The unfairness (and wisdom) of paint

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Repainting your house the same color it already was feels like a waste. It’s a lot of effort merely to keep things as they are.

But if you don’t do it, time and entropy kick in and the house starts to fade.

The same can be said for 1,000 elements of your organization, including your relationships with customers, staff, suppliers and technology. The way you approach your market, the skill you bring to your craft, the culture in your organization—it constantly needs another coat of paint.

Rust never sleeps.

[PS… delighted that I’ll be speaking at the upcoming Convertkit event in June in Boise… Hope to see you there.]

April 30th 2017 Uncategorized

SheaMoisture’s growing pains as they expand market – social media backlash for ads

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A funny thing happened on SheaMoisture’s way to expanding their market share… They offended their core market and have been met with a hailstorm of criticism on social media, blogs and vlogs ever since. If you search Youtube for “SheaMoisture Cancelled,” you’ll find plenty of influencers giving their opinion of the controversy.

The hated ad Hair hate is real follows in the footsteps of their brand relaunch last year where their brand promised to the break down the walls between the “ethnic” aisle and the “beauty” aisle. In the new ad that stirred up all the negative reactions, a few women speak about their ‘hair journeys’, from hating their hair to finally accepting it and loving it. The concept of learning to love your natural hair is very similar to an earlier Dove ad called “Love your hair.”

The problem with the ad is the casting. The women in it all have beautiful hair worthy of envy, because they use Shea Products, but they speak of having had a hard time accepting their hair before learning to love it. The light skinned black girl has fantastic loose curls and long hair, the redhead’s hair is shiny and a beautiful color, the blond seems to channel all stereotypical airhead blonds, because she simply did not know what to do with her hair. The black girl’s complaint about her hair was that people threw paper on it, which would stick. What she is describing sounds like school bullying. The redhead admits to bleaching her hair, because she wasn’t “meant to be a redhead” (something that actually carries a stigma still in certain parts of the world), which just sounds like her own self-confidence issue… And then the blond just didn’t know what to do. No wonder people got annoyed by this ad. Let’s watch.
Shea Moisture – Hair Hate is real

The tone of the ad is in a word wrong. The ad is as tone deaf as the Jenner Pepsi ad. Their stories sound superficial, and the casting is a brutal fail. The reaction from the core fans of the brand have honed in on this, specifically. There’s only one curly haired woman in the ad, and she’s got the perfectly attractive soft ringlet curl. There’s no kinky haired women in the ad, no coiled hair. SheaMoisture realize that they hit all the wrong notes and issued an unusually humble apology on their Instagram:

“Wow, okay – so guys, listen, we really f-ed this one up. Please know that our intention was not – and would never be – to disrespect our community, and as such, we are pulling this piece immediately because it does not represent what we intended to communicate. You guys know that we have always stood for inclusion in beauty and have always fought for our community and given them credit for not just building our business but for shifting the beauty landscape. So, the feedback we are seeing here brings to light a very important point. While this campaign included several different videos showing different ethnicities and hair types to demonstrate the breadth and depth of each individual’s hair journey, we must absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way. We are keenly aware of the journey that WOC face – and our work will continue to serve as the inspiration for work like the Perception Institute’s Good Hair Study/Implicit Association Test that suggests that a majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of color based on their textured or natural hair. So, you’re right. We are different – and we should know better. Thank you all, as always, for the honest and candid feedback. We hear you. We’re listening. We appreciate you. We count on you. And we’re always here for you. Thank you, #SheaFam, for being there for us, even when we make mistakes. Here’s to growing and building together…”

But it was too late, the outrage-ball was already rolling. CampaignLive reported that actress Yvette Nicole Brown called SheaMoisture out for building its brand “on the backs of black people” and then tossing them aside when it went mainstream.

Her comments were made on “The Karen Hunter Show,” which airs on Sirius XM’s Urban View channel.

“Back in the day, the first shows [Fox] had were a lot of black shows, and they built their entire brand on the backs of shows like ‘Living Single’ and ‘In Living Color,’” said Brown, who’s known for her roles in NBC’s “Community” and CBS’s “The Odd Couple.” “It’s a model that they follow in network television. [They] will build the brand on the backs of black people because there’s not a lot of entertainment for us, and then once they get their numbers up, they throw us aside, and then they make it a white network.”

