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Carol H. Williams, Ad Agency Maven, Puts Visa, Nike, Clorox and Burger King on Blast

Carol H. Williams, Ad Agency Maven, Puts Visa, Nike, Clorox and Burger King on Blast

Rolling out publisher Munson Steed and Carol H. Williams.

“Visa, Nike, Clorox and Burger King have systematically ignored African American consumers,” a charged up Carol H. Williams told a captive audience during the 40th Annual Rainbow Push Coalition convention held in Chicago.

Carol H. Williams is an institution in the advertising and marketing industry. Not the African American advertising and marketing industry, mind you, but the industry as a whole, as she is responsible for some of the most memorable ad campaigns including Secret deodorant’s timeless pitch, “strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.”

Carol H. Williams

Williams and a panel of advertising and media experts discussed the challenges that face African American advertising agencies and media companies, as some major corporations have greatly reduced — or eliminated — their spending budgets for the urban market.

Carol H. Williams encouraged the audience to get behind the joint effort to make companies that rely heavily on African American consumers accountable, and reinvest those profits into black and urban media buys, and in their respective communities.

Following is an excerpt from her remarks.

“Our pain is that you don’t understand your power.

“I understand that the Clorox company excels because you exist. Who do you think buys bleach, that is the multibillion dollar product, hypothetically, that Clorox sells? It’s bleach. It’s the pillar of their whole industry. But you go inside a Clorox bleach company and everyone in there looks just like their bleach.

“But they’re moving billions of dollars through yet, 42 percent of bleach is bought by African Americans and another 27 percent is bought by Hispanics. The rest of it is bought by ethnics. When you actually look at the Caucasian consumption of bleach, it’s less than 18 percent.

“Every single one of you have a bottle of Pine Sol, I don’t have to look in your cabinets, I can look at your numbers. African Americans buys 82 percent of Pine Sol. Who sells Pine Sol? Clorox.

“The brand manager is white, the assistant brand manager is white and [so are] the brand manager over the brand manager, the media manager, and you people demand nothing of this company. The only black person I ever saw at Clorox was me, and the receptionist. We have to create a situation that supports Rev. Jackson, and we have to figure out how to do that strategically, because our community will never be uplifted if we don’t demand more of these companies.”

Adding insult to injury, Williams explained, is the throng of African Americans who identify themselves as “other” on the U.S. Census. “A lot of these companies have the conspiracies going on, where we can’t even check the numbers to know how many are truly buying these automobiles. We just got a hint. To track these numbers, we need a budget. To track what you’re doing I need a budget. When I go and say, I need a budget, they say, ‘well, the Census says these people are checking other.’

“When did you figure out that ‘other’ was a race? I’d like to know. Other means give this money to somebody other than black. I understand the need to have self-identity, but when it comes to the Census, and the government, they’re talking about money, what dollar goes where. And you’re checking ‘other.’

“We have to get smarter than this. … Obama, do you know what he checked? He checked African American. Don’t you think that man knows who his mother was? He understands what that means.”

Carol H. Williams advised the audience that “we have to stop participating in this environment as if we’re not cognizant of what this environment is all about.”




68 Comments

  1. Reader's Paradise on June 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I wonder what would happen if all the African American who currently use Clorox products STOPPED!!!!!
    Umm

    • GG on June 23, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      I think, Carol Williams has moved on and to greater things than Clorox. It is people like you, who belittle the greatness of others, who hold us back as AA’s.  If you have nothing positive to contribute, I suggest you continue to write silently in your diary and not perpetrate your negativity upon the rest of us, who welcome positive influences in our lives.  You sound a little bitter to me. If you are successful you will win some false friends and some true enemies succeed anyway, give the world the best you have and it may never be enough, give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis it is between you and God; it is never between you and them anyway.  (Mother Theresa) God bless you Carol, you are a force to be reckon with, as you can see.

    • Gg on June 23, 2011 at 7:35 pm

      This was in response to Mr. Harry Webber and not Reader’s Paradise.

