Agency Brief: 600 & Rising selects board of directors and advisory council
600 & Rising, the recently launched nonprofit dedicated to advocacy and advancement of Black talent in advertising, has appointed its board of directors. The 4A’s-backed nonprofit led by President Nathan Young, who is also group strategy director at Minneapolis agency Periscope, and VP-Partnerships Bennet D. Bennett, principal at consultancy Aerialist, says the directors will be instrumental in executing “its mission of dismantling systemic racism in the U.S. advertising industry through effective policy and zealous advocacy.” Notably, too, 600 & Rising says the board of directors are all Black with the exception of Allyship Chair Mira Kaddoura, which the organization points out is “the first of its kind in advertising-related nonprofits and one of the only such boards to exist in the U.S.”
“It’s important that Black advertising professionals deliver victory for ourselves, on our own terms,” Young says. “Only 2 percent of leadership in the advertising world is Black, and that statistic has remained relatively flat over the past 15 years. We aim to incite change; we are going to show the world just how effective and powerful Black leadership can be.”
In addition to appointing the board of directors, 600 & Rising—which began with 600 signatories, and now represents more than 2,800 Black members and non-Black allies—recruited a diverse Advisory Council “to help guide the organization’s movements” in the “critical early stages of growth.”
Alongside Young and Bennett, Gamelle Queen, VP of finance at Giant Spoon, is the third officer of 600 & Rising, serving as treasurer.
The board of directors are: Policy Chair Janey Griffin, chief strategy officer of Concreates; Membership Chair Husani Oakley, chief technology officer of Deutsch; Independent Agency Relations Chair Chris Witherspoon, president of DNA; Communications Chair Megan Tuck, VP of Bliss Integrated Communication; Education Chair Vann Graves, executive director of the VCU Brandcenter; Allyship Chair Kaddoura; and Held Agency Relations Chair Alima Trapp, senior VP of strategic planning at Doner.
The Advisory Council is comprised of Naj Austin, founder of Ethel’s Club; Jessica McGlory, head of growth at Verb; Santi Pochat, head of social lab at Google; Derek Walker, founder of Brown & Browner; Kat Gordon, founder of The 3% Movement; Kiana Pirouz, head of marketing at We Are Rosie; Steve Stoute, president of Translation; and Mike Warner, chief client officer of Egami Group.
“What you’ve witnessed in the first 30 days of our existence has been the result of two leaders forcing change in an industry that has been historically resistant to it,” Young adds. “Imagine what we will achieve with a team of 18. You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Come to Small Agency or miss out
And speaking of Nathan Young, he will lead a workshop at Ad Age’s Small Agency Conference & Awards coming Aug. 3-5. This can't-miss event is the only conference of its kind dedicated to the needs of small agencies with 150 employees or less. The three-day conference will tackle topics including how to get paid fairly (and on time); how to attract new clients; the prospects for drawing in new talent (the panel on such topic will be moderated by yours truly); the state of the economy; and what the upcoming presidential election might mean for the ad business. The lineup of influential speakers includes Sunday Dinner's Lindsey Slaby; Greg Hahn, who in a vote of confidence for small shops, joined No Fixed Address from BBDO; Jeff Goodby, a Lion of St. Mark and co-founder of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners; Keith Cartwright, founder of Cartwright; Chris Witherspoon, president and chief growth officer of DNA; and Sandy Greenberg, co-founder of Terri & Sandy. Gerry Graf will even take the virtual stage to talk about the closing of his celebrated shop, Barton F. Graf. Sign up for our Small Agency Conference & Awards here.
This studio is helping get Black artists hired for commercials
Barking Owl, a music and sound studio, debuted a new weekly series featuring intimate performances with rising Black artists in an effort to get them on the radars of brands, agencies, creatives and producers who may want to license their music for commercials. Called “Barking Owl Sessions,” the new series is produced by Barking Owl and global production company UNIT9. The companies say the initiative comes as “the entire industry is pushed to address diversity within agencies” and serves as a way to “point out that agencies should be committed to top-to-bottom diversity with partners as well—from directors to musicians to post-production and beyond.” Recent performances featured rappers Problem (who has written for Snoop Dogg), Jodie Jo (who never performed outside his bedroom before the session), and songwriting duo Campfire featuring Sean Eli. On Monday, R&B artist Alex Isley is set to take the stage. These sessions are already getting noticed—actor and producer Michael B. Jordan, for example, shared Problem’s performance in one of his Instagram Stories. Check out all the performances here.
FCB study finds 58 percent of LGBTQ workers are not out; urges companies to be better allies
FCB, after joining Out Leadership—which works with companies to become better LGBTQ allies—a little more than a year ago, recently underwent an extensive research project to help advance corporate allyship. The research consisted of three surveys: one that went out to 2,600 respondents in the U.S.; a second that, based on the findings from the first, went out to 5,600 participants from companies worldwide; and a follow-up survey that went out recently to 300 U.S. participants. The research takes a deep dive into workers’ attitudes toward the LGBTQ community and the impact of allyship on the experience of LGBTQ people in the workplace. The surveys went out to five regions in the U.S. as well as 10 other countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan and the U.K.