Brown noted that Fox isn’t the only network to follow this pattern, citing UPN, the WB and the CW as other examples. She then suggested that SheaMoisture, a brand she has long admired, was following the same pattern.

“And so I’m just saying that that’s the model,” Brown said. “We’re always the last ones that they cater to. They use us to build, build, build, and then they just toss us aside.”

Campaignlive also embeds the Tweet discussion between Yvette Nicole Brow & their article’s author, as they have altered their article on Friday since “Yvette Nicole Brown used her Twitter feed to express her dissatisfaction with our choice of words to describe her comments.”

Celebrities and influencers are not the only people who has been tweeting about this brand misstep, everyone from ADPR professionals offering to prevent future blunders to fashionistas, influencers and fans have tweeted about the ad. As Adweek notes “Black Twitter registered its disapproval of the first ad in the brand’s new campaign.” It’s the same on Black Instagram and Black Youtube. Ironic that the brand who wishes to break down the walls is disparaged from only one side of the metaphorical aisle. Rumours of watered down formulas in order to appeal to the “white market” are flying around, while SheaMoisture vehemently denies this is the case.

I cringed watching the @SheaMoisture commercial created by @vaynermedia, & I'm a black ADPR pro. @garyvee, do you have any POC on your team?— Erica Smith (@MrsEricaSmith) April 25, 2017

@SheaMoisture …and this is vaynermedia. The people hired for the media campaign project.— Winter (@wintermachelle) April 26, 2017

Fastcompany reports on what Shea Moisture learned from their social media disaster: Shea Moisture parent Sundial Brands co-founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis says as the brand broadens its consumer market, it cannot forget or even appear to forget its core audience.

“It just shows the level of love and passion people have for the brand, and how much they want to make sure it continues to stand for them, even as it starts to broaden its audience, they want to make sure they’re not left behind,” says Richelieu. “And that’s clear to us. We need to make sure we spend the time engaging with that community, encouraging them, and letting them know that just because we’re growing doesn’t mean they’re less important. in fact, they become more important because they’re the ones who have always advocated for us.”

He says he recognizes the larger issue here, that goes far beyond a haircare product. The racial stereotypes that have impacted black women, and their lack of representation in media and advertising, were not adequately taken into consideration. “To equate their struggles with hair to those of other women, is in their minds trivializing their struggles, and we can’t forget that,” says Richelieu. “The people who are unhappy here aren’t necessarily saying they don’t like white women. What they are saying is, for decades they’ve been underserved and white women have plenty of products on the shelves and advertising aimed at them, and that we should keep our focus on our audience, and not lose that focus just because we’re broadening our audience.”

Last year’s ad, created by Droga5, spoke about breaking down the walls in the beauty supply stores. SheaMoisture are a family operated brand that originated in South Africa 25 years ago. “For a long time, we said that the only place in America where segregation was still legal was the beauty aisle. So we waited 16 years to bring our products to retail because we refused to operate within a system where our community was not served well with choice, access or inclusion. Let’s be clear. Separate but equal has never worked in any arena, including beauty. So, we were proud with Break the Walls to tell the stories of so many women who ever experienced being underserved by the beauty industry – and we will continue to tell those stories.” It’s on this inclusive thought that the brands core message rests. In this day and age a message of individuality and inclusiveness seems like it would be loved by everyone, but there’s a balance in branching out. Brands that were adopted by subcultures before going mainstream such as Converse and Dr Martens know that the core fans can be turned off easily. Rumours about products being watered down aren’t quelled by an ad that frankly looks like a watered down “safe” Dove ad.
Shea Moisture – Hair Hate is real

SheaMoisture has been accused of “whitewashing” earlier this year, together with other natural hair brands: “Carol’s Daughter and Shea Moisture are ready to appeal to a wider audience — but who loses out?” But SheaMoisture responded quite firmly to that, reminding fans that “we don’t take any of our community for granted and are a certified minority, black-owned, family-held business that has taken pride in serving our community for 25 years – when large conglomerates ignored women of color and simply marketed products to them vs. making products for them.”

We have different hair and skin needs based on who we are as individuals. As a company, we have chosen to take a more thoughtful and specific approach to our products that is based on those needs – whether hair that is 4c, 3b, 2a, thick, thinning, damaged, dry, coily, curly, wavy, straight…or skin that is dry, oily, or distressed by psoriasis, eczema or any number of conditions – we’ve created a product for it. We make no apologies for solving for and speaking to our community as human beings and not as data points.