  2. Dyanna2220 on June 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Seems like the bulk of your argue is with the people you consider to be “black” checking off “other” on census forms which is blocking money you seem to think needs to be giving to majority black communities.

    As for advertising … I would not put my companies money into advertising to a group of people who are already aware of my products. That’s like me telling my current customers what they already know. Let’s out it more into a community where I need to spread the word.

    • Marsha on June 23, 2011 at 2:41 am

      That was my point exactly. Perhaps Clorox should put sponsorship dollars into the black community to express their thanks for the buying power coming from that segment of the population, but the ad dollars should be spent where Clorox needs to gain marketshare–not where they already have it.  I mean, am I missing something?  -MM

      • Dyanna2220 on June 23, 2011 at 2:46 am

        If it were my company, I would be more focused on getting more new business. That’s with any company. I’m not sure why the black community expects to be given a “Thank You” card every time we do something. Clorox doesn’t owe us anything. I’m not sure what to really say without sounding outside the box here. I don’t always buy my son a toy for cleaning his room. (laughing) I think the black community is a bit uptight. When was the last time a black owned business followed this process in putting a “Thank You” card out in the black community? Are we going to target Popeyes and KFC for this too? I mean when is it going to stop?

        • Keith on June 23, 2011 at 8:20 pm

          Never.  I agree with Bk All Day (PUT THEM ALL ON BLAST)! This conversation isn’t about Clorox or thank you cards.  It is about, ALL the major marketing company’s who take Black dollars but don’t put a fare share of  those dollars back into the Black community by hiring, Black Ad Agencies, Black PR Firms, Black Producers, Black Planners, Black Creattve Directors, Black Interns or place Ads with Black media….papers, magazines, radio, tv, or hire Black Insurance or fidelity (401K) Companies to do business with their firms, etc., etc., etc., and if you still don’t get it….. go ahead and check the “other” box. I’m out.

        • ashamed and embarassed on June 23, 2011 at 9:13 pm

          I think folks are truly missing the point here. 

          A peek behind the curtain to the community about where their dollars go and how they’re assumilated beyond the stock market should do just fine since the folks who gain anything are the marketer and their shareholders.

          No thank you cards required.  The black community from where I sit expects nothing but the message is that they do deserve something… a new park, a grant to support illiteracy that services exactly the area they function within.   That’s corporate governence and frankly if you’re doing business in a black community, you should do more to support it.

          We are always reading about corporate governence, but as I said before, Clorox was based in Oakland…have you seen how dirty that place is?  They don’t even give the city products to clean the streets.  So, the black community isn’t getting even its fair share of corporate governence since Clorox hasn’t even sponsored a cleaning effort of the block on which it resides.   Let’s look at how some of the ‘governence’ can translate into programs to raise the community in which these corporates do business instead of some of the things I read about on their website that really doesn’t benefit anyone in the immediate radius of the building they work from.

          At this point, I think government should give involved, and I’m a conservative!  Corporations need to pay their fair share of taxes or show how the money is being invested other than dividends to stockholders. 

           I’m going to speak to my congress person rather than corporations or the businesses who try to advertise for them since they don’t give a damn about anyone or anything but their own profit and we should care more about things like the environment (air we breath) and anything that affects our quality of life, and that includes the education and future of our children.

        • happyfeelin on July 1, 2011 at 6:15 am

          Actually your comments don’t really make any sense.  The article and responders like myself are speaking about what the article and its panel are articulating.  That the research behind what the advertising and marketing is meant to do…compel consumers to buy a product, under the auspices that the product provides us with a better quality of life.   So please understand that this isn’t about what you think it’s about; that’s too simple and I think that corporations think all black people are stupid and not multidimensional thinkers.  And you’re incorrect.  Clorox owes us a lot more than you think.

          When we start looking at how difficult it is to earn dollars in this economy and how the dollars we do spend are being recycled in our communities, you have to look deeper at the surrounding factors. How a company speaks to you (e.g. doesn’t put negative images in the media to support its racist ideology on fat black women and cleaning products), and doesn’t hire companies that hire minorites, women and gays, is something that gets a foot-hold and digs a trench in the US.  That’s why many larger corporations would rather just do business abroad to avoid the racial manifestiations at home.

