Publicis Art Director Wants to Help Make Your Book Look Less Sh*tty with ‘Pimp Your Portfolio’

If you’re a creative in the industry, you know the importance of a flashy portfolio.

Camilla Ciappina de Souza wants to help with that.

In December of 2016 she launched Pimp My Portfolio to help creatives take on the daunting task of developing their online portfolios, utilizing her designer skills. Now an art director at Publicis, de Souza previously served as a junior art director for DiMassimo Goldstein, working with clients including Jackson Hewitt and Weight Watchers.

Pimp My Portfolio is focused on visual layout and design for online portfolios. So the service can’t help your portfolio if you don’t, you know, have solid work in it to begin with. As the site cautions, “We are not responsible for making sh*tty ideas look pretty, that’s your job.”

Since launching Pimp My Portfolio, she has helped 167 creatives develop their portfolios, typically delivering results in 2-3 days. She claims keeping up with demands of Pimp My Portfolio and her work as an art director isn’t a challenge, as she devotes nights and weekends to the project.

“In the beginning I thought I’d be doing more portfolios for copywriters than art directors. But now I do more for art directors,” de Souza said, adding that her clients are usually in senior-level positions. “The responses have been really good. I always get emails from clients saying recruiters loved the website, or that they managed to find a job.”

De Souza has ambitions to one day expand Pimp My Portfolio into a full-fledged agency.

“I like recruiting too, so I’d love to open an agency where I can recruit and help creatives find a job by working on their portfolios too. Because I’ve been to so many recruiting agencies to find a job, and they never mention portfolio design/layouts. They only talk about projects.”

Art Director Pursues Trump Style Guide Side Project

An art director who uses the Twitter handle @kellyandscreech (bonus points for the Saved by the Bell reference) has been working on a side project creating a style guide entitled “The Trump Guide to Presidenting.”

No, “presidenting” is not a word, but then “make up words” is part of Trump’s brand voice, along with “make fun of the disabled,” “raise little hands,” “repeat words” and “ignore the teleprompter.” 

The already-lengthy document is a work-in-progress, given that (unfortunately) the Trump presidency is ongoing. Most recently, a “How to scare the entire world” update referenced Trump’s infantile “bigger button” response to Kim Jon-un, a Twitter rant very much keeping in the Trump brand voice of being “bold and aggressive” on social media and “taunting mentally unstable dictators.”

“The Trump Guide to Presidenting” covers everything from “What to wear” (“Hulk Hogan colored hair piece, red tie “no less than 6? past belt,” gold watch), to “Who to blame” (Obama, Hillary, fakes news media) to “How to get your intel” (Fox and Friends) to “How to bullshit.” It even covers brand assets, the trademark Trump handshake, (bad)  advice on how to treat FLOTUS, “How to view the solar eclipse” and “How to distribute supplies to hurricane victims.”

The style guide spells out the Trump brand approach to “presidenting” so thoroughly it’s almost as if any idiot could do it!

FCB Bolsters San Francisco Office With 4 New Hires Including Creative Director Bruno Nakano

FCB is continuing to build up its San Francisco office with four key new hires including former R/GA New York executive Bruno Nakano, who joins the team as creative director, a title he shares with Rodrigo Linhares.

The other three new appointments include Jordan Wells to vp and director of new business, Laura Feder to account supervisor and Frankie Donlon to integrated project manager. A FCB West spokeswoman said all of these positions are new to the agency.

“2017 has been a phenomenal year for FCB West,” FCB West CEO Joe Oh said in a statement. “And yet we aspire to be so much more. The addition of these four amazingly talented and lovely people is an investment we are making as a business and a culture to turn those aspirations into reality.”

Specifically, the shop attributed the bolstering of the San Francisco office to FCB Global’s big win of the Clorox global creative account last year. The work for Clorox is split between FCB’s San Francisco and Chicago offices.

Nakano joins FCB West from R/GA New York, where he served as senior art director and worked on the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8. It appears he will work alongside creative director Linhares, who joined FCB West in July and remains at the San Francisco shop.

“Bruno brings with him an infectious and insatiable thirst for doing great work,” said Karin Onsager-Birch, FCB West evp and chief creative officer. “We were lucky to land him as the go-to mentor for all our art directors and designers, and the visual guide across all clients as we continue to raise the bar for our work.”

Nakano has won several awards including one of the Top 10 Art Directors Worldwide by the Cannes Lions Report in 2011 and one of the 15 Ones to Watch at the One Show Young Guns in 2015.

Meanwhile, Wells hails from San Francisco digital strategy and design agency Extractable, Feder from Grey New York and Donlon from communications and marketing agency Hill Holliday.

Taxi Founder Leaves the Agency World After 25 Years

Co-founder Paul Lavoie is leaving Taxi at the end of the year.

Lavoie and partner Jane Hope founded Taxi in Montreal in 1992. WPP later acquired the agency in late 2010.

“TAXI has been much more than an agency. It has been home,” says Lavoie said in a statement. “Thank you to everyone who brought their passion and skill to TAXI over the years. I am grateful to the industry for the curious, interesting, and talented individuals I met, and the exciting creative challenges we solved together.”