Human beings, not data points! Preach it! As I’ve revealed when reviewing before, I shop in the “ethnic aisle” when I travel to the US because if I don’t, my hair looks like this:— adland ® (@adland) April 29, 2017

The issue rests entirely with the ad’s execution. It cast the wrong models and each hair-journey sounded like superficial tripe. If there’s one thing all consumers have in common, is that they can tell when you’re being disingenuous. This will always cause a backlash regardless of who your target is. Any brand that wants to grow to expand their market share will have to balance on the edge where they don’t offend the core while reaching out to the mainstream. It’s ironic though, that a brand that grew in the aftermath of apartheid has to actually justify wanting to be inclusive to all people.

@D_HamptonInn Yup. #Sheamoisture made an ad w a red head basically complaining she wasn't white enough & always died her hair blonde. Oh how tragic..— candace reynolds (@CandIIRey) April 25, 2017

After that ad #SheaMoisture— AKA_eg0centric (@AKAeg0centric) April 26, 2017

THIS is the underlying issue. It was never just about the #SheaMoisture ad. The ad was a REFLECTION that #BlackWomen were NOT at the table.— Angela Angel (@MDAdvocateAngel) April 25, 2017

Shea Moisture comparing a white redhead to historical hatred of Blk WMN's natural hair…How many more tone-deaf ads will we get this year?— #LemonBae (@LemonClarkMedia) April 24, 2017

@SheaMoisture did black people like Alfalfa did Darla in Lil Rascals…white people came around, and they were like "hide in the closet"…— Mr. P. Levy (@matrix_cake) April 29, 2017

does shea moisture think my negro ass cares about a white girl getting teased for having red hair? girl….— professor finesser (@akrillics) April 24, 2017

April 30th 2017 Uncategorized

Roots Canada “150 years of being nice” (2017) 1:00 (Canada)

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Roots Canada "150 years of being nice" (2017) 1:00 (Canada)
Clothing store Roots Canada celebrates 150 years of being nice in this spot to celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday. That’s 150 years of Canadian moments throughout the century and a half that demonstrating how nice Canadians have been to their people, to others and the world. Canada, was nice in giving us John Candy and Dan Ackroyd. In being the 4th country to legalize gay marriage to breaking the color barrier in hockey with Willie O’Ree to creating Greenpeace to welcoming in Syrian refugees. Nice? You bet. Humble? Nope. This is chest beating with a capital C.
April 30th 2017 Uncategorized

Cadence Films Adds Director Clayton Vomero To Its Paris Roster

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New York and Paris-based production and management company Cadence Films is excited to announce that Clayton Vomero has joined the team of innovative directors on their Paris roster.

Vomero, who splits his time between New York and London, comes to Cadence with a wealth of experience as a writer and director. He has told stories for a diverse range of agencies, people, periodicals, and global brands including but not limited to Amazon, Apple, Jockey, Nike, Facebook and Under Armour.

There’s a living energy and an eye for humanity that Vomero brings to all his work. Describing himself as “overly empathetic” and “someone who genuinely likes human beings,” Vomero has an undeniable gift for capturing the true essence of his locations and subjects. This tangible sense of realness is evidenced by his 2015 short film Gang, a gritty portrait of friendship in New York City starring Major Lazer choreographer Mela Murder and Ghostface Killah’s son Infinite, which was met with overwhelming acclaim.

He often uses physicality and movement to build his characters; from UFC fighters training and competing to street kids dancing – he brings performances to life with more than just facial expressions and dialogue. A self-described “maker of mean, dirty, visual things that people either laugh at or cry to,” Vomero also has a knack for evoking the tenderness within, as evidenced by his emotionally-driven Facebook spot highlighting one woman’s fight with cancer. His attention to the small moments is part of what landed him on the Dazed100, a guide to the next generation of artists shaping culture.

Cadence Films carries a deep bench of directors with unmistakable individual styles, who bring a specific perspective and a dynamic edge to every project they touch. This has set Cadence apart as a destination production house for visionary and influential brands, agencies and artists wanting to leave their imprint on the culture at large.

