Category Archives: culture

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.

Jean

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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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Grief

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.

Jean

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Happy Labor Day

I always remember my father with fondness on this day because of his tenacious embrace of the labor movement.

As the American economy becomes more and more service based we may forget labor’s historical gravity. The first Labor Day celebration was on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, promoted by the Central Labor Union. The Union held its second Labor Day celebration the next year on September 5, 1883. Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday of September ever since. Its launch came at a time when America was moving into the industrial revolution and the conditions of workers were often difficult.

My dad, a WWII vet, frequently teased me about Rosie the Riveter and powerful women. I was young and didn’t understand how much her iconic image meant to him. I’m guessing that in some small (and not so small) ways I must have reminded him of the power she signified. Doing a little research on her image this morning, I learned a few things I didn’t know before.

There were two iconic Rosies.

Rosie Riveter norman rockwellThe first Rosie – the one most of us remember – was painted by J. Howard Miller. He was commissioned by Westinghouse to make a series of posters promoting the war effort. Miller inspired the Saturday Evening Post, whose covers tended toward civic inspiration. With WWII raging the Post hired Norman Rockwell. Rockwell’s Rosie appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post (May 29, 1943). It was the Memorial Day issue. She’s muscular and dressed for a hard day’s work, just like the Rosie most of us might recall. We also know she’s Rosie because of the name inscribed on her lunch pail. However, what might surprise many of you, as it did me, this Rosie is stepping on a copy of Adolph Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. Now this is serious symbolic propaganda.

We_Can_Do_It! J. Howard MillerOn the heels of Post’s highly successful cover, stories about real life Rosies began appearing in newspapers across America. The U.S. government took advantage of Rosie’s popularity and embarked on a recruiting campaign named after her. The campaign, done by J. Walter Thompson under the auspices of the Advertising Council, used J. Howard Miller’s Rosie. The campaign brought millions of women into the workforce. To this day, Rosie the Riveter is considered one of the most successful government advertising campaign in history. On May 25, 2012 the Ad Council threw a 70th Birthday Bash for Rosie, noting that Rosie the Riveter remains an enduring emblem of empowerment for women everywhere.

Dad, thanks for teaching me the value of a hard day’s work. I miss you.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Jean

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relevant, simple, human ideas

Book smallOur 4th edition of Advertising Creative is out! It reflects growing digital integration with a stand-alone chapter on mobile and a plethora of new images. We also expanded our survival guide offering practical advice for multicultural creatives breaking into the business as well as tips for millennials, the next generation of advertising professionals. Here’s what some influential industry folks have to say about your latest edition

“From ideating to execution Advertising Creative is the ultimate guide to walk you through the critical steps of a 21st century campaign.” Laura Agostini, Chief Talent Officer, J. Walter Thompson, New York

Advertising Creative “helps us understand the complexities of an industry that needs culturally relevant, simple and human ideas.” Leila El-Kayem, Founder & Creative Director, The Adventures Of, Berlin

“A new standard for integrated marketing in the digital age.” James Kulp, Vice President, Account Director, Wunderman West, Los Angeles

“An engaging text about today’s hyper-empowered consumer that offers a roadmap for survival for advertising, public relations and digital professionals.” Thomas Gensemer, Chief Strategy Officer, Burson-Marsteller, New York

Pick up a copy and help us celebrate!

Jean

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Beirut

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

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Hermosas Palabras. Beautiful Words.

I am revising the final chapter – the survival chapter – for the fourth edition of Advertising Creative. In this chapter we speak the truth about the challenges women and minority creatives will face in advertising. To do this well, one has to go to the source. So I reached out to my friend Laurence Klinger, EVP Chief Creative Officer at Lapiz. True to who he is, Laurence did not provide me with his words. Rather he reached out to the talented team of creatives who work at Lapiz.

I am humbled by the power, wisdom and beauty of their words.

Embrace your competitive advantage and believe in yourself. When someone asks you where you want to be in 5 years – reach for the stars, not the next level.  ANNETTE FONTE

Women and minorities should speak more and loud! Their opinion always comes with a different perspective and it is normally undermined because of prejudice. GUILLERMO BETANCOURT

Studies have shown time and time again well-sounding advice -“lean in,” “speak up,” or “act like a man” – usually ends up in the same result: harsh consequences for said minority/woman. I think the best thing we can do is get the Quintessential Man in Power to open up his eyes about his own biases and prejudices. INES BELLINA

The game is rigged right now against both minorities and women. There is no way of succeeding in advertising in the same way as a White male. Change begins when we acknowledge how gender roles are fostered in families. KELLI SZYMCZAC

It’s on us, women, to take the lead in voicing our opinions, our dreams and aspirations, as well as, pushing back and questioning the “norm.” ISABELA VILLALOBOS

To prepare for success women and minorities need to learn how to negotiate. NATHALY GAMINO

Your standard of work (and of self-presentation in general) needs to be higher than that of other people. FELIPE DIAZ ARANGO

More exposure of actual or current women and minority creative leaders is essential to grow a new base of leaders. They cannot be what they cannot see. DIEGO FIGUEROA

In order to prepare women for success in leadership, we have to first break down these preconfigured stereotypes. In order to do this, we must promote workplace equality and build the awareness that women are equally capable of performing the role typically assigned to a man. TERESA CUEVAS

Women and minorities in creative need to have more mentors (guides who are willing to aid their development) and sponsors (people in power who are willing to advance their careers). From day one. RENETTA MCCANN

Give women (and minorities) projects to lead and ask them to get creative, that you want to be surprised, and they are the ones to do it. CRISTINA GRIECO
Working together, we are a big number of the population and therefore a real power, a real change. I believe that if women help others, we can change the power structure of our world and expand opportunities for all. LUCILLE GRATACOS

Being self-aware is key. Maybe college should focus a bit more on helping women and minorities find their inner strengths and develop their confidence. ANA MATTA

I hope my class on Gender in Advertising for the Inside/Out and the fourth edition of Advertising Creative begin that process.

Jean

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