          Corporations like Clorox (but not just Clorox, at least from what the media dictates) barely pay any corporate taxes, never mind the other issues mentioned in the article including hiring in a representative manner and developing internal programs that do more than satisfy an affirmative action agenda (and I’m not pro-affirmative action..I’m pro fair and unbiased hiring of qualified people, including minorities, women and anyone in a protected class).

          And because that means that they’re not providing revenue to cities and communities, they have a responsibility to provide something since they do utilize the services that homeowners like me pay property taxes to support.  The black community is in many ways a shareholder if its spending represents the astronomical numbers mentioned in the article.  I want to know why consumers think that corporations are entitled to just earn money from us and not give anything back, especially if they’re rarely hiring anyone of color, as the article also mentioned.  The black community isn’t uptight if you think about what’s really happening here. It’s like it’s 1950 and blacks have to purchase what companies sell them and not expect anything in return.  Used to be that when you used a product or purchased something, you even got green stamps that helped you obtain something else and even in those times the thing your green stamps helped you get was something at least you felt did provide you with a better quality of life.

           And here’s a box to think about…..Clorox is selling our community a chemical dressed up as a savior in the household for a multitude of profit, yet those profits don’t do anything but make those shareholders wealthy.  And if you find something normal with that, then I am not surprised you don’t get the discussion at all. 

          We aren’t going to target Popeyes and KFC because actually we can fry our own chicken, and blacks aren’t the only ones consuming these products and these companies do hire african americans; franchise owners (that’s key….not just cashiers but people who own the business baring the name of the products they sell). At least the last time I’ve gone through a KFC or Popeyes I saw plenty of young kids, of all races behind the counters.  That’s the difference. 

          It’s a proven fact that companies owned and operated by minorities hire minorities, including blacks, hispanics, asians and LGBT, without the need to create these phoney zoos called “diversity and inclusion groups”.  That is the thank-you card you don’t see but it’s actually a very nice thank you card… it’s saying ” by hiring african-americans (and other racial and gender/orientation groups) more than others who can’t seem to get jobs elsewhere in the same fields even though they’re qualified and have the experience but because the hiring practices of a company are discriminatory, maybe not blatently but veiled in its selection process”, thank you for not using petty bigotry and fear to select someone of color, gender or orientation and not holding these differences against them, over someone who happens to feel like the person(s) conducting the interviews.

          • Daynebry on August 24, 2011 at 4:02 pm

            Well Said!!!



      • ashamed and embarassed on June 23, 2011 at 9:02 pm

        perhaps when they were in my backyard (downtown Oakland), Clorox could have sponsored a clean-up of the area.  I couldn’t believe, moving to Oakland how DIRTY, downtown Oakland actually was, with Clorox right at 12th Street and Broadway.  It’s no wonder they’ve now relocated to Pleasanton, CA, which looks like Mayberry.

    • Zondra Hughes on June 23, 2011 at 5:25 am

      Dyanna2220,

      African American consumers are extremely loyal to brands, and it is always refreshing to see these brands return the favor, in advertising, and by sponsoring programs that strengthen our communities.
      Thank you for your  comment. 

    • ashamed and embarassed on June 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm

      You’re correct Dyanna2220. 

      I think that the advertisers like McDonalds who do participate greatly in the community by not only selling products but also have agencies who have proven to HIRE black creatives and black account directors and other staff need to be highlighted.  The issue with Burger King is that they hired an agency that mostly likely has less than a 10% ratio of its staffing in an ethnic minority classification and if they do have more than 10% of people of color (including hispanics, asian and blacks), they’re not in the roles that clearly are revered as ‘senior level managers” or people who can make a difference (last I checked, the mailroom and reception are where they are placed because they’re “seen” but not “heard”). 