April 30th 2017 Uncategorized

Internationally Acclaimed Framestore Joins Chicago Community

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Oscar-winning Framestore is opening its third US location, and fifth globally, in Chicago’s West Loop May 1st. The office will be run by current Framestore employees David Mellor, as Creative Director, and Raven Sia, as Head of Production. Newly appointed Krystina Wilson will lead as Executive Producer, joining from The Mill in Chicago.

Framestore’s Chicago office signals an expansive growth period for Framestore’s Integrated Advertising division, which in 2016 had its most successful year to date. Winning a slew of accolades including Clio and LIA Production Company of the Year, and Ciclope’s Visual Effects Company of the Year, along with over 70 awards for the groundbreaking group VR experience ‘Field Trip to Mars’, including 19 Cannes Lions.

‘The value of proximity is key,’ explains Jon Collins, President of Integrated Advertising on the move to Chicago. ‘We’ve always partnered with Chicago agencies, brands and production companies but now we’re developing the work within the community and operating as part of the culture.’

Framestore recently flexed its animation skills with Leo Burnett Chicago to update Kellogg’s animated brand icon Tony The Tiger. They also worked with FCB Chicago to produce, direct and build seven CG characters for a new six-spot TV campaign for Cox Communications.
Chief Production Officer Diane Jackson of DDB Chicago says of Framestore, ‘Like many in the production community here in Chicago, I’m delighted to see world class talent and a major player, such as Framestore investing in our market. DDB is thriving and the demands for us to deliver original, effective, innovative production solutions is why companies, such as Framestore, are critical to our ongoing success.’
‘Each new office retains the Framestore DNA but also carries the nuances of each unique market and executive leadership,’ continues Collins. ‘We’re thrilled to join the Chicago community and excited to see David, Raven and Krystina take these new leadership positions.’

David Mellor and Raven Sia are both seasoned Framestore veterans, with Raven’s tenure at twelve years to David’s fourteen. They both share ambitious and diverse portfolios. Raven has executive produced GEICO’s acclaimed Gecko campaign for many years, and is proud of the recent work with Framestore directing and executing the CG brand icon. She also produced content for Morgan Stanley’s Times Square digital signage with Framestore Labs, which won the first-ever D&AD Pencil in Data Visualization. The projects she has produced have won Webbys, VES award nominations and Outstanding VFX accolades.

Mellor has worked in nearly every department and at every level within Framestore, spanning Runner to Head of CG. In addition to his title of Creative Director he is an awarded Director with Framestore Pictures, with whom he recently co-directed Chick-Fil-A’s TV and VR campaign, ‘Cowz VR.’ In recognition of his technical and creative skills Mellor won a CLIO in Direction for Qualcomm Snapdragon’s ‘Coming Soon’, and the spot was nominated for two Cannes Lions.

Krystina Wilson joins as Executive Producer from The Mill’s Chicago office, where she helped launch the company’s Midwest office in 2013.

Wilson states, ‘First and foremost, we want the production and the creative teams here in Chicago to view Framestore as a creative partner rather than a vendor. We have opened this office because we know the work coming out of the Midwest is some of the best in our business, and our goal is to house clients in a creative space where they feel like they can collaborate with our artists from inception to completion to create rich, iconic, and meaningful work.’

Led by Mellor, Sia and Wilson, the Framestore Chicago office will work with new and existing clients across brands, ad agencies and production companies. The office is actively hiring a wide range of staff roles, from production and artists through to office support. Services offered will encompass the range of Framestore’s offerings including post-production, live-action, VR, digital installations and CG character development.

‘A lot of our partners come to us for real technological solutions,’ adds Collins. ‘We’re known to deliver the right mix of creativity and craft. Since Chicago has always had its own distinct slant on creativity and production, we’re excited to see what we can brew up together.’

