, “directing brand development, overall marketing and advertising for the NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League,” according to a statement from the NBA.

The NBA has not had a CMO since the 1990s, when the position was held by Rick Welts, who is currently the president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors, according to the NBA. Most recently, the league’s top marketing position was filled by Jamie Gallo, whose title was exec VP-marketing. Mr. Gallo, a former ad agency executive, left the NBA in January.

Ms. El left State Farm about a year ago after an 11-year run. Most recently she served as VP-marketing.

Mr. Tatum said in a statement said that he had “personally worked with Pam for many years on the NBA’s partnership with State Farm,” adding that, “she will be a huge addition as we work to build our brand on a global scale.”

Ms El referred to her new role as “a dream come true,” saying in a statement that “I love the competitiveness of the game and admire the league’s world-class teams and passionate global fanbase.”

She will start work on Aug. 18.

11948: Chocolate City Mayor Nuts.

From The New York Times…

Ray Nagin, Former New Orleans Mayor, Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

By Allen M. Johnson Jr. and Campbell Robertson

NEW ORLEANS — C. Ray Nagin, the former mayor of New Orleans, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday on federal corruption charges, ending a case that began with the rebuilding of the city after Hurricane Katrina.

The sentence was less than the recommended 15 years, but Judge Ginger Berrigan of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana told the court that the evidence failed to show that Mr. Nagin had organized or had been a leader of a corruption scheme.

“Mr. Nagin claimed a much, much smaller share of the profits of the crime than any other member of the group,” Judge Berrigan said, referring to the businessmen who profited from the scheme. The judge said that Mr. Nagin’s leadership was much needed after Hurricane Katrina but that it had also been lagging.

Prosecutors objected to the sentence, a move that could set up an appeal.

Mr. Nagin, who will remain out on bond, hugged family and friends after the sentencing, and was quickly driven away from the courtroom. “I’m trusting God is going to work all this out,” he said during sentencing. The judge ordered him to report for prison no later than Sept. 8.

Reaction was swift, and mixed.

“I think that he got off lightly considering the violations of the public trust,” said Edward E. Chervenak, a political science professor at the University of New Orleans and a critic of Mr. Nagin during his eight years as mayor.

“I think he should have gotten more time,” says Michelle Alford, 37, a native of New Orleans and a hotel employee. “He did nothing to benefit the city. I think he should have gotten 20 years at least. I think it’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous.”

A longtime civil rights advocate in New Orleans, Jerome Smith, said he offered Mr. Nagin words of encouragement after the sentencing. “I just let him know that he has spiritual support,” Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Nagin, a Democrat, was found guilty in February on 20 counts, most relating to kickbacks from contractors looking for city work. He was arrested in January 2013, nearly three years after he left office. He was charged with taking kickbacks in the form of cash, cross-country trips or help with the family-run granite countertop company; the bribes were handed out by men looking for city business ranging from software supplies to sidewalk repair. Many of the schemes, though not all, took place after Hurricane Katrina, when contractors crowded into the city for rebuilding work.

Many of those involved eventually pleaded guilty and testified at length against Mr. Nagin at his trial.

The corruption had been so thoroughly covered in the local news media that few people were surprised by the verdicts in February. Mr. Nagin had come into office in 2002 as a reformer from the business world and a foe of cronyism. But the city grew frustrated with his stewardship, particularly in his second term when the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina stalled and Mr. Nagin seemed unengaged. By the time he left office in 2010, many in New Orleans had moved past frustration and were simply ready to see him go.

Throughout the trial the courtroom was half-empty, except for a riveting two days when Mr. Nagin took the stand and denied everything, at times with a glib dismissal. At one point he even refused to recognize his own signature on receipts that federal prosecutors displayed on a large screen.

