Lowe Slammed For 'Homophobic' Ad

Lowe + Partners is in a bit of hot water  over an ad it ran for Flora margarine that has been dubbed homophobic. The ad, on a pink background, carries bullet-shaped copy which reads, "Uhh dad, I'm gay." The word-bullet is heading straight for a porcelain heart. The ad is finished with, "You need a strong heart today." Apparently margarine provides what dad needs to take this news without having a heart attack. Granted, finding out your son is gay is certainly a surprise but in this day and age of open-minded thinking it's hardly going to cause dad a heart attack. More likely, he's going to die from all the fake crap they put in margarine. Have people forgotten butter is all natural?

Homophobia isn't the only transgression in the agency world today. BBH London is a bit red-faced after their client, Barclays, noted the agency cast a pedophile in a recent ad. London's The Sun made the discovery. The man in question can be seen at the 60 second mark of this 1:30 commercial wearing a football shirt and cheering next to a young boy. In its defense, BBH issued a statement which read, "Usually when looking for talent to use in commercials we hire actors via casting agencies where full checks are employed. In this instance, to ensure authenticity, we recruited 400 real football fans for the crowd scenes alongside professional actors. After this was brought to our attention we immediately took the ad off air and have reedited it."

Meanwhile Havas CEO David Jones continues to insist that size doesn’t matter. Not that we expected him to say any different. After all, any time a man is down, he's always going to come up with some reason why he's just as virile as his competition. And while Jones, technically, isn't down -- having just reported a 1% increase in revenue for the first half of 2013 -- he, like other ad groups, are being forced to compare themselves to the behemoth that will be known as Publicis Omnicon Group. When asked about the merger, Jones said, "We do not believe in any way shape or form that there is a scale issue for Havas. In fact when you look into today's world, where Instagram runs 200 million users with 45 employees, the rules of the game have really been changed by digital." Hmm, yeah, except those 200 million users don't need the kind of hand-holding your average demanding client requires. Good luck with that strategy, David.

Interestingly (shocking, we know), David isn't the only Madison Avenue man talking about size as it relates to advertising. Joe Marchese, CEO of SocialVibe, takes a contrarian viewpoint on the well-seated notion that large agencies -- think Publicis Omnicom Group -- have more leverage when it comes to negotiating rates for their clients. Marchese argues that because consumers are willing to pay hefty fees -- think Netflix, DVR subscriptions, PandoraOne, Spotify, HBO, Showtime -- to avoid advertising -- advertisers will be forced to place a higher value on people's time and attention and pay more to access it. He also hauls out the tired and nauseatingly overused argument that interactive's ability to improve targeting and measurability will allow for fewer, more premium-priced ad units. It seems Marchese hasn't heard of programmatic buying methods like real-time bidding or demand-side platforms which have decimated CPMs and forced the entire industry to jump on the native advertising bandwagon, yet another Madison Avenue folly that will be displaced by next year's buzzword-laden solution du jour



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