At the beginning of the year Lavoie moved into a role as chairman emeritus, as Reid Miller was promoted to chief creative officer. Taxi also promoted Jeff MacEachern and Jordan Doucette to roles as co-CCOs of its Toronto headquarters at the time.

Lavoie is moving client-side with his new venture, Beau Lake, for which he serves as a co-founder and leads brand vision.

“I’m practicing what I preached about brand building for all these yearsm” Lavoie added. “But I’m also saying some things I thought I never would. Like make the logo bigger! To TAXI, to my good friend and astute CEO, Rob Guenette and the Y&R/WPP crew, I wish the very best.”

“On behalf of everyone at TAXI, a big thank you to Paul, and wishing him huge success with Beau Lake” Taxi CEO Rob Guenette said in a statement. “Personally, I can’t express enough the lasting contribution Paul has made to our business, and the industry. Watching my friend continue his creative journey is truly inspiring.”

Lavoie moved into a chairman emeritus role last year with the promotion of Reid Miller to chief creative officer.

M&C Saatchi Group Creative Director Justin Tindall Apologizes for ‘Bored of Diversity Being Prioritised Over Talent’ Comment

On Monday, M&C Saatchi chief creative officer Justin Tindall published a “private view” in Campaign in which, among other things he was bored of, he stated he was “Bored of diversity being prioritised over talent.”

Predictably, this did not go over well and criticism of the remarks was swift and widespread. Among those weighing in were Cindy Gallop and Cheil London executive creative director Caitlin Ryan, who wrote a “Why being ‘bored of diversity’ is not good enough: a response to Justin Tindall,” also published in Campaign, in which she asked him to “see diversity not as a threat to good creative work, but as a way to get better work out there.”

She concluded by telling him to  “wake the fuck up and do what’s fair and right for every young creative who is female or from a different background to you. Not because it ticks a diversity box – but because it will make the work that we all love better too.”

Today, perhaps unsurprisingly, Tindall issued an apology, in which he admits “my ‘bored with diversity’ comment was wrong. In the post, addressed to Caitlin, he apologized to everyone who took “unintended offence” to the comment and stressed “it was absolutely not my intention to undermine the diversity agenda in any way whatsoever. In fact, the opposite is true.”

He explained that his frustration with the term “diversity” is “provoked by a deep sense that ad agencies continue to prioritise predictably short-term solutions to what is a long-term issue” and one which “requires long-term strategies to maintain and cultivate our industry’s strength and depth of talent.”

Not everyone feels the apology was sincere or came swiftly enough, however. In a response to a post by Gallop on LinkedIn about the apology, one commenter pointed out that his apology only came after “someone of his career level within his industry said something” while another called it “Too little too late” and said they were “Not buying it at all.”

Image: Campaign

Ogilvy India Managing Partner Chandana Agarwal Claims Sexual Harassment in the Workplace is ‘Part of Growing Up’

Ogilvy & Mather India managing partner Chandana Agarwal weighed in on the “Me Too” social media campaign with a post, screencaptured by an Ogilvy & Mather employee, in which she dismisses certain types of sexual harassment as “part of growing up.”

The Vagabomb reported that when the Ogilvy employee shared the status, she “requested anonymity and feared for her safety.”

In the post, Agarwal expressed “many issues” with the “Me Too” campaign “at many levels.” She went on to claim the issue should not be about things “like someone grabbing at you or pinching you and that “there are some experiences that are just part of growing up especially in India.”

She adds that “there are some experiences that are part of growing up anywhere in the world” and seems to suggest that these include “a boss/ a colleague/ a teacher trying to act fresh” and that “this is not about that.”

Agarwal concludes by saying the conversation should be about more traumatic experiences of abuse than the ones she suggested and that “By making it so general we are being unfair” to those “who have been scarred” with such experiences, ending with the hashtag, “#notme.”

Here’s a screenshot of the post:

Harnidh Kaur shared the screenshot on Facebook and explained: “This screenshot was sent to me by a current employee who chose to stay anonymous (for obvious reasons), who very rightly pointed out that this made her feel actively unsafe at work. Calling out women who propagate a toxic ability when they have the power to change things for the better is as important as calling men out.”

She likened Agarwal’s line of reasoning with the “line of minimising so many survivors face” and pointed out that Ogilvy & Mather is the agency behind Dove campaigns which she claims “exploits important ideologies and beliefs.”

This week we also learned that Ogilvy & Mather’s holding company, WPP, continues to employ Gustavo Martinez, who appears to be leading its operations in Spain, while a sexual harassment and discrimination case filed by JWT global head of public relations Erin Johnson continues.

Advertising Doesn’t Need Another Old White Guy…Says Middle-Aged White Guy

<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-138489" src=" creative director/copywriter Brian Thompson is turning 45 this month. But rather than worrying about aging out of the industry and throwing a pity party, he’s actually doing something to promote diverse young talent.