April 30th 2017 Uncategorized

Orange “The data collector” (2017) 1:56 (Germany)

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Orange "The data collector" (2017) 1:56 (Germany)
Here, step into this S&M dungeon.
Because we need to show you something.
Yeah I’ve heard that one before, nice try.
Step into the S&M dungeon and all will be revealed. You see– they are manipulating you.
Watch this video. Data miners are manipulating you.
But Brexit and the Presidential elections were voted on in countries that are democracies. Are you suggesting that somehow the people who voted for Brexit and Donald Trump were manipulated? 46 million people in America and 52% of the UK were manipulated? Do you really think that many people are sheep?
Keep watching the video.
I noticed you only chose the UK and America to represent. But if you are saying data mining companies like Facebook know everything about you, better than your parents then how are they so adept at manipulation? Moreover, don’t you think it’s a bit disingenuous to avoid showing Germany in your examples, since this is a German ad? Surely lots of people are duped by Merkel’s multikulti experiments too, no?
Keep watching. We have a remedy. It’s a plug-in for Chrome called < href=""> The Data Corruptor
Were you too lazy to create plug ins for Firefox and Safari as well, or?
The Data Corruptor will cause you to like other things, to confuse the data collectors.
Uh-huh. Do I have a choice in what it likes on my behalf?
And then the data mining companies will be confused.
You know people have been doing that organically for years now. Wouldn’t it be better to take a stand by telling people to delete their accounts?
We can fool the algorithm.
How do your other clients feel about this? I assume you run ads for your clients on social media and those same algorithms are the reason the ads get seen That’s how you make money, too. Now that I think about it, aren’t your strategists mining data to create a psychological profile of the demographic you want to sell things to? Again, isn’t that being hypocritical?
The Data Collector–
Don’t you think you’re being incredibly hypocritical as well as biased against English speaking countries? And your client, Orange by Handelsblatt, are you really trying to tell me that a journalism site is unbiased and not manipulative?
…And then see, we can corrupt all the data. Because data mining companies will get confused. And then we will win.
Uh-huh. Can you explain to me again why we’re in an S&M dungeon?

April 30th 2017 Uncategorized

Shea Moisture – Hair Hate is Real (2017) :30 (USA)

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Shea Moisture - Hair Hate is Real (2017) :30 (USA)
This ad and other edits of it was very shortlived on the air as Shea Moisture pulled it after receiving a massive backlash on social media and blogs from the core fans of the ad who felt pushed aside and ignored as the brand attempted to grow market share.

This ad has been pulled off the air due to backlash. See the article SheaMoisture’s growing pains as they expand market – social media backlash for ads.

@D_HamptonInn Yup. #Sheamoisture made an ad w a red head basically complaining she wasn't white enough & always died her hair blonde. Oh how tragic..— candace reynolds (@CandIIRey) April 25, 2017

See also the previous ad from Droga5 Shea Moisture – Hair Hate is real

April 30th 2017 Uncategorized

Romania creates the world’s first AI ambassador.

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If you’ve ever wondered anything about Romania, but were all “Gee I don’t want to go to Wikipedia today,” you are in luck! You can now visit Rom Bot, the AI ambassador of Romania. This bit of Romanian pride is brought to you by the chocolate brand ROM. In addition to machine learning, the AI gathered 1.5 million answers from Romanians who asked questions during the data gathering phase. And like any good ambassador, Rom Bot does his best to stay apolitical. So if you bring up the EU he is neutral. If you bring up Nicolae Ceausescu he gives you a very informed answer but the kind you’d receive at a dinner party. Rom Bot talks about everything from Romanian hackers to Nadia Comaneci, local cuisine and geography to vampires. Neat idea, and the tone is friendly and approachable, too.

Client: ROM chocolate
Agency: McCann Romania
Catalin Dobre – Chief Creative Officer McCann Romania
Ioana Filip – Executive Creative Director MRM//McCann Romania
Miruna Macri – Senior Art Director MRM//McCann Romania
Alin Sarbu – Art Director McCann Romania
Ioana Zamfir – Copywriter McCann Romania
Alexandros Charangionis – Copywriter MRM//McCann Romania
Mihai Vasile – Copywriter MRM//McCann Romania
Corina Ionita – Art Director MRM//McCann Romania
Mihai Titirig – Copywriter MRM//McCann Romania

April 30th 2017 Uncategorized

Empathy is the hard part

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The rest is mechanics. We’re not wired to walk in someone else’s shoes, it’s not our first instinct.

Showing up with empathy is difficult, hard to outsource and will wear you out.

But it’s precisely what we need from you.

April 29th 2017 Uncategorized

Here’s The Schedule For Google I/O 2017

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Google has announced the schedule for its next I/O event, which will be held between May 17-19 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in California. The developer-focused event will cover everything from Android and Chrome, through to Google Cloud and machine learning.
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April 29th 2017 Uncategorized