CrossFit CEO is out and open letter calls for industry change on systemic racism: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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CrossFit CEO steps down
The CEO and founder of fitness brand CrossFit has become the latest senior business figure to depart amid the racial injustice protests following the death of George Floyd. Greg Glassman stepped down Tuesday night, saying he was “retiring,” two days after Reebok ended its partnership with the company over an insensitive tweet about Floyd he wrote on Saturday. As Bloomberg News reports, Glassman issued a statement saying: “I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members.”
As well as his tweet about Floyd, a report by BuzzFeed News revealed Glassman told gym owners on a private Zoom call, “We're not mourning for George Floyd — I don't think me or any of my staff are.” He also questioned the motives of protestors.
Glassman's resignation is just the latest in a series of high-profile departures in the past week as a result of the protests. Meanwhile, after Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian stepped down last week and asked to be replaced by a black candidate, the company has done just that, reports The Verge, appointing Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel to its board of directors.
Black agency professionals call for industry change
As the racial injustice debate continues, more than 600 black ad professionals across the U.S. have signed an open letter outlining the list of action items they should take to achieve true equity for people of color in the industry.
As Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz reports, the letter was the idea of Nathan Young, a group strategy director at Minneapolis agency Periscope, along with Bennett D. Bennett, who runs independent consultancy Aerialist. It includes a list of 12 actions agencies should take in order to work toward eradicating systemic racism at their organizations. Young, who lives just four blocks away from where George Floyd was killed, says the most critical issue is transparency on diversity data. “I have no idea how many black advertising professionals exist, or how many LatinX professionals exist,” he says. “Once we can see that data and understand the contest, then we can start to identify and address the systemic issues.”
Meanwhile, the Association of National Advertisers says it wants to improve on its “limited progress in all aspects of diversity and inclusion.” Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli reports that the organization issued a call to action on Tuesday that included a letter to member companies asking them to pledge to take steps to become more diverse and inclusive.
Paramount cancels ‘Cops’
TV shows and streaming services have also been affected this week by the renewed debate over racial injustice. Paramount Network has canceled long-running police reality show “Cops” for good after earlier removing it from its schedule, reveals the Hollywood Reporter. The show has long been criticized for the way it depicts suspects and police tactics.
Meanwhile the BBC has removed comedy show “Little Britain” from its iPlayer streaming service because of some sketches involving blackface. The show, which starred David Walliams and Matt Lucas and aired from 2003, has also been removed from Netflix and BritBox, reports The Daily Mail, with the BBC confirming that it had gone because “times have changed.”
McDonald’s names new CMO
McDonald’s is shaking up some of its top marketing roles this week, writes Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl, promoting Alistair Macrow to the role of global chief marketing officer and giving U.S. CMO Morgan Flatley additional responsibilities. Senior VP of Global Marketing Colin Mitchell leaves the company after less than a year in his current role. Macrow was previously CMO and corporate VP of McDonald’s Internationally Operated Markets.
The changes are the latest in a series of leadership moves executed by Chris Kempczinski since he became CEO in November. In an internal message to staff, Kempczinski wrote that Macrow and Flatley “both personify the values of inclusivity and innovation that define McDonald’s, and that I expect from our senior leaders.” Last week, the company made a statement in support of racial justice, with a “Black lives matter” video and messages saying the company stands with black communities around the world.
Lights, camera, masks: Commercial production is starting to resume but agencies and production companies still face a host of liability and insurance issues. Lindsay Rittenhouse’s story in this week’s Ad Age Digital Edition takes a look at how they’re coping; read more here.
Fashion forward: Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar has named Samira Nasr as its first black editor-in-chief, reports Fashion Week Daily. Nasr, who was previously executive fashion director at Vanity Fair, replaces Glenda Bailey who resigned earlier this year.
Making up: L’Oréal Paris has made peace with black transgender model Munroe Bergdorf nearly three years after the brand fired her over a Facebook post it said was “at odds with our values,” writes Ad Age’s Jack Neff. L’Oréal Paris Brand President Delphine Viguier also said the brand is forming a Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board of “voices inside and outside the company” that will include Bergdorf.
Lioness: Cannes Lions has named legendary agency creative and founder Mary Wells Lawrence as its 2020 winner of the Lion of St. Mark, the first female recipient of the honor, reports Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz. Wells Lawrence was the first woman to open, own and run a major ad agency—New York’s Wells, Rich, Greene in 1966.
Corona creativity of the day: In Brazil, where coronavirus is still raging, Burger King is rewarding customers for staying home using its BK app and geo-location. A campaign by David is “gamifying” quarantine, rewarding consumers with better and better prizes, the more they stay at home. Read more over at Creativity, and don’t forget to check the Top 5 creative ideas from last week, including Time Magazine’s haunting George Floyd cover by Titus Kaphar.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call, thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter:@adage.
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