More specifically, he’s trying to raise $4,500 for E4 Youth, an Austin non-profit organization which funds programs that mentor diverse talent to pursue creative careers, before he turns 45. Before going freelance, Thompson served as an associate creative director for T3 and WCG in Austin and as director of brand and creative for Golfsmith International.

“I freelance for a lot of good people at different agencies, but too often, those people look a lot like me,” Thompson said in a statement on his site. “And that’s not healthy for the work, the business and the country.”

Head to to chip in.

Advertising Vet Stuart Trott Passed Away in June at the Age of 85

Former advertising veteran Stuart Trott, died on June 29 at his Manhasset Hills, New York home. The cause of death was lymphoma. He was 85 years old.

A Harvard Business School graduate, Trott served as vice president, group head at Benton & Bowles from 1958-1969, working with clients including Procter & Gamble, Texaco, General Foods and Vick Chemical. At the beginning of 1970 he was appointed senior vice president, creative director at Normal, Craig & Kummel and stayed with the agency for nearly a decade, overseeing work for clients such as Colgate Palmolive, Dow Chemical and Liggett & Meyers. Many of those clients stayed with Trott when he formed his own marketing consultancy in 1979.

Trott’s son-in-law, Mike Nagle, called him “Don Draper in the actual era in which Mad Men was set,” and added that the show referenced his position at Benton & Bowles. Stuart is survived by Phyllis, his wife of 58 years, brother Donald, children Jodi Nagle, Jessica Denton and Barri Trott, and grandchildren Emily and Jack Nagle.

Barker Creative Director Sandi Harari Penned an Open Letter to Men in the Ad Industry

diversity business

So you think the news is all bad? Are you missing that rhetorical swing in your step? Need a little optimism with that pre-lunch coffee?

Barker creative director Sandi Harari published “An Open Letter to My Male Ad Industry Colleagues: 5 Things You Need to Do Now” in HuffPost yesterday.

In short, Harari thinks that maybe … just maybe … the ad industry has turned a corner on gender relations.

She then calls on men in the agency world to follow five general maxims when interacting with their female counterparts. They generally boil down to advocating for female colleagues and not being a jerk (or ask those co-workers to do the same).

The five points are: “Give Us Credit,” “Be An Advocate,” “Stop Making Us Feel Guilty,” “Respect Our Unique Management Style” and “Give Us The Mic.”

To the first point, Harari asks that men praise their female coworkers both to their faces and “behind their backs,” since “women underestimate their own natural talents” and aren’t as likely to sing their own praises as their male counterparts. This goes hand in hand with being an advocate for women in the industry, and Harari asks that men help counteract “the confidence gap” by speaking up on behalf of women who aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. In a survey released by 4A’s last year, around a third of female participants responded that they had been passed over for promotions or assignments due, at least in part, to their gender. So Harari’s argument has some research behind it.

For the next point, she cites a 3M study which found that “women on average are working longer and harder than men,” so maybe don’t make that working mom in your office feel guilty for leaving at 5:30. Women already “often feel guiltier than men and are hard-wired for empathy,” and you’re really not doing anyone any favors with the added pressure.

Contrary to some popular opinions, not everyone takes pride in being described as “harsh” or believes that acting like “more of a prick” (advice once given to Harari by a male co-worker) will help them scale the career ladder. So Harari asks that her colleagues—and, by extension, everyone in the business—respect the fact that different people have different management styles. And maybe those even work for them!

Finally, Harari calls on giving women in the office who may not be loud or outspoken more of a platform to voice their opinions and concerns. In the aforementioned 4A’s survey, 42 percent of women said that they had been left out of decision-making processes due to their gender.

She concludes on a hopeful note, stating that “We are moving in the right direction” … just not fast enough.

Miami Ad School Students Launch ‘Made by Refugee’ Project

With the issue of refugees a regular topic lately, Miami ad school creatives Kien Quan and Jillian Young wanted to remind people of the many contributions made by refugees throughout American history.

Case in point: Huy Fong Foods, makers of Sriracha hot sauce, founded by Vietnamese immigrant David Tran. And where would we be without the ubiquitous and delicious condiment?

To get the message across, Quan and Young printed out stickers reading “Made by Refugee” and placed them on products in stores around New York, ranging from the aforementioned Sriracha sauce to a Bob Marley album to Albert Einstein‘s most famous equation. They documented the results in a video as part of the effort.

Those interested can join in by printing out their own “Made by Refugee” sticker sheet and attaching them to relevant products. There’s also a Facebook page dedicated to the campaign.

Sriracha was the original inspiration for the campaign, but from there Quan and Young soon realized the potential scope of the idea.

“This inspiration came from one of my Facebook rants. Reading up on the fact that refugees have always been unwelcomed throughout history, I realized that if Vietnamese refugees did not make it over in the 1970s, we would not have the privilege to rave about today’s newest craze, Sriracha, Quan told Creativity.  “Afterwards, my partner and I just expanded the idea into many more examples.”

What Has Nils Leonard Been Doing Since Leaving Advertising?

Back in June, Grey London CCO Nils Leonard, who was also named a chairman back in 2014, left the agency along with CEO Lucy Jameson and managing director Natalie Graeme. A statement explained that Leonard was leaving to “start a new venture.”

