Adweek Acquired; How Agencies Can Fight Racism: Tuesday’s First Things First

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Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on Adweek.com each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

Adweek Acquired by Shamrock Capital

Today starts a new era at Adweek as Shamrock Capital has reached an agreement with Beringer Capital to acquire Adweek. Shamrock Capital is a Los Angeles-based investment firm with approximately $1.9 billion of assets exclusively in the media, entertainment and communications sectors.

With the change of ownership, many things at Adweek will stay the same—Jeffrey Litvack will remain the CEO of Adweek, while the editorial and business operations will also go unchanged. Shamrock’s deep bench of assets will allow Adweek to expand its portfolio and international reach.

In the past four years, Adweek has added more than 40 new products, which include reimagined Brandweek, NexTech and Challenger Brands summits, CMO Symposiums, as well as Adweek’s D&I Council and the Institute for Brand Marketing, done in partnership with IBM.

Agencies Face a Huge Obstacle in Responding to Racism: Their Own Failure to Act

This past weekend’s protests have made what Keni Thacker, founder of 100 Roses from Concrete, a network for men of color in advertising, describes as the reactivity of ad agencies more apparent than ever. We spoke with Thacker, along with five younger Black professionals who wished to remain anonymous, to learn what more proactive measures agencies can take and how they can respond to this historic moment. These were a few of their key conclusions:

  • Aim for action and transparency over sympathy. A point many Black professionals are driving home is that condolences don’t bring about change. “We want to see action and thinking outside the box,” said a creative at a holding company. “If we can get an entire generation hooked on cigarettes, we could do something to solve racism without having black people be the mouthpiece or the ones advocating for that change.”
  • Hold clients accountable. “The biggest service that an agency can do is to talk to their clients not about whether or not they should say something, but about what they should say and how to use their voice and resources in this time to make a difference,” said a creative at a media company.
  • Seek talent among those speaking out. “Whenever people say they can’t find diverse talent, it’s because they’re not looking for diverse talent for the value that it adds,” said the media company creative. “They’re looking for people that tick a particular box or have a precise lived experience.” Instead, agencies should seek out those who are committed to initiating meaningful change.

More ways to improve: There’s no one right way forward, and the agency world is years late to this conversation, but there’s a great deal yet that can be done.

Related: In a Voice piece, Leslie Collin, founder and CCO of COLLIN, echoed the need for action and described the emotional burden Black professionals are enduring right now: “As an African American, I’ve come to realize that I have to work twice as hard to get half as far. I’m starting to fatigue and I’m not sure I’ll be able to continue pursuing my dreams.”

Zuckerberg vs. His Staff: Facebook Employees Livid Over Refusal to Censor Trump

Twitter has begun flagging Donald Trump’s tweets with labels for false information and promoting violence against protestors, but Facebook chose not to—and staffers have been publicly speaking out against its refusal to act. Some took to Twitter to announce that their opposition to the company’s decision, while others staged a virtual “walkout,” taking Monday off and leaving automated messages saying they were protesting.



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