Feb 03

Adland’s answer to Nathan Bedford Forest

NathanBedfordForrestHistorians generally credit Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forest (pictured) for creating the forerunner of what was to become the Ku Klux Klan.

I raise this arcane fact because the advertising world is being rocked right now by the alleged incendiary words and actions coming out of a leader at Campbell Ewald. I’d like to think this executive’s words and actions would make Nathan Bedford Forest proud.

This has to be read to be believed. Adweek, citing unnamed sources, reports on the allegations of the original email incident that sparked this firestorm. Adweek, again citing unnamed sources, also reports that a veteran CEO has apparently lost his job over this.

According to published reports, in a recent email memo a Campbell Ewald leader allegedly used every conceivable racial slur to make light of black Americans. His motivations for doing so are unknown.

But this guy was a seasoned, successful and, up until he allegedly penned his racist e-mail, a respected leader in Adland.

If all this turns out to accurate, thanks to one horrific note these executives have become completely toxic and always will be. Campbell Ewald’s image and reputation have taken a serious hit (I would imagine more than one client fired them in protest) and everyone is left wondering, “What triggered this hate mongering?

If nothing else, it’s a shot across the bow for agencies and Corporate America. Double down on your diversity training ASAP. And, be sure to include your C-suite in the exercises.

You may very well have a ticking time bomb of an executive about to run amok among your ranks. And the last thing ANY business needs is this sort of damage.

So, what do you do if you’re one of the fired executives?

I’d suggest disappearing from the face of the earth for a year or two, undergoing extensive and intensive counseling and, if rehabilitated, think about joining a consulting firm that specializes in diversity training. There’s nothing more powerful than learning from someone else’s mistakes.


Feb 01

The Greatest Show On Earth

BarnaaumI think Florida Senator Marco Rubio didn’t go far enough when he described Donald Trump in the most recent Republican Party debate as, “The greatest show on earth.”

That phrase was coined by legendary showman P. T. Barnum in 1850 to describe the world’s first, true circus right here in New York. (Note to Millennials: Please Google Barnum if the name isn’t familiar).

Indeed, this 2016 presidential primary process qualifies not only as a circus, but also a bonafied freak show as well as the best reality TV ever (a dubious distinction to be sure).

The debates have been equal parts repulsive and riveting. They’re the equivalent of watching an 18-wheeler suddenly swerve and begin to tip over on the Jersey Turnpike. You know what’s coming will be ugly and bloody, but you just can’t help gawking as it unfolds.

Looking at this from a global image and reputation standpoint, the debates have made the good, old U.S. of A a complete laughingstock. And, God knows the long-term ramifications of such shoot-from-the-hip comments from candidates such as:

  • “Mexico’s sending us their very worst people.”
  • “I’d toss out all 11 million illegal immigrants tomorrow.”
  • “I’d carpet bomb ISIS on day one of my presidency” Note: Carpet bombing was not only a failed strategy in the Vietnam War, but killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians
  • “I’d shoot down any Russian plane that violated the “No Fly Zone.”
  • “I’d shut down mosques and deny all Muslims from entering the country until we get this thing fixed.” And, who knows when the “thing” will finally be fixed. Next year? 2050? Never?
  • “I’d make every college, community college and university tuition free and do so by raising taxes on everyone.” So much for taking care of the Middle Class.
  • “I’d undo every piece of ObamaCare on Day One.” Translation: total chaos returns to health care coverage.

And on and on and on…..

Most of the candidates support, and defend, the Second Amendment and use their mouths and words just like the gunslingers of the Old West.

Where will it all lead? You tell me. But, having looked at some of the also-rans, I thought I’d take a guess what they’ll do after voters reject them and they drop out of the race:

  • Jeb “The Meek” Bush will be named president of the Dale Carnegie Institute and help others overcome their fears of public speaking and appear assertive on stage.
  • Carly Fiorina will open her own consulting business entitled, “Firing by Fiorina” and counsel other, bloated H-P like clients who need to immediately cut 35 percent of the work force.
  • Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will join the boards of several leading publicly-traded companies that are running a distant third in their industries and help them maintain the status quo.
  • NJ Governor Chris Christie will sue the surgeon who performed his gastric bypass surgery. Something clearly went awry there.
  • Rand Paul will abandon politics and succeed Alex Trebek as the host of “Jeopardy.” No one is smarter or quicker to demonstrate his intelligence on a given subject (just like Alex himself).
  • Ted Cruz will find a second career as an actor and be cast in the lead role of “Joe McCarthy: Red Baiter” and “Hey Abbott! The Lou Costello Story.” Note to Millennials: Please follow the same advice in finding out who McCarthy and Costello were (Teddy’s a dead ringer of each).
  • Hillary will find a way to once again self-destruct, finally abandon politics once and for all and star in her own reality TV show, “Hill on The Hill.”
  • Dr. Ben Carson will open a “Low Talkers” clinic and help those cannot raise their voices above a whisper.

I could go on and on, but would prefer your thoughts on what the losers will do in the next chapters of their lives.

Oh, and speaking of losers, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the cast of characters who have crawled out from beneath various rocks and turned a serious political process into a farce. Americans get what they deserve.