Stan Richards fires himself, and #MeToo turns 3: Friday Wake-Up Call
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Stan Richards, the 88-year-old founder of The Richards Group, has stepped down after making racist comments during an internal review. In recent days, the agency had been shedding clients looking to distance themselves from his comments, most recently The Salvation Army.
“If this was a publicly held company, I’d be fired for the comments I made. But we’re not public, so I am firing myself,” said Richards in a statement. He also sent a video apology to the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin, whose Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations is named for him.
The speed of Richards’ departure is reminiscent of the spate of #MeToo firings that began in the industry nearly three years ago. But the momentum needed to root out sexual harassment soon died down. Non-disclosure agreements are still commonplace, and women’s representation has suffered, even before the pandemic. Whether vocal commitments from agencies and brands against systemic racism will be equally short-lived remains to be seen.
New unemployment filings ticked up to just shy of 900,000 last week, the highest number since August, as the economy continues its ambling recovery. But nerves are on edge as coronavirus infections and hospitalizations rise, including in the Midwest, and colder weather ahead bodes poorly for outdoor dining and many other social distancing options.
A Wall Street Journal survey of economists finds that predictions of the pace of recovery are also becoming less rosy. It could take three years for the labor market to replace all the jobs that have been lost so far, and the bloodletting hasn’t stopped yet.
McCann Worldgroup CEO Harris Diamond is retiring at the end of the year. He’ll be replaced in the top spot at the IPG agency by Chairman and CEO Bill Kolb.
“Kolb, 57, is a 20-year McCann veteran who most recently served as the agency network’s chief operating officer,” writes Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz. “He built his reputation inside McCann steering the critical Chevrolet account. Kolb still owns a house in Detroit but has been shuttling to New York from the Motor City.”
Diamond spent 8 years at McCann and was CEO of Weber Shandwick for 11 years.
It’s been three years since Tarana Burke’s MeToo hashtag resurfaced and went viral, in the wake of revelations of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein. On the anniversary of the movement, Burke is back with a new platform for activists looking for ways to get involved.
“Burke worked with Toronto-based FCB’s creative data marketing agency, FCB/Six, on ‘Me Too. Act Too.’ The new platform, at acttoo.metoomvmt.org, lays out ways activists can take action against sexual violence while also tracking and recording the steps they make toward their goal,” writes Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing.
It utilizes a public blockchain that permanently records the actions users commit to and highlights survivors and activists.
Closing the rabbit hole: Social media platforms are cracking down on some misinformation and conspiracy theories. YouTube announced on Wednesday that it would ban “more conspiracy theory content used to justify real-world violence,” including QAnon and Pizzagate posts. Twitter briefly suspended the Trump campaign’s account after it shared a debunked news story. And FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he’d try to use an executive order by the president to regulate social media companies.
$5 for 5: Burger King is giving away 1,000 PlayStation 5’s nearly a month before the video game console is available in the U.S. Customers who use the Burger King app to order a 2 for $5 deal get a token for a digital scratch-off game with prized including a PS5. PlayStation is in on the action, too, releasing video of winners and their ecstatic reactions.
Fake men of genius: Bud Light salutes the sports fan of the moment: the cardboard cutout. For once, a two-dimensional character has plenty of personality, making an arduous journey across the city in search of a refreshing (paperboard) drink.
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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