Clients to Agencies: We Demand More Diversity. BIC agrees...

9/09/2016 Unknown 0 Comments

Photo of ACTUAL BIC students after a client pitch -- NOT from Getty Images!!!
A September 2, 2016 Wall Street Journal article noted that “a recent spate of high-profile scandals on Madison Avenue involving accusations of sexist and racist behavior has put the spotlight back on the advertising industry’s lack of diversity. And now marketing clients are starting to leverage their budgets to insist on change.” Among the companies demanding that agencies diversify its workforce is HP. In a letter to its five agencies, Antonio Lucio, HP's chief marketing officer, “requested that each one submit a plan within 30 days that lays out how the firm will significantly increase the number of women and minorities in key creative and strategy roles.” 

That same week, Ann Simonds, CMO at General Mills, told Advertising Age that it would apply a diversity standard when seeking out creative departments to work with including a requirement that they contains at least 50% women and 20% “people of color.”

A month later, The New York Times article entitled Brands to Agencies: Diversify or Else  noted that the motivation behind these efforts is mostly about demographic parity: "Marketers are expected to have a deep understanding and insight about their markets, about decision makers and about customers," Mr. Scotti [of Verizon] said this week. "We are more likely to create solutions that amaze our customers if our work force and suppliers represent the communities we serve."

However, having marketers reflect "the communities we serve" is not the only reason why agencies should be diverse. BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag states that the real focus on diversity should hone in on talent. "The recent demands by brands to hire more people who look like the consumers they target is positive. But efforts must go beyond seeking diverse demographics to diversity of skills, diversity of thought, diversity of culture, etc. Being "talent forward" is exactly what will lead to greater demographic diversity. Because guess what? No race, gender, culture has a monopoly on talent. This is a bottom line business imperative: diverse talent creates a dynamic work environment, a more creative work force, and more engaging products. As an industry, demographic parity is a low bar..." BIC Professor Douglas Davis agrees:  "I love that BIC is uniquely positioned to provide the diverse creative and strategic pool the industry and clients are asking for."

While this focus on diversity isn't new (The New York City Commission on Human Rights held its first hearings into discrimination in the advertising industries back in 1968), real engagement in the issue ebbs and flows. And action has been slow.  The BIC program not only celebrates diversity in both its mission, student body, and collaborative multi-disciplinary approach, but in recent original research on diversity principally authored by CCNY faculty Lynn Appelbaum and Frank Walton. Read that report here

Heineken Gets BIC Input on Drinking or Driving Efforts

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On August 29th, BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag attended a brainstorming session at Heineken USA designed to identify new and innovative ways to change the conversation around drunk driving. It was attended by linguists, academic researchers, behavioral economists, and government officials. As a special treat, the attendees got a preview of a commercial that aired this week to introduce its new $200 million partnership with Formula 1 which builds on Heineken's longstanding commitment to responsible drinking. According to Anuraag Trikha, Heineken’s global communications director, “It’s a natural question to ask our point of view on drinking and driving. For Heineken, it’s an obligation and opportunity to promote responsible behavior, because people so want to listen to a brand like us.”

The spot featured here was created by Publicis Italy. As stated in Creativity: “It is a convincing re-creation of Jackie Stewart in his early 1970s heyday, in which he is seen winning and enjoying the jet set Formula 1 lifestyle while courteously refusing bottles of Heineken every time they are offered to him. The soundtrack is a version of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ by Postmodern Jukebox featuring Nicole Atkins.”

BIC for Hire: UJA this Fall's Capstone Client

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Being a 21st century Jewish teen comes with a lot of benefits – modern technology seems to offer just about everything at one’s fingertips. Yet today’s teens are also experiencing new frontiers of stress. Research shows large numbers of teens struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, suicide, and loneliness. Of critical importance, these are the years that set the stage for the future. It’s where we start to build our identity and make those initial life choices about who we want to become. Therefore, there needs to be new thinking and innovation on how we support these emerging adults during this critical life-juncture. 

The UJA’s response is to partner with BIC students to help provide a platform where Jewish teens can find accurate information, comfort, and real connection with the following goal: to reduce isolation for the Jewish teen community when it comes to issues of mental health. Because teens are digital natives, Pamela Schuller, Program Manager, for the Teen and Mental Health Initiative Jewish Community Services is asking BIC students to leverage online, social, mobile, and other digital communications vehicles that meet our audience where they “live.”  In order to create a dynamic community, this project seeks to inspire a movement in which teens become active participants, content creators, and advocates.

This project is part of the Fall Non-Profit Capstone lead by Professor Douglas Davis. All BIC students are required to participate in creating a communications campaign in the not-for-profit space in order to make an impact on society in positive ways. Our partnership with UJA comes through a connection of Belle Frank, EVP at Y&R. 