In a court filing urging a stiff sentence, federal prosecutors had described Mr. Nagin’s testimony as “a performance that can only be summed up by his astounding unwillingness to accept any responsibility,” and listed in detail 22 instances in which they said he had lied on the witness stand. As they had at trial, prosecutors also contrasted Mr. Nagin’s attention to detail in some of the kickback schemes with what many came to see as his lackadaisical stewardship in office.

“These repeated violations, at the expense of the citizens of New Orleans in a time when honest leadership was needed most, do not deserve leniency,” wrote Matthew M. Coman, an assistant United States attorney.

Robert Jenkins, the lawyer representing Mr. Nagin, had urged leniency, arguing that Mr. Nagin has a “completely sterling record” outside of the convictions and that the behavior described at trial is a “complete aberration to his otherwise outstanding life.”

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

11947: Sorrell’s Spotty Trendspotting.

WPP Overlord Sir Martin Sorrell published a perspective titled, “The 10 Trends Shaping the Global Ad Business” via LinkedIn—which immediately begs the question why Sir Marty is on the social site with nearly 108,500 followers. That’s a lot of WPP sycophants. Regardless, one must also wonder if the amazing JWT Trendspotting Crew helped their boss type the piece. Of particular disinterest is the following excerpt:

2. Supply exceeds demand—except in talent

Despite the events that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, manufacturing production still generally outstrips consumer demand. This is good news for marketing companies, because manufacturers need to invest in branding in order to differentiate their products from the competition.

Meanwhile, the war for talent, particularly in traditional Western companies, has only just begun. The squeeze is coming from two directions: declining birth rates and smaller family sizes; and the relentless rise of the web and associated digital technologies.

Simply, there will be fewer entrants to the jobs market and, when they do enter it, young people expect to work for tech-focused, more networked, less bureaucratic companies. It is hard now; it will be harder in 20 years.

To his credit, Sir Marty has previously covered the topics of talent recruitment and development in the industry, albeit mostly admitting his own companies do a lousy job in the areas. Hell, he recently lost JWT Director of Trendspotting Ann Mack to Facebook, underscoring his point about folks’ desire “to work for tech-focused, more networked, less bureaucratic companies.” Yet like the pap annually excreted by the JWT Trendspotters, Sir Marty’s pseudo thought leader puffery lacks any true vision or action plans to address the issues. Indeed, the man appears oblivious to the fact that he’s directly responsible for the trends, given his continuing success at erecting tech-fucked-up, poorly networked, brontosaur-like bureaucracies.

Monday, July 07, 2014

11946: Red Lobster’s Endless Shit.

Advertising Age reported Red Lobster chose Publicis Kaplan Thaler as its new “creative” shop. Red Lobster Senior VP-Marketing Mark Gilley claimed the decision was based in part on the work PKT has done for Wendy’s that “broke conventions”—but completely failed to brake sales skids. Why doesn’t Red Lobster simply ‘fess up and admit it doesn’t give a shit about creative? Endless account reviews ultimately lead to Endless Shrimp promotions.

Red Lobster Names Publicis Kaplan Thaler Creative Agency

Marketing Chief Says Shop’s ‘Convention Breaking’ Wendy’s Work Was Factor in Decision

By Maureen Morrison

Red Lobster has named Publicis Kaplan Thaler its lead creative agency.

The move comes two months after the chain put its account into review, a move that was prompted by Red Lobster’s impending departure from parent company Darden. WPP’s Grey had handled the business since 2010, when it won the account from Richards Group.

Grey, which created the chain’s “Sea Food Differently” tagline, did not participate in the latest go-round, but the agency still fields creative for Darden sibling brands Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse. SMG’s Spark handles Red Lobster’s media.

The review, which began in April, had been whittled down to a contest among four shops: Interpublic’s Martin Agency, and indie agencies Olson and Barkley. Pile & Co. oversaw the process.

Mark Gilley, senior VP-marketing at Red Lobster, noted that the chain chose Publicis Kaplan Thaler because of its creative pitches, its existing work and digital and social strategy, the last of which is an particularly important element for Red Lobster as it moves more marketing dollars into digital. He added that the agency’s work for Wendy’s and its use of spokeswoman Red helped Red Lobster choose Publicis Kaplan Thaler because that tactic “broke conventions” in the fast-food category.

