Reactions to the Stan Richards School of Advertising keeping its name: Agency Brief

Also, find out what you get when you combine brisket with a turkey.

Reactions to the Stan Richards School of Advertising keeping its name: Agency Brief

The University of Texas announced this week that The Richards Group founder Stan Richards will remain the namesake of its advertising school. The news came more than a year after Richards made a racist remark during a client meeting that forced him to step down from his agency. (Read about the university's decision here.)

In the aftermath of Richards’ comments, UT students were divided on what should be done with the school that bears Richards’ name. Jay M. Bernhardt, dean of Moody College of Communication, of which the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations is a part, this week acknowledged the decision will “perpetuate feelings of pain or anger within our community.”

Ad Age spoke with several ad industry experts, all of whom said they weren’t surprised by the university's decision.

“The folks running the show at Texas’s Moody College of Communication and the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations chose money over integrity,” an associate dean who formerly taught at UT’s advertising department said.  “It’s not surprising … funding is important and many programs would probably do the same. But the price becomes a lingering relationship to racism, to white privilege, and to business as usual in Texas. The industry needs a reset. If ever there was a time to stake a stand against racism, it’s now. And they chose not to.”

“I don’t want to beat a dead horse, I think Stan has done that to himself,” added Christopher Parr, who once worked for a former Richards client and is now the CEO of “This is Texas, not a surprise.”

Others recognized the polarizing situation and the lessons that must be taken from it but said it's important to remember both sides of his legacy.

"I'm not surprised they're keeping his name on the school, they're not changing the name of his agency either,” an agency CEO said. “While what he said was profoundly stupid, his racist comment will be a sad footnote in the story of an octogenarian founder who overstayed his welcome—an object lesson in the need for more proactive succession planning. But his legacy will be, and should be, about building a durably successful creative agency in an unusual place."

While UT admitted a record number of underrepresented students in the school’s history this academic year, there is still work to be done in terms of diverse student representation for Moody College and the Stan Richards school. In total (graduate and undergraduate combined) 4.5% of the Stan Richards school's students are Black and 29.4% are Hispanic. Moody College lists 5.2% of its students as Black and 30.2% as Hispanic. In the report, Bernhardt outlined plans around improving diversity, including supporting research related to diversity in advertising and PR, expanding representation of underrepresented groups at the school, implementing diversity-related academic programs and providing support to underrepresented students.

Out with the turkey, in with the ... briskurkey?

TX Whiskey, a brand owned by Pernod Ricard, worked with Tombras to find some of the top TX Whiskey-infused or inspired recipes from Texan chefs, and put some of the recipes on its website. Just in time for Thanksgiving comes briskurkey—brisket and beef ribs placed together to look like a turkey. It was made in partnership with Jason Wilson, a self-proclaimed meat whisperer. 

“TX Whiskey brings a unique, bold flavor profile that’s uncommon in the whiskey category.” said Steve Gordon, the brand's marketing and commercial director. “We wanted to take this opportunity to bring that same thinking and flavor to a holiday that was calling out for an authentically Texan signature dish. The Briskurkey is the ultimate Thanksgiving dish, dreamed up by Texans, for Texans.”

Vax Diagrams

The Ad Council’s latest iteration of its “It’s Up To You” COVID-19 vaccine education initiative comes from Known. In an effort to reach vaccine-hesitant audiences, Known focused on an insight that “people often see their own healthcare experience as hyper-individualized and directly connected to their identity,” according to a statement from the agency.

The creative emphasizes some of the benefits of vaccination that may appeal to specific subpopulations, such as safely gathering with family, going to church, socializing with friends, traveling, and attending sporting events. Venn diagrams show the regional benefits of getting vaccinated against COVID-19, highlighting state favorites. As an example, a Texas image shows “Bull Riding” and “Two Stepping” on opposite ends of a diagram with “Covid-19 Vaccines” in the middle.

