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Diverse and Inclusive Advertising in the Wake of Blackface

One could be forgiven, or at least, definitely understood, if they awoke in recent weeks from a 100 year coma and thought not a lot had changed.

It’s appalling that in 2019, especially February, which is the month we celebrate and honor black Americans for their culture, contributions, and creative endeavors, that the news has been smattered with story after story about blackface. From elected politicians to high-fashion sweaters, it seems as though we can’t flip on a news station or scroll through a news site without seeing a case of blackface.

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Content Delivery in 2020 Politics: Live, Live, Live!

Make no mistake: The 2020 presidential campaign, already kicking into gear, will take place in an unprecedented media and engagement marketing environment of in-your-face, unfiltered (and often cringe-worthy) immediacy. Political live-streaming as a communication tool could not only bestow authenticity to an otherwise stale and scripted primary process, but it may also result in digital-savvy candidates vaulting over everyone else.

Think Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, only with people who want to be the Leader of the Free World, poor lighting, and fewer laughs.

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The Economic Costs of #MeToo: Quantifying a Movement

Les Moonves, the longtime CBS chairman and CEO, is out as the latest #MeToo casualty in the wake of sexual assault and abuse allegations detailed by The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow.  Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Louis C.K., and Kevin Spacey - also gone, but not forgotten.  As the list continues to grow, so does the outrage and price of keeping a sexual abuser on the payroll.  Just consider the astoundingly low opening receipts of Spacey’s latest film release, Billionaire Boys Club:  $126.00.  Not $126 million, or thousand, but just 126 dollars.  Less than the cost of a new pair of designer jeans. If you wondered how much Spacey (who denies the allegations) would suffer, you can now do the math.

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Trade Wars, Ad Campaigns, and Tackling Issues that Matter

You can be forgiven for not knowing where exactly the U.S. stands on foreign trade on the day-to-day, with talk of everything from trade wars to truces.  Yet the shifting economic climate poses a significant challenge to industries trying to market themselves at home and abroad - along with the creative agencies who support them.  

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Hey Advertisers, Here’s a Lesson: Teachers Are Changing the Game from the Grassroots Up

If advertisers understood the importance of social media before, the protest marches and unprecedented string of teacher strikes provide even more confirmation of digital media’s critical role — when used well — in engaging an audience and shaping public discourse from the grassroots up. K-12 education is a particularly tricky industry for advertisers. It’s one of the two largest industries in the US - comparable with healthcare - accounting for 7.2% of the nations GDP and the largest employer in every state, but spends only a fraction on advertising compared to other industries, according to Forbes.


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Advertisers Respond to Facebook Privacy Breach

An estimated two billion people use Facebook each month, and millions of businesses rely on its apps and services to reach them — from Facebook Pages and Messenger to its Audience Network, brand awareness tools like Facebook Live, and acquisitions like WhatsApp, Oculus VR and Instagram.  

The question of the moment: Will things change in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data breach and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s less-than-forthcoming testimony before Congress about user (and non-user) personal data, privacy, and the social network’s role in Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election?

Not overnight, it seems.

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Never Again? The Power of Advertising to Move the Gun Debate

It’s a classic ad. Gun-related death statistics from around the world run in a vertical column down the page:  48 people in Japan.  8 in Great Britain.  34 in Switzerland.  The list goes on, finally jumping to 10,728 in the United States.  A handgun is painted red, white and blue to resemble the nation’s flag. 

That was 1981, not long after John Lennon was assassinated.

Nearly four decades later, Progressive Turnout Project, a Democratic political action committee, launched a billboard campaign inspired by 2018 Oscar nominee, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, demanding stricter gun control laws. The group called out US House Speaker Paul Ryan for repeatedly not passing gun reform legislation, particularly after the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla..  

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The Power of Ad Agencies to Combat Climate Change

Less than three months ago the North American Climate Summit, held right here in the Windy City, brought together mayors, civic leaders, and businesses from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico to sign a charter pledging to reduce greenhouse emissions and address the impact cities have on climate change.  But despite the overwhelming support, some of the most important players living at the forefront of innovation, strategy, storytelling and creative thinking were missing from the table.  Advertising and PR agencies.  These are the professionals who determine what and when we buy, and much of what we believe.  Their job is to tell stories, deliver on the most powerful ideas and campaigns that in turn change our behavior and perception of not just brands, but of society as a whole.

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