Five BICsters Win Coveted Spots at Planning Bootcamp

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This summer, BICsters not only kept busy going to conferences, succeeding in high profile internships at places like Bloomberg, Quinn, ARF, and HAVAS, and totally rocking it in the MAIP network, but...five won spots at the super competitive Griffin Farley Beautiful Minds Planning Bootcamp sponsored by BBH. The annual competition was launched back in 2013 to honor Griffin Farley’s commitment to up-and-coming planning talent.  Over 200 applied this year to be among a select group to present campaigns in front of a distinguished panel of industry luminaries, department heads and recruiters.  In an intensive few days in late July, teams were tasked to help sponsoring client UberPool increase users in NYC from 0.3% to 2% in the period of 12 months.

The five BICsters included alum Nehal Mahmoud, recent grad Donna Dei-Baning, and current students Rocio Rivera Iglesias, Saif Ishtiaque, and Ben Kent. BICsters have won at least one coveted spot in this competition every year since it launched.

BIC's Melissa Julien Reflects on her MAIP Summer

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Melissa Julien (BIC Class of 2017) interned this summer at DigitasLBi as one of an elite group of students chosen for the 4A's prestigious Multi-Cultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP). Melissa is a graduate of Hunter College with a BA in English and is currently in BIC's PR track. Here she recounts the highlights of her summer spent with MAIP.

137 students from over 55 campuses nationwide. 78 advertising and media agencies. 22 weeks of professional training. 3 summer projects. Countless friendships made. This is just a glimpse into the foundation of the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP), a fellowship sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As). With the goal of diversifying the advertising and communications industries, MAIP gives agencies the opportunity to reach out to highly talented and passionate students.

MAIP Luncheon with CCNY students Wayne Rodgers, Iliana Ortega and Bennett Bennett 

Through MAIP, I spent my summer working at DigitasLBi New York in Account Management for the Accenture and Time Inc. accounts. This was my first time working exclusively in digital advertising and I left my internship with a deeper love and appreciation for the field. Throughout my ten weeks at DigitasLBi, I worked on client projects as well as intern exclusive projects, aptly dubbed “Quickfires.” These week-long, intensive group projects focused on developing strategies and executions for some of the agency's biggest accounts, such as Whole Foods and American Express. At the culmination of the week, each group pitched their ideas to top executives within the agency and some winning teams even had the chance to pitch to clients. Fortunately for us interns, DigitasLBi always demonstrated their strong emphasis on company culture by giving us the chance to bond with each other and employees from different accounts through activities like field trips to Buzzfeed, Bagel Fridays, Friday Happy Hour and Community Service Day. DigitasLBi has no shortage of creative, strategic minds, so it was great to meet with employees across all accounts and capabilities.

First day working at DigitasLBi NY.

Of course, the MAIP experience didn’t stop at DigitasLBi. In addition to the work done at agencies, MAIP fellows must also complete projects exclusive to MAIP. This year, the projects included 12 weeks of professional development webinars, completion of a Khan Academy computer programing class, and a collaborative project that entailed working with MAIPers across the country on a creative brief. The brief for this year’s project was to help the 4As educate others on the various facets of working in advertising. The deliverables for this brief included a website, a video and a form of new media. As the Project Leader for my team, Team Kaleidoscope, it was fun yet intense collaborating with and managing team members across various capabilities and time zones. Nonetheless, we pulled through to create amazing work! Visit our project website, watch our video, and follow us on Instagram.

Overall, my time as a MAIP Fellow and Digitas intern was an eye opening and an invaluable learning opportunity. Throughout the program, I found myself connecting the dots between what I learned during the internship to my academic experience with BIC. Going forward, I cannot wait to make more connections between my classwork and fellowship experience. MAIP not only exposed me to a group of phenomenal peers and mentors, but also helped me paint a better and brighter picture of my career goals.

MAIP 2016 Fellows on MAIP Cares Day at MECA. 

BIC Boasts Brilliant Class of 2018

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In late August, BIC welcomed over 30 students who came from all corners of the globe to join the BIC Class of 2018. This year's impressive cohort have degrees in architecture, info systems, communication design, international marketing, finance, international studies, industrial design, English, journalism, psychology, advertising, public relations, and television. They come from places such as Italy, Brazil, Russia Denmark, Ecuador, India, Taiwan, and Malaysia -- not to mention our largest group of New Yorkers ever.

Our latest BICsters arrived on campus Tuesday, August 23rd to a lively orientation that included a "speed" exercise in design thinking. The next evening, they were joined by the BIC Class of 2017 for a mixer at Hogshead, a local pub on Hamilton Place. See more photos in our Gallery.