“With the vast majority of our adult population already vaccinated, it's time to take a more targeted and nuanced approach to educating people who still have questions and concerns,” Kern Schireson, CEO and co-founder of Known, said in a statement.

The ads will target some of the states with the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy including Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Nevada. 

Wunderman Thompson hires executives in the South and Midwest

WPP’s Wunderman Thompson has appointed Karyn Rockwell as president of the Midwest region and Jennifer Mollo as managing director of Austin. Rockwell will run the Minneapolis and Chicago offices. On top of her role of leading the Austin office, Mollo will also serve as the new global client lead for Dell. Rockwell replaces Anthony Romano, who left the agency in August, and Mollo is replacing Belinda Leworthy who has moved on to become the WPP global client lead for Dell. Most recently, Rockwell served as CEO of FCB New York. Mollo most recently served as managing director of client services for R/GA.

Comedic relief 

Healthcare ads may often be a bit somber, but Illinois-based Edward-Elmhurst Health is switching things up. Its new campaign,  created by Denver-based agency Cactus, uses a more light-hearted approach when it comes to discussing health problems. The campaign includes two 15-second videos of funny scenarios that can lead someone to an actual doctor's visit.

The ads include improv comedy actors, some of whom come from The Second City, with doctors and staff from the health system.

“Healthcare advertising that people won’t tune out in the first few seconds is the goal. And when you’re telling people about primary care docs you’re not able to lean into the dramatic moments of life or broach the frontiers of medicine,” said Jeff Strahl, creative director at Cactus. 

The Wonder Within

Children’s Hospital Foundation in Richmond partnered with Miami-based agency Markham Yard for its “Wonders Within” campaign, which features a 30-second animated TV spot promoting the benefits of the new home of the Children’s Hospital at Richmond called the “Wonder Tower.” The campaign also includes print, out-of-home, programmatic digital, and digital marketing.

“We have gone from many in our region not realizing that a children’s hospital existed, to now a community understanding and rallying around our hospital and this important building project," Lauren Moore, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital Foundation, said in a statement. 

Listen up 

Media.Monks teamed up with UNICEF and its youngest Goodwill ambassador, Millie Bobby Brown, to create a video showing the importance of listening to children worldwide to help create real change.

“We’ve listened to adults, but now it’s time for them to listen to us,” Brown said in the video. “It’s time to remind them that big changes can start small and that only together can we change the world.”

World Children’s Day—UNICEF’s global day of action for children, by children, is celebrated on Nov. 20 of every year. This year's video is meant to raise awareness for the millions of children denied rights to adequate health care, education and protection. 

“This film highlights the disparity between the education children receive from adults, and what adults say with their actions every day as if they have forgotten the values that they once passed on to children,” said Media.Monks Global Creative Director Mariana Albuquerque. 

Just briefly

Joan Creative has brought on Charley Cobbin as its first-ever executive communications strategy director. Cobbin will build out the agency’s communications strategy department and report to Head of Strategy Chris Turney. Cobbin joins Joan from Johannes Leonardo, where she served as communications strategy director.

Colorado-based agency Fortnight Collective has added three hires to fill newly created roles. Mona Hasan joins as creative director, working across all accounts including Expedia Group, Peet’s Coffee, Noodles & Company and new business. Previously, Hasan served as a creative director at R/GA. Stacie Lydia joins as senior brand director working on VF Corp., Expedia Group, new business and a multitude of AdHacks, which is Fortnight’s accelerated marketing process. Previously, Lydia was VP, account leader at Doner. Marci Andress joins the agency as its brand director. Previously, Andress was an account supervisor at CPB.

Dentsu’s Carat has appointed Mike Parker as its new executive client president overseeing the global Microsoft media business across all markets for the network. He will dually report to Angela Steele, U.S. Carat CEO, and Will Swayne, Dentsu’s chief client officer. Parker was most recently chief marketing officer for IWCO Direct.

Vancouver-based Saxx underwear has appointed Quality Meats as its creative agency as it looks to grow its business in the U.S.