Tag Archives: New York

Grey becomes Valenstein & Fatt

In 1917 anti-semitism was rife – having a Jewish name would do you no favours in a predominantly white, male industry like advertising. In New York, Jewish entrepreneurs Lawrence Valenstein and Arthur Fatt, set up a company called ‘Grey’ which is now one of the largest advertising networks in the world. However, they didn’t name the agency after themselves like others did, and it’s been debated whether or not Grey would have been as successful with the name ‘Valenstein & Fatt’. As sad and unfair as this seems, xenophobia was the norm, and many Jewish people around the world hid their surnames in an attempt to “fit in” with society, along with other minorities who have done the same.

Unfortunately, it seems as if this attitude towards cultural, religious and racial differences has in fact not evolved as much as you’d expect over the last 100 years – the recent election of the US President is a prime example of how common xenophobia still is, worldwide:

Fast forward to 2017: Everything has changed, and yet nothing has changed.
Too much in this world is still ugly. We know that the more diverse we are, the more powerful our ideas will be. So we will continue to celebrate difference. To break down barriers to progress and opportunity. We believe that everyone has the right to put their name above their door. Whoever you are, wherever you come from. We are Open.

Along with a prejudiced President in the USA, here in the UK ‘Article 50’ is being triggered this week, creating a final divide between the UK and Europe. With these events in mind, Grey is communicating a message of diversity and inclusion by recognising their Jewish founders, whilst hoping to create a conversation about diversity in advertising.
Unfortunately the name change will only be for 100 days, which is a shame, and almost makes this campaign seem like a bit of a gimmick… Although they claim the name change is “a mark of how far we’ve come, but how much there is still left to do”, I can’t help but feel as if it’s just a marketing ploy without any actual lasting impact or strong, dedicated message if they’re just going to change the name back.

news-story-image

Valenstein & Fatt have written a manifesto about how they will lead by example:

1) We are publishing our diversity data. Progress cannot be made without clear measures and transparency about who we are today. Our new study is independent and in depth and is based on the voluntary responses of 305 individuals, which represents over 60% of the agency and reported according to standards set by the British Office of National Statistics (ONS). Research developed in partnership with PSB examines roots, identity, education and lifestyle. It will be measured and shared annually and we are encouraging other agencies to take it up as their methodology.

2) We are launching a cross industry taskforce to identify the barriers to recruitment and retention of talent among ethnic minorities. The first gathering will be chaired by CEO Leo Rayman, and we are inviting leading organisations in this space and the most progressive agencies, including Chairwoman of Mediacom, Karen Blackett, to join us in agreeing industry-wide initiatives and targets. We will also commit to targets for our advertising output, to ensure that it is nationally representative. 

3) We are launching the Valenstein & Fatt Bursary to pay a year’s rent for up to two young people from ethnic minority and disadvantaged backgrounds. To qualify, candidates must have been offered a job at Grey, be state educated and live outside of Greater London. Applications are open from this summer.

4) We will inspire the next generation, by working with 100 primary and secondary schools to introduce students to a career in the creative industries. Working with Exec Head Michelle Williams and education therapist Jodie Cariss and starting with the New Wave Federation primary schools in London’s Hackney, we will offer a tailor made programme for the schools involved, from assemblies to full day workshops, coaching and agency open days.

5) We will develop our diverse talent. Recognising that recruiting people with different start points isn’t enough, 50 individuals identified as ones to watch will be matched and formally mentored by our Executive and senior leadership. In parallel we will run Community mentoring workshops open to any member of the agency who wants to participate.

That’s all fantastic, and it’s lovely to see such an influential agency speak out against prejudice, but I don’t believe they should have done this without 100% committing to a permanent name change. What’s the point otherwise?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Barbara Kruger: Trump on New York Magazine

Since I can remember I’ve been obsessed with Barbara Kruger’s work. I’ve studied her conceptually on an academic level, but beyond that I’ve been a fan of her art outside of an academic context too.

Kruger explores pop culture with a social narrative in all of her work, and hasn’t failed to deliver here! For the cover of New York’s Election Issue Kruger featured Trump and the word ‘loser’ – the meaning is fairly ambiguous and transcendent between our opinions of Trump, how he speaks with his common one-word epithets and hopefully the election result. For me, it’s all three.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Ads of the Week

SMARTWATER

CREDITS
Advertising Agency: AR New York
Chief Creative Officer: Raul Martinez
Executive Creative Director: David Israel
Executive Producer: Helaina Buzzeo
Director of Client Services: Jason Garcia
Account Director: Kristen Opalach

Production Company: Station Film
Director: Alek Keshishian
Executive Producer: Michael Di Girolamo
Executive Producer, Producer: Caroline Gibney
Unit Production Manager: Leanne Amos
First Assistant Director: Anthony Dimino
Director of Photography: James Whitaker
Art Director: Gary Matteson

Editing Company: Cosmo Street
Editor: Tessa Davis
Executive Producer: Yvette Cobarrubias
Producer: Patty Paz
Assistant Editor: John Bradley

Post Effects Company: Arsenal FX
Visual Effects Supervisor: Lauren Mayer-Beug
Visual Effects Executive Producer: Ashley Hydrick
Visual Effects Producer: Pravina Sippy
Flame Artists: Mark Leiss, Terry Silberman
Computer Graphics Artist: David Hyatt
Design Artist: Nathan Boldman
Roto Artist: Crystal Strait

Sound Company: Beacon Street Studios
Sound Designer, Mixer: Paul Hurtubise
Producer: Caitlin Rocklen

 

Hilarious! Jennifer Aniston is an amazing actress, and she was perfect for this advert. This is much better than previous Smartwater ads, including perfect comedic timing whilst taking rumours about Jennifer and making them literal. It’s always good to see a celebrity be brave enough make fun of themselves.

THE NEXT BIG THING (SAMSUNG GALAXY S III)

I have no idea how Samsung got away with this! I thought there were rules about competitive strategies… Anyway, amazing advert. It actually made me consider other phones other than iPhones (as I have been told endless times are problems with iPhones … don’t get me started on the new iPhone 5!). Great timing with the new iPhone 5 coming out too. I love the clever idea of having the ‘uncool parents’ getting an iPhone,  and the ‘Samsung people’ being nice enough to queue for other people but being told off by ‘iPhone people’. Nice.

MONSTER (FRAGILE CHILDHOOD)

“For a child a monster can be real.
The Fragile Childhood activity has begun in 1986 and has been established as a well-known form of activity in Finland. http://lasinenlapsuus.fi
Fragile Childhood activities are designed to encourage people to participate anonymously in discussion and to share their thoughts about responsible parental drinking on a dedicated platform:http://www.facebook.com/lasinenlapsuus
The campaign activities are also to highlight the fact that is still not widely understood how much harm parental drinking problems causes to children. For example, previous research has shown that every fourth Finnish child has suffered some harm because of its parent’s alcohol usage.
Take part on conversation in Twitter: #fragilechildhood
Monsters film has been planned and produced by Euro RSCG Helsinki & Grillifilms together with Sauna International & Studio Arkadena.”

This advert reminds me of some of my favourite adverts of all time by NSPCC. What an amazing advert and concept – it should be shown in the UK! Perfectly created to make people think about alcohol, and to feel a nurturing sympathy for these child victims. The facial expressions and the reactions of the children are so realistic, it’s quite haunting! The whole idea is to be haunted by the thoughts of the children, and to think about “How do our childen see us when we’ve been drinking?”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,