Well, if you’ve been wondering what Leonard could possibly be up to since leaving Grey behind: wonder no more. He’s launched a new coffee company, along with partners Richard Hardwick, David Foster and Andrew Richardson, called Halo, which Adweek describes as producing “the world’s first fully compostable coffee capsule for home coffee machines.” The capsules are compatible with home Nespresso machines (Richardson is a former Nespresso director) and include premium coffee varieties formerly unavailable in that format. So, all jokes about the crowded coffee market aside, Halo does have a unique angle at least.

Of course, there’s an ad announcing Halo’s arrival. The 60-second spot focuses on the environmental impact of typical, non-biodegradable coffee capsules, before informing viewers there’s now an environmentally-friendly alternative and concluding with the tagline, “The world’s best coffee. In a way that’s best for the world.” (A tad misleading since a French press doesn’t require a pod or filters.) There’s also a separate launch anthem.

“My theory is that within a year everyone will be using biodegradable pods,” Leonard told Adweek.

“It should be fucking illegal. I mean, it’s insane,” he added, in reference to non-biodegradable pods, whose inventor, John Sylvan came to regret their creation. “The stats are sickening. So, I think in a year that will be the case, and then it’s about who has the best coffee. And I’d say that would be us.”

Leonard didn’t want a typical launch campaign for the product.

“I was desperate with the guys, when we sat down, to say, look, I don’t want to do advertising,” he told Adweek. “I don’t really want to make any advertising at all. What I want is for the product to be the advert for itself. And I think that’s where we are.”

It sure seems like they made an ad (or two), though. And Leonard is expected to renter the ad industry in some sort of new venture alongside his former Grey chairmen in the near future. Until then, though, he’ll be focused on Halo — and presumably drinking a lot of coffee.

Advertising Veteran Richard D. Trentlage Dies at 87; Famous Jingle Lives On

Richard D. Trentlage, the man who composed the famous Oscar Mayer wiener jingle, died of congestive heart failure, at the age of 87, on September 21, The New York Times reports.

Trentlage worked at several top agencies including McCann and D’Arcy before launching his own jingle-writing firm.

His most famous contribution to advertising was the Oscar Mayer jingle which ran for 52 years, beginning in 1963, a feat his family claims, in an online obituary, is a record.  The jingle, Trentlage recalled in a 2012 interview with The Wisconsin State Journal, was a last minute effort. Trentlage wrote it in September of 1962 after hearing about Oscar Mayer’s jingle contest from a colleague at JWT the day before the deadline. Its opening line was inspired by his son’s declaration, “I wish I could be a dirt bike hot dog” (about a dirt bike-riding friend). Trentlage finished composing the tune in about an hour and recorded it in his living room recording studio, playing banjo-ukelele while his daughter Linda, then nine-years-old, belted out the vocals.

Chairman Oscar G. Mayer Sr. selected the jingle as the winner of the contest and from its humble origins in Trentlage’s living room it went on to be heard in 21 English-speaking countries (including all 50 states) and become a pop culture icon. The Simpsons even payed tribute to the jingle when it was sung by Jon Lovitz‘s Jay Sherman character in a crossover with The Critic.

Some of Trentlage’s other well-known jingles include “Wow! It sure doesn’t taste like tomato juice” for V8, “McDonald’s is your kind of place!” and “Buckle up for safety, buckle up!” (a 1964 National Safety Council PSA).

Trentlage is survived by his wife, Jacqueline, daughters Linda Bruun and Becky Trentlage, sons David and Tom, stepdaughters Susan Jennings and Patricia Kelley, stepson Jeffrey Davis, 19 grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.

Sir Martin Sorrell Has Harsh Words for Facebook’s Fake Data in ‘Overstategate’

In case you missed it (you didn’t): advertisers everywhere are up in arms after it was revealed that Facebook has “vastly overestimated” the average viewing time for videos on its platform, according to a scoop in The Wall Street Journal. And because every scandal needs to have -gate added to it, this one has become known as “OverstateGate.” UGH.

Several weeks ago, Facebook admitted, via a post on its Advertiser Help Center, that the metric it used to measure average video view team was flawed because it only took into account videos viewed for more than three seconds. In the same post, Facebook reassured advertisers it was introducing a new metric to fix the problem. But the full scope of just how much Facebook overestimated video viewing times came to light more recently, when the social network told Publicis Media and WPP’s Group M that it likely overestimated the amount by 60-80 percent. 

“We recently discovered an error in the way we calculate one of our video metrics,” Facebook said in a statement. “This error has been fixed, it did not impact billing, and we have notified our partners both through our product dashboards and via sales and publisher outreach. We also renamed the metric to make it clearer what we measure. This metric is one of many our partners use to assess their video campaigns.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell weighed in on the matter, expressing his displeasure with the situation and insinuating the larger underlying problems suggested by it. He told Bloomberg that it underscore the need for a third party, such as ComScore (which WPP has invested in) to oversee such metrics. 

