Monday, March 30, 2015

12604: Memo On Multicultural Mess.

Business Insider presented: “Here’s the Starbucks internal memo showing the ‘Race Together’ campaign was always doomed”—detailing the obvious reasons why the effort bombed, despite the coffeemaker’s insistence that all was going as planned. What is it about race and diversity that compels typically sane people to do stupid things? It appears that Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz doesn’t even understand his own business model, believing the long lines of customers waiting for over-priced beverages could accommodate the added task of chatting about culture. Give Schultz credit for not pursuing the contrived and clichéd tactics of minority barista intern programs or tax-deductible donations to ADCOLOR®. But #RaceTogether became #RaceToFailure in record time.

Memo to Howard Schultz: There were better ways to leverage the Starbucks experience to engage audiences. Simply pushing the discussions to the areas where customers hang out versus the lines would have worked better. Or create a promotion whereby people standing in line could Tweet a diversity idea to receive a discount on their purchase. Invite local and national thought leaders to deliver speeches and hold community coffeehouse conversations. Introduce special, limited-edition coffees with inclusive theme names. The possibilities are as wide and varied as the Starbucks menu.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

12603: Ad Age Gets Real.

Advertising Age declared, “Media-Agency Kickbacks. Yes, They’re Real.” Wow, what a shocker. What’s next? Maybe the trade journal will proclaim, “Discriminatory Hiring Practices. Yes, They’re Real.” Or even, “Exclusively White Industry. Yes, It’s Real.”

Saturday, March 28, 2015

12602: Watching Color TV.

From Adweek…

Multicultural TV’s Success Isn’t About Whites Getting Less, It’s About Everyone Getting More

Advertisers applaud the increase in diverse casting

By Michelle Castillo

After the success of multicultural shows like Fox’s Empire, CW’s Jane the Virgin and ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, Deadline reported this week that some white actors and their agents are feeling victimized by the TV industry’s growing interest in diverse casting.

But you know who doesn’t mind this trend? Advertisers.

Like most things in this world, TV exists to sell itself. And, with network shows featuring diverse casts among today’s biggest hits, it makes sense that brands are seeking to put their dollars behind multicultural shows.

“What we’re seeing is the audience is responding to the content being put forth that is inspired by a different lens, different stories and different perspectives,” said Esther “E.T.” Franklin, evp and head of Americas Experience Strategy for SMG Multicultural, part of the Starcom MediaVest Group. “It’s providing more nuanced stories, and the market is hungry.”

Deadline’s story, titled Pilots 2015: The Year Of Ethnic Castings, suggested that white actors were being discriminated against because of the upcoming 2015-16 slate, much of which will feature multicultural casts. The article sparked considerable backlash, thanks in part to the original headline asking if “ethnic casting” was “about time or too much of a good thing?” The site later cut the question from its headline and reorganized some pieces of the article.

Central to the debate raised by the article is the allegation that the TV industry is creating racial quotas for shows:

“But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal. Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered. ‘Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,’ one talent representative said.”

For brands looking to advertise on TV, the racial makeup of a show is often less important than its overall success, and right now, many of the most successful shows on networks (Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, for example) and even cable (The Walking Dead) are diverse.

What we should be focusing on, Franklin says, is that the mainstream audience for TV is changing—and that’s a good thing. The fact that a primetime network show featuring African-American leads or an Asian-American family can resonate with audiences regardless of race shows that America wants to see more than the typical white protagonist.

Tim Hill, svp and group partner of integrated investment at Universal McCann, said advertisers simply gravitate to successful programming. Historically, networks base their upcoming slates on what worked the season before, so it makes sense we’ll see more multicultural casts this year.

“Everything doesn’t need to be bucketed in the way it was before,” Hill said. “I think that’s a good thing. It’s not, ‘Hey, this is only for a multicultural kind of audience or segment.’ It can be a mainstream show.”