      So perhaps those marketers that do promote cultural diversity rather than cultural divide, should make sure that the community knows they do this….AND HOW ITS BEING DONE down the supply chain, and not just hiring folks with paper hats to imply that it’s throughout the corporation, top to bottom.

      People of color need to recognize that the migration of jobs to China is exactly the end result of this type of marketer efforts.  It’s time for us to ask the questions that everyone seems to wonder in other contexts  (e.g. why can’t I find a good paying job).

    • Daynebry on August 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      Not absolutely clueless but getting close to it…………Business 101 it takes X amount more dollars to obtain new customers than it does to retain customers.  I’m all for expansionism but you have to protect your base.  Dynna, following your logic, you would give up 42% of your business to obtain 18%?  You obviously don’t run a business.  or are you a Goverment employee?

  3. Ymoyo on June 22, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Excellent. Thank you Rolling Out. You are doing an amazing job.

  4. Iris Robertson on June 22, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Carol H. hit it right and told the truth. If we as Black Americans ever pulled back our dollars, corporate America would have a whole different perspective about our power. Just go back in history and read about the year-long Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama and how effective it was. We need to know our history and put that power to use. 

    • Zondra Hughes on June 23, 2011 at 5:22 am

      Iris,
      Thank you so much for your input…

    • Zondra Hughes on June 23, 2011 at 5:22 am

      Iris,
      Thank you so much for your input…

    • ashamed and embarassed on June 23, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      Hey Iris, you might be on to something there.  Maybe we should boycott the companies who have been identified as promoters of efforts against african-americans and others by only doing business with companies who speak to the general-targeted audience. 

      Perhaps social media can help the black community get that done, since some don’t even understand that the gossip-type sewing circle, barber and beauty shop IS SOCIAL MEDIA! 

    • ashamed and embarassed on June 23, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      Hey Iris, you might be on to something there.  Maybe we should boycott the companies who have been identified as promoters of efforts against african-americans and others by only doing business with companies who speak to the general-targeted audience. 

      Perhaps social media can help the black community get that done, since some don’t even understand that the gossip-type sewing circle, barber and beauty shop IS SOCIAL MEDIA! 

  5. James Glover on June 22, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Tell ’em Carol. I’m the author of Mad Man a new book out about just this subject for all interested please check out my web site jimgloverbooks.com or get book at your online book seller, amazon especially.

  6. bk all day on June 23, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Put ’em on blast! I’ve always admired when someone was willing to put their money where their mouth is. While some others may sit on the sidelines, afraid to “rock the boat,” Carol Williams is willing to call them out. This may be a publicity ploy to get the attention of Clorox and gain some of their ad dollars and if it is, I hope it gets the media attention it deserves and pays off. No matter what the outcome, bravo!

    • Zondra Hughes on June 23, 2011 at 5:21 am

      BK All Day,
      I agree; there’s something magnetic about Carol H. Williams’ chutzpah. Thank you for sharing.

    • Zondra Hughes on June 23, 2011 at 5:21 am

      BK All Day,
      I agree; there’s something magnetic about Carol H. Williams’ chutzpah. Thank you for sharing.

    • Zondra Hughes on June 23, 2011 at 5:21 am

      BK All Day,
      I agree; there’s something magnetic about Carol H. Williams’ chutzpah. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Leontyne Brown on June 23, 2011 at 4:15 am

    I’ve worked with Nike since 2005; first as the Director of Advertising for Nike’s Jordan Brand and then as a client when I founded my own boutique advertising agency, salt513. With that in mind, I can confidently say that Nike does spend a substantial amount of advertising and marketing dollars targeting the AA community.  

    Although I respect Ms. Williams immensely, in my opinion the ethnicity of the brand directors, managers, media buyers, etc doesn’t matter. One of the primary issues that should be addressed, however, is the lack of AA-targeted media outlets.  Quality television programming targeting our community is limited and outside of a few printed publications (Yay for Rolling Out!) and a few high-rated radio programs, there are just not enough options for brands most national brands. 