“We have also been calling for a long time for media owners like Facebook and Google not to mark their own homework and release data to ComScore to enable independent evaluation,” he told the publication. “The referee and player cannot be the same person.”

Rival holding company Publicis is in agreement with Sorrell. “In an effort to distance themselves from the incorrect metrics, Facebook is deprecating [the old metrics] and introducing ‘new’ metrics in September. Essentially, they’re coming up with new names for what they were meant to measure in the first place,” The Wall Street Journal reports that an unnamed Publicis executive said in a memo to clients. “This once again illuminates the absolute need to have 3rd party tagging and verification on Facebook’s platform. Two years of reporting inflated performance numbers is unacceptable.”

Publicis PR referred all related media queries to Facebook, but let us all assume that they are rightly pissed as we wonder whether Andrew Keller has received some pointed queries from his agency contacts this week.

The unfortunate conclusion here is that Facebook will catch only momentary heat for this one. Note how restrained Sorrell’s quote was given the scale of the “error” and consider the fact that Publicis and WPP and all the other partners don’t have much of a choice but to continue advertising with Zuck. Happy Friday.

New Ogilvy CEO John Seifert Says He Will Focus on the Agency’s Heritage

Back in January, Ogilvy & Mather appointed 37-year agency veteran John Seifert as its new global CEO. Seifert succeeded Miles Young in the role, who remained with the agency as worldwide chairman until the beginning of this month, when Seifert succeeded him in that role as well. Young left the agency to become Warden of Fellows of New College at Oxford University. 

Seifert, who originally joined Ogilvy as an intern in 1979, told Campaign in a recent interview that he plans to focus on the agency’s heritage going forward.

I think we have one brand and that’s Ogilvy. Over time, we have created lots of different entities that have Ogilvy in their name. But in a world that has got so complicated and so fragmented, I’m not sure that all those different entities signal to the market the brand promise of Ogilvy,” Seifert told the publication, which pointed out that he will be the last CEO of the company to have worked with all eight of its previous chairman, including founder David Ogilvy.

That focus on the agency’s heritage, Seifert admits, will include a simplification of the agency’s offerings. This summer’s closing of Ogilvy Labs could be seen as the beginning of that process.

“We’re still working on what the right brand naming is in the modern marketing world but I know it will be different from what it is today,” he told Campaign, before clarifying, “we are not going to dumb things down.”

Other areas Seifert will focus on changing include increasing agency diversity and digital transformation.

“I want to be the most diverse and inclusive group of employees worldwide,” he said. “More than 50% of our senior managers are going to be women. We’re going to have many more multicultural leaders who represent the world.”

And Sefiert plans to work fast on implementing his changes. “I’ve had 37 years of training to be the CEO,” he told Campaign. “We’re going to move fast.”

It’s worth noting that Ogilvy currently leads agency networks in terms of global revenue according to consultancy R3, though last month that company’s principal Greg Paull told us, “They’re not number one in the U.S. by any means, but it’s about diversity of markets. There are so many dots on the map and so many ways to expand client relationships.”

For more, check out Campaign’s video interview with Seifert below.

Departed Barbarian Group CEO Says You Shouldn’t Believe Everything You Read on This Blog

Last week, we wrote about The Barbarian Group interim CEO Aaron Lau taking over for Peter Kim less than nine months after he succeeded Sophie Kelly, who had served in the position since 2011, as chief executive. Multiple sources told us that Cheil Worldwide made the decision to replace Kim, but he disputed that claim in a blog post yesterday, which arrived on the heels of a Digiday article in which co-founder Rick Webb told the publication the agency is “literally being run into the ground.”

Kim wrote that when he took over as CEO last December, he was “tasked with turning an agency around that was in worse shape than anyone realized,” a statement which seems to be corroborated by the aforementioned Digiday piece. 

According to Kim, “the actions we’ve taken over the past three quarters have allowed the agency to continue producing great work for global brands and left the financials cleaner and more transparent than they’ve been for many years,” and “With this phase of transformation complete, I made the decision to separate from The Barbarian Group and Cheil Worldwide.”

He added: “don’t believe everything you read in the trades. Many articles are tipped by people with personal agendas and written for today’s Gawker-engendered media environment, designed to maximize clicks, shares, and gossip. The truth is out there, but only half of it will ever make Agency Spy.”

Any enlightenment on this topic from the comments section?

Saatchi & Saatchi Chairman Kevin Roberts to Resign: ‘I Failed Exceptionally Fast’

Publicis announced this morning that Saatchi & Saatchi executive chairman and Publicis Groupe head coach Kevin Roberts will resign as of September 1 — ahead of his previously scheduled May 1, 2017 retirement.

Roberts had been placed on a leave of absence following a Business Insider interview in which he made controversial comments regarding gender diversity issues. He told Lara O’Reilly saying “The fucking debate is all over” and he sees no need to spend “any time” worrying about gender diversity at his agencies. He also dismissed those who spend time campaigning over the issue, taking aim at Cindy Gallop specifically as having “problems that are of her own making.”

The press release from Publicis read simply:

“Publicis Groupe announced today the resignation of Kevin Roberts Head Coach de Publicis Groupe, Executive Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi/Fallon, Member of the Management Board. The Supervisory Board and the Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe took note of Kevin Robert’s decision to step down with effect from September 1st 2016, prior to his retirement date due in May 2017.”

Roberts’ PR firm released his own statement to media in which he apologized for the “upset and offence” caused by his “miscommunication on a number of points.” Here’s the statement in full: 

“Fail Fast, Fix Fast, Learn Fast” is a leadership maxim I advocate.

When discussing with Business Insider evolving career priorities and new ways of work/life integration, I failed exceptionally fast.

My miscommunication on a number of points has caused upset and offence, and for this I am sorry.
I have inadvertently embarrassed Saatchi & Saatchi and Publicis Groupe, two companies I love and have been devoted to for almost 20 years.

I have expressed my regret and apology to the companies for the furor my remarks and language stimulated, and I extend this to colleagues, staff and clients.

So that we can all move forward, I am bringing forward my May 1, 2017, retirement from the company, and will leave the Groupe onSeptember 1, 2016.

There is a lot of learning to reflect on, and within the thousands of tweets, comments and articles there are many powerful and passionate contributions on the changing nature of the workplace, the work we do, what success really looks like, and what companies must do to provide women and men the optimal frameworks in which to flourish.

I believe that new thinking, frameworks and measures are needed to make more rapid progress on diversity in all its forms, in all professions and occupations. Hopefully, the focus on this serious and complex issue will gather momentum.

Cindy Gallop, who Roberts mentioned directly, released her own statement to Business Insider in response to the news of Roberts’ resignation. She claims Publicis could have made a greater statement to the women it employs if it had fired Roberts but says she anticipates greater change moving forward.

Gallop’s statement in full:

I’m pleased to see that Kevin Roberts has resigned, given that his comments made him non-credible as a chairman charged with inspiring, motivating and promoting into leadership the thousands of women who work for Saatchi and Saatchi Worldwide; as a coach charged with training and developing the industry leaders of the future; and a leader whom huge clients selling brands. products and services to millions of women trust with their own brand reputation, communication and sales.

However, given he was forced to resign, PublicisGroupe would have made a far greater statement to every woman working within their network, at every client brand they represent, and to the industry as a whole, if they had fired him.

I look forward to Maurice Levy and Publicis Groupe now spearheading a very dramatic seachange in the way the white male leadership of our industry welcomes women and people of color up to the leadership ranks shoulder to shoulder with them, and to seeing tangible, visible action on their part in the coming weeks. Starting with Maurice Levy attending and speaking at the 3PercentConference in NYC this Nov 3/4 (where I will also be speaking) – the perfect platform to address the female talent and creativity in our industry and demonstrate how much he values it.

Some context for the interview that led to this imbroglio: O’Reilly declined to speak to us about it directly, but we hear that a PR firm that represents Roberts as a client (but has no relation to the Saatchi or Publicis organizations) set up the meeting when Roberts happened to be in London last month.

This interview was more about promoting Roberts as a thought leader than discussing any of his work or future plans for Saatchi & Saatchi/Publicis Groupe. During the same session, O’Reilly asked him to comment on the current U.S. presidential election; he noted that Donald Trump has a simple and effective slogan and said that Hillary Clinton is “bereft of a selling line … bereft of a dream.”

There do not appear to have been any PR professionals in attendance during the interview. Otherwise someone surely would have told Roberts to either avoid the issue of gender equality altogether or to stop while he was ahead.

It’s not clear at this time whether Saatchi & Saatchi plans to name a successor.

4 Black Creative Directors Join Forces to Start a Peaceful Conversation

One thing is undeniably true: Americans (and, by extension, American advertising agencies) are currently engaged in an at-times uncomfortable conversation whose central component is race.

This goes beyond the fact that African-American representation in advertising is quite low and that many conversations have begun within the agency world concerning the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the industry’s ability to speak to that demographic.

Four high-level black creative leaders want to change this trend … or at least move the resulting conversations in a positive direction. Butler, Stern, Shine and Partners ECD Keith Cartwright got the initiative started along with colleagues Geoff Edwards (DOJO co-founder and creative executive at Creative Artists Agency), Apple/Beats global CD Jayanta Jenkins and Amusement Park chairman/CEO/CCO Jimmy Smith.

The four have come together to launch an initiative they call Saturday Morning because — as they put it on their home page — “Sunday is the most divided day in America” while Saturday is a time for emotional calm and, hopefully, mutual respect.

According to the release, the four got together for the first time recently to discuss their own experiences as black men moving through life in America and the ad industry along with the attendant challenges and opportunities. They now want to extend that conversation to other agencies as well as those who are interested in the topic at hand but do not work in the advertising industry.

According to their mission statement, they will coordinate on more such events and then release a quarterly PEACE BRIEF summarizing work done in attempting to “tackle a peace-related cause and/or initiative.” The release continues, “This could be in the form of helping passing a law, building awareness around an injustice or helping garner donations for a cause.” The ultimate goal is to counter the pervasive idea that “black lives are in some way not as important as others,” and the project implies that the ad industry can and should play a role in moving this conversation to another, more positive place.

