A Wake to Carry Others Forward

Today, Wendy Clark was promoted to DDB’s Global CEO. She’s the first woman to lead an Omnicom network. Clark said, “It’s not lost on me that I’m carrying a lot of people with me. It’s never about the impact that one person can make. It has to be about creating a wake around me that’s way bigger than just my success, and I will have every intention of doing that.”


Knowing that the industry will be watching she added, “I want to use this position to create more opportunity for more women.”

Let’s hope.



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CSR Gone Mad in an Unmemorable Super Bowl

This was the Super Bowl of CSR gone mad. It seemed nearly every brand was touting its corporate social responsibility. Problem was—the brands all merged into one big warm and fuzzy nothingness. Despite Bud’s standing by me, the overload of CSR made me miss the Clydesdales.

One brand that got it right was Toyota, in part because of its placements right out of the box and to close. Its variety of warm and fuzzy fit with the brand’s positioning and the tag, “when we’re free to move anything is possible,” leveraged it well, not to mention its strategic tie-in to the upcoming Olympics.

Dodge Ram did a nice job with the MLK voice over, but the timing was all wrong and looked gratuitous. Ram’s Paul Harvey voice over, “and god created the farmer,” from 2104 was stellar. But, its 2018. Timing is everything. And the Vikings dragging a ship rocking to an old music bed only to turn around when they hit Minneapolis. Okay, maybe it works for “built for the unexpected.” But seriously is Ram the epic brand that harkens back to American heroes with a heroic America brand or are they… Vikings? Really?!

Two other notables were Jeep and Musinex. Jeep actually showed the manifesto. Short and sweet, and spot on. While Musinex, and its single well-placed spot, captured the close while leveraging social media perfectly.

The Gen-Zers I was watching with loved the M&Ms spot with Danny Divito. And I have to admit if there is one person that can embody an M&M, it’s Divito.

As for what missed the mark. I’m not sure why laundry detergent was so hot this year, and how they all got it so wrong. Worst was Persil’s stupid pot innuendo. Turbo tax with its slimy stupid animal under the bed, I didn’t realize teens and t’weens filed taxes. Bud Light’s mediaeval stupidity, with a bunch of white guys and with three token women. It’s 2018, are we really still doing this kind of insipid humor and spending millions on it? Wendy’s take-on of McDonald’s frozen burgers was a bust. I couldn’t read it fast enough and Millennial and Gen-Z stopping stopped reading a long time ago. So, who was it they were targeting?

Or maybe the question should be, whose creating these spots? I think it’s about time the industry expands the diversity of ideas within creative departments.

Overall, a highly unmemorable Super Bowl, except for the game. But, maybe, that’s how it’s supposed to be.


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#MeToo Milwaukee Women

Tune in to “10thirtysix” (channel 10, PBS MKE) at 9 p.m. January 18. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the ‪#metoo movement.


This segment focuses on women in Milwaukee in c-level suite positions — woman with “agency.” Next month the series will explore voices of American minority women, who are often more vulnerable to harassment and its effects. If you missed it, here’s a link.


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Advertising’s Little White Lie

While there’s little research on the lack of women in creative roles, there’s even less on diversity issues. The sad truth is, advertising employs less than five percent people of color and then, you’ll find them largely working in the multicultural agencies not the general market shops. I admit this is an educated guess, because the industry will not release diversity data. I’m working to change that. With a faculty fellowship from Marquette’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, I’ll be traveling to Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami, this spring, to conduct ethnographic research and interviews within multicultural ad agencies and general market agencies.

Why does any of this matter?

It matters to me as a human being who wants equity and the opportunity for all. We need all voices to be heard so that advertising messages don’t perpetuate racism and sexism. It also matters to me as a practitioner who understands that diversity is good for business. A diversity of voices leads to better creativity and stronger ROI.

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The lack of diversity in advertising is EXACTLY why Dove, today, made a major brand misstep. Showing Black women transformed into light Brown or White women is appalling. And why did it happen? I’ll bet my retirement account on the fact there were no people of color in the decision-making process nor were there any present as this went up the decision-making food chain. I also doubt there were not many women making decisions as it went up. Women and people of color are invisible in advertising management.

In short, the lack of diversity in advertising is not just bad for Black and Brown people and women, it’s bad for business. “Wake up advertising.”



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How can our presidents not condemn, or uphold to his condemnation, of hate groups who have stepped into the hole of hatred that he, our president, has help to tear open in America?

George Washington once said, “I cannot conceive any more honorable, than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people.” Those people, who Washington could have been speaking of today, where the people who peacefully stepped forward to stand against hatred and bigotry in Charlottesville Virginia on August 12, 2017.

Yet, our president is unable to speak the truth of what happened in Charlottesville, he is unable to uphold the dignity of the presidency. More than 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln, a president who stood firmly and bravely against injustice, said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Our current president has no moral character.

I grieve for my black and brown friends, my Jewish friends, my gay friends, my Muslim friends. I grieve for my country.


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Celebrating Creative Women in MKE

At last creative women in Milwaukee are being given the recognition they deserve – even celebrated.

C2 is organizing The Happiest Hour, a casual networking event celebrating the current and future female leaders of Milwaukee’s marketing, design and advertising community. Thanks C2.

Come toast Milwaukee’s powerful, dynamic and progressive creative industry!

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When:  Thursday, August 24th, 4-7pm
Where:  Great Lakes Distillery, 616 W. Virginia Street

Organized by C2 – Presented by Great Lakes Distillery
Supported by United Adworkers, AIGA Wisconsin, Milwaukee Graphic Design/Adobe Users Group, Ad 2 Milwaukee, 414Digital, Hub+company


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Brits ban sexist stereotyping in ad land

Okay US ad industry – what about you?


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