    I’d also like to add that general market television programs and print publications are beginning to do a much better job of developing story lines and featuring content that attracts both the multicultural and larger global consumer-bases. Often times media buyers are just as frustrated as the consumers, however, they can only buy what’s available. 

    Just my respectful two cents!

    All the best,
    Leontyne Brown
    Managing Partner, salt513

    http://www.twitter.com/leosaidwhat
    http://www.facebook.com/leontynesaidwhat
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/leontynesaidwhat

    • Zondra Hughes on June 23, 2011 at 5:21 am

      Leontyne Brown,
      Thank you for your comment, and congrats to you on salt513.
      Warmly,
      Zondra

    • Zondra Hughes on June 23, 2011 at 5:21 am

      Leontyne Brown,
      Thank you for your comment, and congrats to you on salt513.
      Warmly,
      Zondra

    • Zondra Hughes on June 23, 2011 at 5:21 am

      Leontyne Brown,
      Thank you for your comment, and congrats to you on salt513.
      Warmly,
      Zondra

    • Zondra Hughes on June 23, 2011 at 5:21 am

      Leontyne Brown,
      Thank you for your comment, and congrats to you on salt513.
      Warmly,
      Zondra

    • ashamed and embarassed on June 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm

      I think the issue really is beyond who spends time targeting a community since doing this really has a substantial benefit to the marketer and less to the consumer. 

      The constant targeting of a community should have a sort of quid-pro-quo effect beyond the marketer gaining street credibility and wealth on the back of a community  Meaning, targeting and supporting black athletes and children who admire them doesn’t necessarily translate into these young people obtaining employment, opportunities and other organic cylical developed opportunities, in their communities where they live.  No that, is not advertised at all. 

      Whence was the time where we were angry about being protrayed in the media as butlers, maids and washer-women; advertising helped marketers clean up their act and evolved to correct the visuals on Uncle Bens/Aunt Jemima because they really wanted the up and coming community (e.g. dollars) to believe that they were in support of us and us using their products (and as my dad once reminded me that it appeared that the quality of the product promoted black faces on it because of the implications in the association).

      You’re correct in that marketers are doing a better job trying to promote story lines and content that speak to a wider audience.  However, now, as I watch a lot of television, I’m starting to notice the things that attempt to provide us with a more “multicultural” communication towards each other, however since I live in West Oakland (aka the ghetto that is transitioning to transplanted folks who can’t afford more expensive and neighboring San Francisco and Berkeley, CA), marketers appear to try to take this changing demographic and communicate it as if its effective in the true urban centers of America.  And these stories include things that if you ask the average black person if they can get behind it, they’ll dismiss much of it because the lifestyles being promoted are congruent to a lifestyle that they’d change if they had the money and opportunity to do so instead of being shown an outside visual of what someone “believes” goes on within the community..

       I can assure you, having been raised in East New York, Brooklyn that just like West Oakland, nothing is really changed….blighted areas still exist no matter how many marketers target these communities and these products are marketed as if they’re going to create change.  So folks really need to ask themselves “does this product really do anything to improve my quality of life, or does it just make the marketer more money?”. 

      Also, marketers as well as media directly motivate folks into areas that really are touchy subjects in the black community (e.g. why are all the black athletes getting young white girls thrown in their faces and this is constantly advertised or profiled in movies).  Personally, the only Love and Basketball type stories I see are started within the community and if we’re lucky we’ll get one or two stories that allow a true blending of family and not someone elses’ distilled version of what it means to be successful in black america. 

      I just read an article about how a Stanford professional thinks black women should marry white men (Is Marriage For White People), which many in my circle feel is a direct attack at black marriage and black family. 

      I think that it would be neat if corporations not only got to make money talking to a target but created a true dialog that reaches beyond the “if you promote my product, I’ll make you feel cool” discussion that advertising has been generating for decades.  Products should truly help a society solve problems as they were once marketed to do, not just solve an immediate problem, yes its nice to get to the sweet spot, but when the sugar wears off, where does that live the society at large?.