Here’s the full letter as sent by Mr. Cartwright to various media outlets, ours included:

This letter starts with the highest level of optimism, that powerful voices are gearing up right now to take a stand.
I don’t know if there’s ever been an opportunity as great as this to make change.

My Friday morning began with a text message. I reached out to three of my friends:

Geoff Edwards,
Jayanta Jenkins
Jimmy Smith.

The text read, “We need to come together. And say something.”

We’ve all known each other for some time, and not once have we sat down together to have a conversation. Friday’s text led to a meeting Saturday morning in Los Angeles, one of the best meetings of my career.

We talked about our families, our careers, and how shocking it was that we’d never done this before—but how important it was that we were doing it now. Geoff, Jimmy, Jayanta and I talked about our own experiences growing up as black males, and the racism we’ve encountered in our lives. None of us grew up in the same city or town, but we all shared similar stories and have had to approach our lives and careers with a dual consciousness. To this day we all still share the unique fear that comes with flashing lights in a rearview mirror, and the bias placed against us for the color of our skin.

The brutal deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and the five police officers murdered in Dallas, Texas, brought us together this Saturday Morning to talk about how we can help change the perception that black lives are not as important as others. The dehumanizing effects of this belief are causing African-Americans across this country to be brutalized, incarcerated and even killed, at an alarming rate.

How do we as an industry change that, and how do we enlist others around our industry to join the discussion?

It has been said that Sunday morning is the most segregated day in America. So, let’s get in front of that together. If Sunday morning is seen as a day of division, then Saturday morning should represent both a day of change and a way to dispel the myth that there is no hope for tomorrow. SATURDAY MORNING will be an organization that helps build awareness, promote change and shift the overall perception that black lives are in some way not as important as others.

Our vision is that SATURDAY MORNING will be a coalition across industries. This letter is the first call to action. We’ll now begin the process of inviting thought leaders across technology, music, entertainment, advertising, media, art and design, and anyone willing to participate in this conversation. Our action will be brought to life through a quarterly PEACE BRIEF, which will outline our objectives. Those objectives could be anything from raising money for a foundation or helping pass legislation, to bringing awareness to a cause or creating peace-based technology—all in an effort to make every Saturday Morning better than the last. We are currently active, working to bring this vision to life. There will be more to come in following weeks.

Please join us at  as we start to seed our beginning efforts. If you want to be part of this movement and take a role as we put ideas into action and identify opportunities where we can have impact, please email us at:

Again, this letter ends with the highest level of optimism, that powerful voices are gearing up right now to take a stance. There’s never been an opportunity as great as this to make change.


Keith Cartwright
Geoff Edwards
Jimmy Smith
Jayanta Jenkins

Cindy Gallop Explains Why She Won’t Write About the Kevin Roberts Story

In a Facebook post written this morning, Cindy Gallop explains that, while she will give interviews, she’s refusing all requests to write about the Business Insider interview with Kevin Roberts.

In the interview, Roberts controversially said the gender diversity debate is “over” and that Gallop has “problems that are of her own making.” The piece, as you are almost certainly aware, subsequently led to the Saatchi chairman being asked to take a leave of absence.

Gallop’s response this morning: “I have more critical things to focus my time, effort, energy and mindspace on.”

White men in our industry are paid millions to do the wrong thing. Nobody’s paying me anything to do the right thing,” Gallop explains.

Gallop FB post

So as long as she’s not being hired to sit on the boards of agencies and holding companies or consult with those same businesses, she will focus on her own work, including trying to get various parties to book her for speaking appearances in which she will address gender diversity issues.

Gallop has already discussed the issue at length on Twitter. And she will presumably continue to use her position as a public figure to bring greater attention to future agency hiring announcements, either because they concern women in prominent positions or because the ratio of the individuals involved still skews heavily toward the white men mentioned above.

This was indeed an interesting weekend.

JWT Wins Wild Turkey, Which Wins New ‘Creative Director’ Matthew McConaughey

Today in UGH: celebrity creative directors. What are they about, really?

There’s the obvious earned media calculation, because no one gets more headlines than Random Famous Person, whether that coverage is justified or not. But we are truly curious on the ROI front, because we’d LOVE to know how much these celebrities get paid for their glamorous jobs … and how much the brands in question actually benefit.

We mention this because Wild Turkey named Matthew “Alright” McConaughey as its new creative director today. That announcement outweighs the more significant news: Wild Turkey has gone to JWT after a little less than three years with MDC’s Vitro.

Dude does fit the profile: he’s white, male, over 35, sometimes gets mildly creative with his facial hair and has been known to indulge in the odd recreational drug experience. He’s also into making short films like this one, which he directed.

The summary: “The only thing our great story was missing was a great storyteller. Meet Wild Turkey’s new Creative Director, Matthew McConaughey.” We will take their word for it, because we lack both the time and interest to watch a 6-minute clip about a movie star hanging out at a bourbon mill. He did at least narrate the project himself.