In addition, Franklin said casting more diverse actors on television allows SMG’s clients like Walmart, Honda and Kraft to reach new audiences that haven’t traditionally been watching network TV. For example, Fox’s Empire grew from 9.9 million to 17.62 million viewers in just 12 episodes. More interestingly, Franklin points out that the audience has remained 60 percent African American throughout that period, meaning more black viewers are tuning in.

“The full potential of American-American viewers hasn’t been realized,” she said. “There is an even bigger upside.”

As for the idea, much mocked since Deadline’s article debuted, that there’s not enough programming for white people, Hill couldn’t help but laugh.

“I don’t think there’s any problem in our world of finding media for that audience,” he said, “and, quite frankly, I don’t think we necessarily need to isolate a white Caucasian audience.”

Friday, March 27, 2015

12601: Cataloguing Colors.

From GOOD Magazine…

Brazilian Photographer Attempts to Catalog All Possible Human Skin Tones

By Isis Madrid

Angélica Dass is attempting to capture the full spectrum of human skin tone. Her ambitious photography project, “humanæ” features photographs shot in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Winterthur, Bergen, Daegu, Addis Ababa, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paris and Chicago and displayed around the world.

“The ultimate goal is to provoke and bring currently using internet as a discussion platform on ethnic identity,” she writes. “…creating images that lead us to match us independent from factors such as nationality, origin, economic status, age or aesthetic standards.”

The artist periodically puts out calls for interested subjects and is always willing to photograph volunteers who reach out to her via the internet.

Using an 11x11 pixel sample from the subject’s portrait, Dass then references the Pantone guide for the corresponding color swatch and background color. The Rio de Janeiro born photographer hopes that the project shows how the gradient of human skin tone connects us all, rather than divides.

12600: Cultural Competence 101.

Artist/Writer/Recovering Adman Lowell Thompson asks, “What’s Your Racial IQ?

12599: Cannes Lionesses.

Advertising Age reported women will comprise 31.5% of Cannes Lions juries for 2015, making it the most “diverse” lineup of judges ever for the exclusive event. Not sure why adding mostly White women constitutes greater diversity. Also, given that women allegedly make up 3% of creative directors in the U.S., the 31.5% figure at Cannes shows gross overrepresentation. Of course, there’s no mention of minority representation being boosted in Cannes Lions juries—which warrants introducing the Ass Lyin’ Award.

Women Make Up 31.5% of Cannes Lions Juries For 2015

Festival Claims to Have its Most Diverse Lineup of Judges

By Emma Hall

At the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, 31.5% of the judges will be women, up from 28.5% last year and 20% in 2013, according to an analysis by the festival of this year’s 309 judges from 44 countries. There will also be five female jury presidents, part of the festival’s drive for diversity.

Three countries—the Czech Republic, Indonesia and Ecuador—are getting their first-ever Cannes judges after starting to win Lions. Ecuador’s judge is Eduardo Maruri, president and chief creative officer of Maruri Grey, which won nine Lions last year, more than any other office in the Grey network except Grey New York. Maruri Grey also won Ecuador’s first Cannes Lion, in 2012.

Mr. Maruri and the Czech Republic’s judge, Jaime Mandelbaum, CCO at Y&R Central & Eastern Europe, are on the Direct jury. Lucy Novita, creative director of Hakuhodo Indonesia, is representing Indonesia.

The festival is also relaxing a general rule that judges should be prior Lions winners, in order to further diversify juries. The Product Design Lions jury will include an architect, Ruth Berktold from Yes Architecture/Yes Products in Germany and a fashion designer, Priscilla Shunmugan, from Singapore.

A spokesman for the festival said in an email, “This will be the case for the newer categories where it is still the creative agencies entering and winning, and we want the real specialists on the jury. It is their expertise that is really important to us, not whether they’ve won a Lion.”

One jury, Creative Effectiveness, has three marketers as judges, including jury president Wendy Clark, president of sparkling brands and strategic marketing at Coca-Cola North America. The other clients are Lars Terling, VP marketing communications for Volvo Trucks in Sweden, and Leonid Sudakov, CMO, global petcare, at Mars in Belgium.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

12598: Pathetic Predictions.

Adweek connected with “leaders” in the advertising industry and collected their predictions on topics we’ll be talking about a year from now. Of course, no one offered diversity as a potential discussion point in the near future. Hell, Leo Burnett CCO Susan Credle wound up displaying her cluelessness about technology, unwittingly indicating it’ll be over 66 years before her shop becomes inclusive.

Agency Leaders Predict What We’ll Be Talking About a Year From Now

Keeping pace with tech and emphasizing the art of storytelling

By Andrew McMains

When asked today what the ad industry will be talking about a year from now, agency leaders were refreshingly thoughtful and hopeful.

Talking in paragraphs rather than soundbites, a panel of four leaders offered four different visions when Adweek’s Lisa Granatstein posed the question at the 4A’s Transformation Conference in Austin, Texas.

Deutsch North American CEO Mike Sheldon envisions deeper, more multidisciplined relationships between marketers and agencies, in part because he thinks it’s simply better for brands.

“We have lost a lot as an industry by clients having 15 different vendors who don’t know each other, who show up at maybe a meeting once a quarter or once every six months. And the fact that we don’t spend a lot of time sometimes with our media partners on behalf of our clients is criminal,” Sheldon said. “This era of specialization—I get that. We’re all supposed to be specialists. But I think it can all be done under one roof.”

Coupled with that splintering of work across many agencies is the rise of project-based assignments, which are labor intensive but generally don’t pay as much as retainer-based relationships. As such, these projects are difficult to staff, and to Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners’ John Butler, that will be a pressing concern next year.

“It’s going to be the AOR versus the projects and do we turn into production companies,” said Butler, the agency’s executive creative director. “What I mean by that is at a production company, there’s not a real staff, right? They kind of bring them in and then they go, bring them in and then they go.”

What’s more, projects are challenging operationally because, by definition, they don’t supply recurring revenue, Butler said. “And so, how do you staff for that?”

A big challenge that Leo Burnett’s Susan Credle foresees centers around technology and production.

“Technology is moving so quickly that I do worry about bringing all that production and making inside the agency versus go more back to the production model from film, where you understand the creative, the thinking and the idea that you want to make but you go out there and find the best idea makers,” said Credle, the shop’s chief creative officer for North America. “How much can we actually afford to build in-house and not only afford financially but afford because it changes so rapidly?”

Finally, notwithstanding the need to keep pace with tech, Sally Kennedy, CEO of Publicis Hawkeye in Dallas, is optimistic that agencies will stay focused on what they do best.

“I hope that we’re celebrating more storytelling and our craft as an industry because with marketing automation and programmatic buying, so much of the bottom of the funnel is going to be taken care of,” Kennedy said. “I think there’s going to be a renewed emphasis on brilliant storytelling by real practitioners that know what they’re doing—I hope.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

12597: Head Of White Talent.

Campaign reported M&C Saatchi hired a White woman to serve in the new role of head of talent. Claire Croft’s responsibilities will include recruiting and retaining more White men—while promoting diversity by hiring more White women.

M&C Saatchi hires head of talent

By Maisie McCabe

M&C Saatchi has appointed Claire Croft, the coach and leadership trainer and planning partner at Proximity London, to the new role of head of talent.

Croft will be responsible for developing the careers of staff working at the agency in a bid to make sure it attracts and retains the best people.

She will report to Camilla Kemp, the chief operating officer at M&C Saatchi. Kemp was promoted to chief operating officer last month.

After working in agencies including Craik Jones and Archibald Ingall Stretton, Croft joined Proximity in 2009. After training as an executive coach Croft took on the additional role of coach and leadership trainer in July 2013.

Tom Bazeley, the chief executive at M&C Saatchi, said: “While people may well make the world go round, they also make agencies into brilliant places to work.

“In this sense, hiring Claire will help grow our people and our agency.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

12596: Don Draper’s Lush Life.

The New York Daily News reported Jon Hamm checked out of a 30-day alcohol rehab program. Talk about life imitating art.

Jon Hamm completes rehab for struggle with alcohol addiction

By Elizabeth Vanmetre | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Jon Hamm has completed a 30-day program in rehab for alcohol abuse, according to TMZ.

The “Mad Men” star voluntarily checked himself into Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut before the premiere of the show’s last season.

“With the support of his longtime partner Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm recently completed treatment for his struggle with alcohol addiction. They have asked for privacy and sensitivity going forward,” a rep for the actor told TMZ.

The final season of “Mad Men” premieres April 5.

12595: Liquid Talent Is Fishy.

Adweek reported on the “Liquid Talent” trend, whereby advertising agencies are letting key staffers shuttle through different global offices to broaden their skills. It’s a safe bet that White adpeople are not being sent to minority shops for cultural competency training; plus, minorities are probably not being allowed and/or invited to visit the White agencies. Heaven forbid any HR Director or Chief Diversity Officer might view “Liquid Talent” as an opportunity to address the dearth of diversity in our industry. Hey, it’s a lot easier to simply make tax-deductible donations to ADCOLOR®.

Why Agencies Are Embracing the ‘Liquid Talent’ Trend

HR’s latest secret retention weapon

By David Gianatasio

A year ago, Will Flood, a London account director at M&C Saatchi, embarked on an immersive learning experience at the agency’s New York office. “The sheer dominance of the American market in the world of advertising meant that it was absolutely critical for my career to learn how clients and colleagues work together here,” said Flood. “More so than other markets, the U.S. has a tendency to be the first to set trends and drive innovation, so learning firsthand how to use new insights, new thinking and new technology to make powerful communications has been a huge boost.”

More than ever, agencies are going with the flow in an increasingly global economy, grooming key employees like Flood for bigger roles through intensive on-the-job training. The operative buzzword is “liquid talent.” That term has no precise definition but generally refers to giving staffers opportunities to broaden their skill sets and work on client business in different geographies and across various disciplines. “It’s a trend, and I think we will see more of it,” said Singleton Beato, evp, diversity and inclusion strategy and talent development at the 4A’s.

At M&C, this approach to talent has become firmly established through a “scholarship” program begun three years ago. Each of the agency’s 23 offices can nominate employees for three- to six-month work assignments at other network locations. “You get to know the office, you get to know the culture,” said Moray MacLennan, M&C’s worldwide CEO. “It’s a way of maturing people, and it builds a robust fabric of network ambassadors.” Flood, one of 30 employees who have gone through the program, performed so well during his three-month scholarship that he has moved permanently to New York as vp, director.

Such employees add value through their heightened knowledge and experience. In best-case scenarios, they grow into managers who run accounts, lead offices and fuel agency expansion. What’s more, such training helps agencies and holding companies foster loyalty among exceptional employees and guard against poaching. “You retain the best people and reward them with new opportunities around the world,” said Meagan Halpin, managing director of human resources at mcgarrybowen. “You want to be sure you keep them in the family.”

Keeping London-based managing director Ida Rezvani in the mcgarrybowen family led to a three-month training engagement at the shop’s New York headquarters in 2013. Mentored by founder Gordon Bowen and other leaders, she gained a better grasp of the agency’s machinations, its approach to brand building and “a broader global perspective on my clients’ business,” she said. That’s a good thing because one of those clients, Marriott global brand officer Brian King, said he prefers to have well-rounded “citizens of the world” working on his business, “and Ida epitomizes that persona.” Like M&C’s Flood, Rezvani chose to make the venue change permanent.

Sometimes, staffers move across disciplines, rather than geographies. For example, at TBWA healthcare shop CAHG, a group cd made a vertical switch to lead a new practice. The executive ultimately returned to a creative role with an expanded skill set. Pigeonholing staffers is a mistake, said CAHG president Robin Shapiro, because “fresh thinkers provide a great value” when given chances to excel.

What’s more, agencies risk losing face with global clients—and perhaps their business, as well—by not expanding employees’ horizons. “You’re not viewed as an expert,” said Halpin, if your specialization is too narrow or “if you only know one market.”