Mr. Gilley said that the chain has been pleased with the current “Sea Food Differently” tagline, though he said it’s not certain whether the line will remain with Publicis Kaplan Thaler. He expects the first campaign from the new shop to debut later in the first half of 2015.

Darden said U.S. same-restaurant sales in the most recent quarter increased 2.4% at LongHorn Steakhouse, declined 3.5% at Olive Garden and slid 5.6% at Red Lobster. Red Lobster’s U.S. systemwide sales were down 3.1% to $2.4 billion in 2013, according to Technomic, which ranks the chain as the 26th largest in the country.

Darden in December said it planned to sell or spin off the struggling Red Lobster brand, responding to pressure from an activist hedge fund trying to boost the stock price. In May, the chain announced it would sell Red Lobster to private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion.

It’s unclear what Golden Gate Capital has in mind for Red Lobster. But before the sale was announced in December, Darden CEO Clarence Otis said that marketing spending for the chain would decrease, because as a percentage of sales, “it’s floated up higher than is sustainable, and that’s going to be a key focus area for the new Red Lobster going forward.”

Mr. Otis said then that as the company ramps up digital-marketing capabilities for its brands, “we would expect our television marketing expenses to scale down dramatically.”

Red Lobster is the 114th biggest brand in terms of U.S. spending, according to Ad Age’s DataCenter. In 2013, the chain spent $156.2 million in U.S. measured media, down from $159.6 million in 2012.

11945: Extra! Extra! Offensive! Ignorance!

From The New York Post…

Obama called the N-word in headline

By Kevin Fasick and Laura Italiano

The WHAT in the White House?

Well-heeled West Villagers will be in for a rude surprise when they open the latest copy of their local newspaper and see the headline, “The N----r in the White House” — except without the dashes.

The shocking headline in the WestView News is a reference to President Obama and sits at the top of Page 15 above an opinion piece that criticizes what it calls the anti-black “racism” of far-right voters.

The convoluted screed by author and journalist James Lincoln Collier is actually a pro-Obama piece — but that didn’t stop West Villagers from decrying the printing of the slur.

“It’s disrespectful in any context to refer to the president of the United States as the N-word,” said one West Villager, Eugene May.

“If you were quoting something or referring to the historic context of the word being used, I can understand the justification,” said May, 31.

Any ironic intent in calling Obama by the word was no consolation, he said.

“It seems he’s just using it for shock value,” May added.

Fellow West Villager Joe Megie, a self-described “black Republican,” also blasted the headline.

“My first take is, it’s sad,” said Megie, 38, the CFO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

What, neighbors wondered, was the neighborhood monthly’s 86-year-old editor/publisher, George Capsis, thinking?

“The editorial staff continues to object” to the use of the word, Capsis writes in a head-scratcher of an explanation.

“In this article, however, Jim reminded me that The New York Times avoids using the word which convinced me that WestView should,” he added.

Collier “wanted to use the word” to “shock us into accepting that there are people who believe and use this outrageous word,” Capsis went on.

In the piece, Collier, an author of novels for young adults, complains that “far-right voters hate Obama because he is black.”

“The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism,” the piece reads, going on to condemn how “America’s increasing tolerance of far-right opinion has made racism more acceptable.”

Capsis, who did not respond to email and voicemail requests for comment on Saturday, must have been expecting backlash from the toxic header.

Below the piece ran another op-ed, written by an African-American columnist and titled, “The Headline Offends Me.”

“The decision to use the headline feels misguided to me,” Alvin Hall writes. “I don’t see how its use benefits anyone, but I do feel all too clearly how it deeply offends me.”

Capsis is no stranger to controversy. Last year, he slapped state Sen. Brad Hoylman in the face at a rally for mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, whom he blamed for causing the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital.