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4As Face of Talent lauds MAIP and high school alum; asks adland to lift diverse voices



The 4As hosted The Face of Talent, it’s annual summer week of programming to celebrate its multi-pronged set of talent initiatives.

Since 2011, The Face of Talent has been considered as a ‘graduation ceremony of sorts for its 45-year-old MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Intern Program) fellowship. This year’s group, a record 213 college juniors seniors and grad students became fellow, representing roughly 50 agencies in hubs like Miami, Kansas City, Boston, Chicago, New York, Austin, San Fran and Los Angeles.

The Drum took a closer look at the highlights, which included a host and keynote that both brought the crowd of roughly 700 to standing ovations. There were also pitches from the trade organization to invest in the massive pipeline of talent it’s built and honorees that spoke dissected how the industry is addressing the challenges women and people of color face each day.

MAIP, high schools, and a unified talent initiative front

This year, as said by 4As senior vice president of talent initiatives Keesha Jean-Baptiste, marked the first time that MAIP, the 4A's two ad schools, and the 4As foundation could fully benefit from the week of training, leadership luncheons, and community service.

Jean-Baptiste, who last year joined from Wieden+Kennedy to succeed former talent initiatives lead Singleton Beato (now chief diversity officer at McCann Worldgroup), said to attendees: “I took this role because I want us to be more thoughtful. Every decision we make as an industry does or does not support diversity and inclusion in the industry.”

In order to do that, Jean-Baptiste said that the onus is on agencies to foster workplaces that are enlightened and allow for equity between those in positions of privilege and power and talent that is underrepresented in the industry but over-indexes on cultural impact.

Jean-Baptiste referenced the initiatives the 4As had in place and highlighted the Workplace Enlightenment Certification that the 4As launched earlier in the year to foster safer, more culturally-attuned agency environments.

“Workplace support,” she said, “requires thinking critically about who is represented, and “the environments of oppression that we sometimes place people in within the workplace.”

A pantheon, philosopher and gladiator show strides for progress

Tuesday's Face of Talent leadership luncheon audience consisted of the 200+ fellows, MAIP alumni, recruiters and over 75+ executives filled the newly repurposed Ziegfield Ballroom in NYC and took in an air of unity and activism.

Host for the occasion, Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder and chief of VC firm Pipeline Angels had set the tone with a quote from the headline-grabbing Beyonce Vogue issue.

"Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens,” she recited in front of the group of young professionals and execs alike, “we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like."

She followed up with a smile to the fellows, who all came to New York for a week's worth of programming that included the luncheon, MAIP's Greenhouse, a creative talent incubator, MAIP Cares Day, a community service day with Omnicom Health Group; and an agency immersion with Dentsu Aegis Group.

"I have been changing the face of angel investing," Oberti Noguera said, "and you all are changing the face of advertising."

In between wardrobe changes that Oberti Noguera used to highlight the LGBTQ community and the disabled and Latinx community, the 4As honored a group of industry leaders who have been pushing their ideals forward.

First, a new award: the Philosopher Award, given to Professor Douglas Davis of The City University of New York — City Tech, for his leverage of educational talents to help students at his own school and the two advertising schools Meca (pronounced ‘mecca’) and iAM find their way into profitable creative careers.

Tiffany Edwards, engagement and inclusion director of Droga5 and Karen Costello, The Martin Agency’s chief creative, were recipients of the 4As/MAIP Pantheon and Gladiator awards respectively.

Edwards, who had overseen diversity and inclusion practices at The One Club and Advertising Club of New York before joining Droga in 2017 had been lauded by chief operating officer Susie Nam for her architecture of initiatives such as the One Club creative boot camp, (W)Here Are All the Black People career fair, as well as other internal and external initiatives for agency and industry.

As for Costello, who was introduced by her colleague, Martin Agency chief Kristen Cavallo, her award came for stepping up to drive the agency forward from what Cavallo called “the agency’s own #MeToo moment”

“We’re probably two of the few women who got our C-suite roles without an interview,” Cavallo joked, before saying of her colleague, “Karen stepping into the role wasn’t a handout, but something she had earned for a very long time. She’s grabbed the brass ring and helped us achieve equal pay across the agency and allowed us to look towards our future as an agency.”

Other honorees included MAIP’s fellow of the year and One Club/creative fellow of the year, handed to Alicia Harris and Racquel Ortega, as well as the selective Bill Sharp Award for the future of advertising, given to alumni Donovan Tripplett of BBDO Atlanta.

Sheldon Levy, member of the inaugural class of 1973 (and noted as the first MAIP alum to retire from his post), led a pinning ceremony for the young alums, who now join a group of over 3,500 alumni across the ad and media industries.

Addressing the keys to the diversity equation.

Keynoting the event was a relative outsider to the 4As community: Blavity co-founder Jonathan Jackson. Jackson had helped launch the media outlet in 2014 and left the company earlier this year on a research trip for the Nieman scholarship for journalism he received from Harvard.

The media executive used his 10 minutes to address each facet of the industry’s diversity and inclusion pipeline: the MAIP alum in the room, recruiters, and C-suite attendees

First, to the Maipers in the room, he said: “You get to be the people we never had. You are not here by some cosmic accident, or a fluke, or a mistake, or a typo. You deserve to be in this room, in this place, for such a time as this.

“Even if you never get selected for anything else in your career— don’t worry, you will — you are worthy because you draw breath. It may take some time to emotionally engage with that truth, but once you let it envelop you, you will continue to reimagine yourself, and the world around you. You do not have to become a person of value. You were born as such. No job, no award, and no accolade will give you that.”

Then, to the talent leads, he added: “Performative wokeness will not bring us any closer to a world that has more equity or justice. Please do not put ‘diversity champion in your bio if you aren’t interested in winning intersectional games.’

"These people don’t come into your organization unfixable; but the systems in place need overhauls so they can meet the standards and needs of the people you want to recruit, but struggle to retain. That is a hefty challenge, but it is in fact, the unsexy part of the work.”

Finally, addressing his fellow executives, Jackson told them to consider their legacy when addressing those in underprivileged communities. “Your legacy will be defined by how you nurture and slingshot the talent in this room,” he said.

“If your succession plan doesn’t look like this room, I’m not sure you have one that is adequate in scope, and dynamic in its intentions. Please rethink it.”

For the 213 fellows who spent more than 20 weeks in virtual training and in paid internships across the country, the luncheon provided a wake-up call: exposure to the leaders of industry and the confidence to consider themselves equals in a greater push towards making Madison Avenue an even playing field for all.

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Workshop to examine future of marketing and advertising in a GDPR world.



An expert on marketing and data privacy will be the trainer in a forthcoming workshop, to be held on 12th September in Central London, looking at the likely impact of GDPR on the future of advertising and marketing.

Hellen Beveridge, a data protection and privacy expert, and a multi-disciplinary marketing professional with over 25 years of experience across a broad range of industries, will be taking the workshop.

It’s not just GDPR. Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR), and the imminent ePrivacy Regulation, all have major implications for marketing and advertising.

Hellen, who is currently the Privacy Lead at Data Oversight, where she helps organisations understand and implement data protection strategies, will be covering topics including:

An overview of the regulatory framework and privacy laws within the UK, EU, alongside a global perspective.

Customer trust and privacy, looking at how businesses should take the initiative.

Assessing your vulnerabilities from a risk management perspective.

How to ensure your data sources are compliant from a data capture and data purchase perspective.

Everything you need to know about consent and the compliant opt-in, opt-out process.

The interpretation of legitimate interest and impact upon direct marketing.

The rise of contextual advertising at the expense of personalised advertising.

Hellen is also the moderator for the marketing stream of GDPR Summit London and is an experienced expert speaker on data protection.

To book a place visit this page.
By Daniel Hunter, Fresh Business Thinking.

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Watch this space: When will brand integration finally take off?



Back in 1982, Reese’s Pieces and ET changed the game when it came to product placement. But with streaming services offering advertisers ever more opportunities and Netflix’s Stranger Things carving out its own place in the product pantheon, but when are we really likely to see brand integration become the norm rather than the exception?

In the history of brand integration, there are a few ‘gold standards’ that come to mind when talking to industry professionals. The first, which always seems to be on lists, is the Reese’s Pieces integration in Stephen Spielberg’s classic ET. As the story goes, M&M’s maker Mars passed on the opportunity and Hershey’s snapped it up, agreeing to spend $1m promoting the film in exchange for using ET in its ads. Hershey’s tripled sales of the new product and the investment was estimated to have resulted in $15-$20m worth of brand promotion.

There are other iconic integrations. Aston Martin and Heineken with James Bond (though many other automotive brands have been part of the franchise); Mini in The Italian Job; FedEx and Wilson in Cast Away; Ray-Ban in Risky Business; Nike in What Women Want. The list is long and distinguished and, today, brand integration is arguably more critical than ever as behaviors and consumption habits change – especially in television as streaming continues to gain momentum.

According to research by Morning Consult, as of October 2017 in the US 32% of respondents were using streaming services more than traditional TV, and 14% were watching traditional TV and streaming about the same amount. Amazon Video has seen an uptick in subscribers to 64 million in the US (up from 48 million in 2016) and is expected to reach 94 million by 2022, according to Digital TV Research. Netflix has seen substantial growth, with more than 109 million worldwide subscribers – up from around 23 million at the end of 2011.

Continued growth in this space presents a unique challenge, as well as opportunities, for brands. One Netflix show in particular, the highly popular Stranger Things, seems to be next in line to carve out its place in the brand integration pantheon.

“We did more than 5,000 [integrations] last year, [which is] about 14 a day, and one that stands out is Stranger Things,” says Greg Isaacs, chief product and marketing officer at Branded Entertainment Network (BEN).

Indeed, when discussing the show, a conversation around Kellogg’s Eggo brand is sure to be among the first mentioned.

“I just thought that was such a pivotal part of [Stranger Things character] Eleven’s storyline, with her finding something of comfort,” says prop master Scott Bauer, a 20-year Hollywood veteran. “It was a brilliant piece of storytelling and product integration.”

Eggos aside, the show is proving that brands offer a savvy way in which to make an impact – Stranger Things has done impressive hookups with legacy brands that tap into its1980s vibe, such as Oreo, KFC and Reebok.

“There was a scene at a dinner table where four of the characters were talking,” says Isaacs, “and the KFC bucket, it was just sitting in the middle of the table for over two-and-a-half minutes. And not only was it sitting there, at the end the characters, and I’m paraphrasing, but they essentially said, ‘Wow, this is finger-licking good.’ That is extremely hard to do, and so authentic.”



Being authentic matters more than ever

Authenticity is a critical component of brand integration and one that relies on a great deal of trust between brands and creators. To the brands, there is an expectation that the product will have prominence. To creators, including producers, showrunners, prop masters and transportation on productions, having brands involved helps create a more effective and authentic story.

“One of the toughest things for brands to understand when integrating their products into stories is that their brand actually can’t be front and center. If it is, the audience trusts the story less. If it’s integrated seamlessly, then the audience doesn’t care, because they’re being entertained,” says Lesley Chilcott, producer, and director of films like An Inconvenient Truth and It Might Get Loud.

“Forcing an integration where it feels and looks unnatural can seriously backfire,” adds Pattie Falch, brand director, Heineken sponsorships and events. “Content integration is not an opportunity to create a commercial — it’s about finding authentic moments that enhance the story, and the brand plays a big role in bringing those moments to life.”

The danger of? Making a viewer hop out of their comfort zone to feel as though they have to pay attention to a brand, versus the story itself, is borne out in how audiences think about advertising in general.

“One of the things we’ve seen consistently, in the research we do, is that audiences prefer integration over interruption, by massive percentages,” says Aaron Frank, vice-president of strategy and insights at BEN. “When it’s done in an authentic manner, where it’s aligned with the characters and advancing the storyline, audiences say they don’t mind that it’s there. When it feels like a commercial in the show, it turns [audiences] off. The best marketers want to create an emotional connection between the product and the audience, their customers.”

“That’s where the art comes into this whole business,” adds Isaacs.

No longer a ‘nice to have’

With the continued momentum of content creation (there was $17bn disclosed in new content creation across Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, Apple and Facebook), especially among platforms that don’t necessarily deal in traditional advertising, there are ample opportunities for brands to get on the bandwagon relatively early.

“With a 30-minute episode, whether it’s on streaming or broadcast, if you think about just how many different scenes there are, and characters, and opportunities for brands, it’s a tremendous amount. You can watch a 30-minute episode, and there might be 20 brands in there,” says Isaacs. “We did an analysis where only about 1.5%-2% of arguable impressions are being utilized today for integration. That leaves 98% available.”

Marketers continue to look for places to make an impact and, according to Isaacs, streaming audiences will be larger than broadcast. Additionally, the fact that, for the most part, brands can’t advertise in traditional ways illustrates the opportunity afforded in brand integration. Also, increasingly sophisticated measurement signals a potentially safe place for brands to dig in.

Taking a test-and-learn approach, like traditional advertising, is becoming more frequent in the integration space and improved measurement is critical for its prospects.

“We now understand the impact of these integrations on some base-marketing KPIs,” says Frank. “Whether that’s awareness of the brand, consideration or purchase intent, we’re able to do studies that give a real sense of the impact and effectiveness of integrations on audiences. That’s what marketers want — to be able to understand if they are making the right investment, and if it’s turning into ROI for them.”

With an ever-expanding playing field and content progressing at a staggering rate, in Isaac’s mind this could very well become another ‘golden moment’ for the combined power of brands and entertainment.

“Brands used to think about integration as a ‘nice to have’ or a one-off,” he says. “Today, they’re viewing them as campaigns, which means they’re in for the longer haul. I think 2018 is the year that brand integration will become a necessity.”\

This feature was first published in The Drum's February issue, the Future of TV.

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Heidi Hackemer: you need your talent more than they need you



What is it about today’s ad industry that makes Heidi Hackemer angry? Well, there’s the assholes and there’s the shitty clients and there’s the talkers that don’t do and there’s ping pong and there’s…

What makes me angry? People treating other people like replaceable cogs, leaders saying ‘it’s all about the work’ so they can continue to treat people like cogs and collect the executive salaries that come from having an army of cogs. And then allowing your army of cogs to get abused by shitty clients. How can people get treated like this in the name of advertising for chrissakes?!

Women getting harassed. Women getting marginalized. Men saying we’re making it up.

Putting all white guys in a bucket and labeling them the problem. Asshole white guys.

Confusing ping pong tables with building a strong culture. Bowing at the altar of the creative departments and the almighty creative director.

Walking into rooms with only white, straight people in them. Talking POC, but not hiring POC. Hiring token POC. Talking diversity, but not hiring diversity. Hiring token diversity.

An intern/junior hire pool dominated by each other’s kids/nieces/nephews/neighbors.

Net 60, Net 90, Net 120 client payment terms.

Getting to know ‘Middle America’ (or any audience) through focus room glass. Thinking those people ‘don’t get it’ or are less than us.

Talkers who talk about ‘bravery’, ‘social impact’, ‘diversity’, ‘how to build/run/staff a modern agency’, but aren’t truly doing it day-in and day-out. The industry glorifying these talkers.

Burn out as norm. ‘It’s just the way the industry works.’

So how can we fix it? Start by figuring your company’s values. Make your values about your people, not just the work. Talk about your values. Make sure every single decision is rooted in those values. Talk freely and often about that decisionmaking and values process, even when it means revealing tough decisions to your employees (without freaking them out) and having tough/unusual conversations with clients.

Hire good people. Marginalize the assholes. Find the other good people in the industry and the world. Make a pact to be better together. Share ideas. Support each other.

Honestly acknowledge your privilege. Use it to help others.

Create humane rules of engagement (based on your values) with your clients. Talk to them about it. Deliver work that’s good enough so that you can enforce those rules.

Get obsessed with brand… and anyone who can be a part of building it powerfully.

Invest in people (nice side effect: you’ll most likely see the cost of churn plummet while seeing the quality of the work skyrocket).

Take growth and training seriously. Make budgets and time for it. Understand and respect the science and data around the 40-hour work week. Have all bosses and their reports do a weekly one-one-one. Do a weekly ‘all-hands’. Post-mortem projects with your teams, listen to the pain points and figure out better ways forward together. Do a weekly meeting that tracks potential issues with overwork and/or clients and solve for them. Enforce and model work-free vacations. Don’t make weekend work regular work. Build a nap room. Cut off email at 7pm; invest in Boomerang for nightowl workers. Get your people out of the office, both for work and for life. Preach and practice empathy.

Create a company that’s bigger than any one person (that’s going to rely on that whole values thing – see above). Celebrate the wins, the big and the small ones.

Hire and support women. Hire and support POC. Hire and support the LGBTQIAP+ community. Hire and support veterans. Hire and support whatever type of person that you/we don’t usually hire and support. Listen to them.

Fire people that aren’t in line with your values.

Have a legit parental leave policy. Listen to and work with parents.

Get interns from MAIP. Get interns from Prep for Prep. Work with unexpected universities to give kids that aren’t in our socioeconomic class/tribe a shot. Make your kids/nieces/nephews/neighbors submit applications to jobs in the application pool; don’t make that follow-up phone call.

Make space for the doers to talk: it’s good that you believe it or understand the theory of it, but if you haven’t truly done it or lived it let those that have write/talk/teach/pontificate about it.

Try new things. Try hard things. Try ‘crazy’ things. Be willing to fuck up. Talk about the fuck ups. Apologize if necessary.

Keep trying.

Heidi Hackemer is founder of Wolf & Wilhelmine and vice-president of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative creative studio.

This piece was first published in The Drum's Anger issue in November 2017.

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