The full report can be found here but some of the findings include that 83 percent of respondents support workplace and state protections for LGBTQ individuals who are out at work; 68 percent of workers identify as allies; and 63 percent of LGBTQ workers feel their employer is fostering a safe environment most or all of the time. Still, the research found that 58 percent of LGBTQ workers hide their identity from coworkers and supervisors and 70 percent of those who are not out at work cite being “worried about not being promoted.” The research shows that not supporting LGBTQ workers comes at a cost: 52 percent of LGBTQ respondents say they channel at least 30 percent of their time at work “into hiding or downplaying their sexual orientation.” The report includes steps for companies to becoming better allies.
The research is being promoted through a series of short social videos encouraging companies to not just train better workers but better people and, ultimately, urges every business to “Ally Up” and “See how equal pays.”
VCU Brandcenter students start their own agency to offset canceled internships
As many agencies have been forced to cancel their internships amid the pandemic (although many still have reimagined them to go to virtual), a group of second-year students at VCU Brandcenter started their own agency to get the experience they need to enter the ad industry. Called The Carriage House, it is the Brandcenter’s first student-run creative co-op and alternative to summer internships. Since its official launch last month, students have begun pumping out creative and posting the work to the agency’s Instagram page, including this Black Lives Matter graphic. The Instagram page also introduces people to The Carriage House team, which is comprised of 50 students and recent graduates. Leading The Carriage House are six student executive board members: Dinma Onyekwere, Kim Burgess, Alexandra Daniel, Chrissy Boals, Sophie Whitfield and Shannon Gill. The group says their skills include campaign and marketing collateral, creative strategy, website design, brand positioning and strategy, social media, SEO/SEM strategy, public relations, brand identity and logo design. All work is currently being done pro-bono, but The Carriage House encourages clients to donate to the Brandcenter student scholarships program. The student-led agency already counts RVA’s Professional Art Handling as a client. The Carriage House says it's also working with local companies in textiles, art galleries, cosmetics, landscaping, hospitality, genealogy and life coaching spaces with more projects expected to debut soon.
“When we left for spring break, we expected to return to classes rejuvenated and ready to tackle the end of the semester,” says Gill, part of the class of 2021, explaining the decision to launch the agency. “We did not know the majority of us would see our internship and job offers withdrawn due to COVID-19.”
Dentsu Aegis Network was appointed by Kroger as the grocery retailer’s first integrated media agency of record. The decision follows a competitive pitch. The holding company will create a dedicated team to serve the client called [email protected], comprised of agencies 360i, Amplifi, M8, Merkle, MKTG and Posterscope. The group will be responsible for Kroger’s planning and buying across all media channels including TV, radio, print, out-of-home, search, social, display, online video and streaming audio.
FCB New York appointed Yoonjung Crosby as chief talent officer. Crosby will oversee all initiatives regarding people and culture in the role and be responsible “for designing and building programs that allow for the attraction, retention and development of standout talent.” FCB says she will partner with all levels of the agency to “foster a culture of high performance, authentic engagement and inclusion.” Crosby most recently was the director of talent management at Havas.
Publicis Groupe appointed Conrad Fritzsch, the former head of digital agency model and data activation at Daimler, as its global chief transformation officer for the Power of One unit servicing client Daimler: Publicis Emil. Fritzsch will be responsible for scaling the new agency model to achieve Daimler’s transformation goals, according to the holding company. Publicis says Fritzsch will also work to bolster and scale the Power of One model to other clients.
Digitas won integrated agency of record duties for Edgewell’s feminine care products: Playtex, Stayfree, Carefree and o.b. Under the partnership, Digitas will handle creative and media across social, video, influencer marketing, e-commerce and other channels. The account will be led out of the agency’s New York office by Managing Director Caroline Winterton, Executive VP and Head of Experience Nathalie Huni, and Executive VP of Media Megan McCurry.
The Many was named creative agency of record for American Chinese dining chain Panda Express. The agency says it’s been tasked with building “a vision for elevating the brand as an American Chinese trailblazer, fueling progress for its guests and its associates.” The Many will also help lead Panda Express’s overall U.S. marketing communications strategy. The scope of the assignment spans brand strategy, creative and planning and production across TV, video, out-of-home and in-store.
MDC Partners’ Anomaly and WPP’s MediaCom were hired by Farfetch, a global platform for luxury fashion, as its new agency partners. Anomaly was selected as global agency partner while MediaCom was chosen to oversee media planning and buying. The two agencies will run the account out of their London offices. Together they will develop and distribute an integrated global campaign as well as introduce a new brand identity for Farfetch in September.
Grace Blue Partnership, the global executive search firm, launched a complimentary online platform to provide a place for displaced talent in the ad industry looking for content, a network of peers and access to potential job opportunities. Called Transition, it is supported by more than 30 global organizations, brands and trade associations including the 4A’s, Amazon, the Marketing Society, the Advertising Association, Headspace, D&AD, The 3% Conference, The Female Quotient and NABS.