From the release: “A Wild Turkey fan, McConaughey first visited the lauded distillery a couple of years ago … It was there at the distillery, high above the Kentucky River, that he was introduced to Jimmy and Eddie Russell, the Bourbon Hall of Fame father and son Master Distiller team who have worked at the Wild Turkey Distillery for 97 years collectively.”

And then he agreed to be their lead creative person, right??

As you know, this Hire a Celebrity practice is not a new thing. The most recent offender was Bacardi, which named Swizz Beats as its new “creative director” with “oversight for the entire Bacardi portfolio of brands” because of course the many talented people at BBDO don’t have that one down.

Campari bought Wild Turkey in 2013 for $575 million to jump on the everyone drinking bourbon trend.

How will Mr. McConaughey work with JWT? We have no idea. The release didn’t even mention the agency’s name or the fact that Wild Turkey recently held a review — as evidenced by the fact that Eric Weisberg, who just became global CCO at Doner, listed the bourbon brand among the accounts he led at JWT. A source on this recent Vitro story told us that Wild Turkey had recently decided to transfer a greater share of its marketing budget to its international agency partners. The PR firm that pitched us this one, however, confirmed that there was a review and that JWT won.

Honestly, we feel that Matthew’s talents as a creative director might have been put to better use in helping HBO avoid the embarrassment that was True Detective Season 2.

Publicis Places Saatchi Chairman Kevin Roberts on Leave of Absence Over Diversity Comments

A quick summary of the weekend’s events surrounding Saatchi & Saatchi global chairman Kevin Roberts, in case you missed it:

On Friday, we wrote about Roberts’ London interview with Kara O’Reilly of Business Insider. In that conversation, he made some controversial statements about gender issues in advertising, essentially saying diversity in terms of male/female leadership was no longer an issue and that he doesn’t spend “any time” on such matters at his agencies. In his own words, “The fucking debate is all over.”

He went on to dismiss some who campaign on the issue, listing Cindy Gallop in particular as having “problems that are of her own making.”

Various parties seemed thoroughly unimpressed by his comments, and the situation escalated quickly.

Early Saturday morning — after the BI post ran and we aggregated it — Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy sent an email to Campaign in which he wrote: “The opinion expressed by Kevin is neither shared nor supported by myself or the Groupe. It is his own, expressed in his unique and provocative way and does not reflect the Groupe opinion or policy.”

Kat Gordon of the 3 Percent Conference then told Adweek that her group’s own research disproves Roberts’ points, stating, “I can say with complete statistical backup that Mr. Roberts is wrong about gender bias being solved in the ad world.”

12 hours later, Roberts was pushed out of his position — at least temporarily. On Saturday evening, Publicis PR sent a statement to Adweek and others about the decision, explaining how Publicis Groupe Chairman & CEO, Maurice Lévy had also sent out an internal memo distancing himself from Roberts comments and reiterating the holding company’s “no-tolerance policy towards behavior or commentary counter to the spirit of Publicis Groupe” and its commitment to diversity. Roberts’ long-term future with Publicis and Saatchi & Saatchi will ultimately be determined by the Publicis Groupe Supervisory Board. 

Adweek then reported that Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Robert Senior also released a statement disavowing Roberts’ comments. “Kevin has given what are his personal views on the subject of gender diversity. However, those views are not mine, and nor are they the position of the agency,” he said. 

“Saatchi & Saatchi is, and has always been, a meritocracy. We live and die by our people, our talent, and it makes no difference to us whether that talent is male or female,” he continued, adding that 65 percent of the agency’s staff are female, including senior leadership roles.

“However, the issue of gender diversity is not in any way over for our industry. It is live, emotive and vital for the communications business that we continue to insist that the best people, whatever their gender, are able to achieve their potential,” he added. This is what we strive for at Saatchi & Saatchi, and is what we will continue to strive for alongside all of the best agencies in our industry.”?

Mr. Roberts himself has yet to make a comment on this story.

Here’s Publicis Groupe’s full statement:

Following the comments made by Saatchi & Saatchi Executive Chairman and Publicis Groupe Head Coach, Kevin Roberts, in a recent interview with Business Insider, Publicis Groupe Chairman & CEO, Maurice Lévy addressed a statement internally to all Publicis Groupe employees to reiterate the Groupe’s no-tolerance policy towards behavior or commentary counter to the spirit of Publicis Groupe and its celebration of difference as captured in the motto Viva la Difference!

It is for the gravity of these statements that Kevin Roberts has been asked to take a leave of absence from Publicis Groupe effective immediately. As a member of The Directoire, it will ultimately be the Publicis Groupe Supervisory Board’s duty to further evaluate his standing.

Diversity & inclusion are business imperatives on which Publicis Groupe will not negotiate. While fostering a work environment that is inclusive of all talent is a collective responsibility, it is leadership’s job to nurture the career aspirations and goals of all our talent.

Promoting gender equality starts at the top and the Groupe will not tolerate anyone speaking for our organization who does not value the importance of inclusion. Publicis Groupe works very hard to champion diversity and will continue to insist that each agency’s leadership be champions of both diversity and inclusion.