      When marketers make the kind of money that is translated in the dollars and cents being discussed by the statistics and research being extracted here, the responsibility does become a moral one.  We shouldn’t have to be in Africa to see this.  There’s too much poverty at home to not address this issue.

      I think its time to take a deeper look behind the curtain to see the real supply chain issues of a marketed brand would help communities really take notice on how they’re being marketed to.  Products like Carol’s Daughter has successfully done that and showed folks that there are hands on the product from development stage, to marketing stage to point of purchase that its not just to make money off of the consumer and not bring change to the communities in which they live.   
       
      Seems to me that the chicken has come home to roost since advertising appears to have started out doing one thing and now it flows on it’s own juice and is accomplishing an entirely different goal.

      Finally, with all due respect, I’d like to see more businesses like salt513  develop out of advertising dollars and STAY IN BUSINESS.   The one thing I’ve noticed over the past 23 years I’ve watched agencies from the sidelines do is open because smart, senior-level management of color on the agency-side can’t get beyond the SVP suite; these smart individuals then become empowered to open their own business but then end up closing because the marketers do exactly this…feel that its not important to segment the discussion to speak to all people, not just decide unilaterally to force all cultures to speak one language.  As a black female with a diverse background, I’ll never exactly speak the same language as other women my age or who even live in my community so I recognize the nuiances that are being ignored here. 

      That’s why I put my money behind those products that do recognize that speaking to me isn’t the same as speaking to someone who might look exactly like me but has nothing at all in common with me.

    • Daynebry on August 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm

      Interesting perspective, especially since it comes from the inside ……BUT……I have to disagree.  The ethnicity of brand directors and more importantly creatives in the ad industry DOES matter.  The road is littered with commercials developed that are offensive to one group or another.  Think HP, Nivea, DirectTV, Subway etc.  If there had been a diverse member of the creative process maybe they would have raised a flag and said “Um this is probably not a good idea, we are going to offend a large part of our target market.” 

      Current Nike poster boy LeBron James had a Sprite commercial that ran in China where he defeats a Dragon.  Beat a Dragon in China!!!!!!  WTF!!!!  The Dragon is one, if not the most, revered symbol in China.  If there had been a Chinese person involved with the campaign don’t you think the end result would have turned out better?

       

  8. Lugias on June 23, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I think
    that Carol H. Williams’ discussion was absolutely brilliant and right on the
    money about AA’s checking “Other” on their census forms.  Who the hell is other? Is there a race
    called, “Other” now?  And
    where does the money called, “Other” go?  

     

    I loved
    the point Carol H. Williams made about the lack of dollars being distributed
    within the AA communities.  AA’s spend as much and in some cases more
    money on these company’s products than any other ethnic group. We need to get mad because the truth is,
    the only way we will ensure our communities survive and prosper is to make sure the things we buy,
    buy and respect us  in return.  I for one do not want to hear any of the, monday morning quarter-backing, especially from anyone who has never lived, worked or exisited BLACK and therefore could never have a clear understanding, whatever positions they have held, about what she is talking about. 

  9. FmL on June 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Wow…she’s so racist it’s ridiculous. Another African American that is incapable of recognizing her own bigotry.

    • Lugias on June 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      enlightenment as to how to better support our communities is not bigotry. Don’t hate, participate.

    • Lugias on June 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      enlightenment as to how to better support our communities is not bigotry. Don’t hate, participate.

    • Chi_artist04 on June 23, 2011 at 8:00 pm

      i used to work for her….

    • ashamed and embarassed on June 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      Is responding to what is not just perceived but has been proven as institutionalized discrimination and racism towards and entire community, really racist?

    • Talk_Talk on June 23, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      You are frankly, ridiculous.   There is nothing racist about pointing out how your government works.  The truth of the matter is that the institution may not

  10. HarryWebber on June 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    With all due respect. Carole Williams is a throwback to an era that no longer exists in American Business. The idea of a major packaged goods company “owing” black people something other than providing them with the best product possible to meet their wants and needs, is ridiculous. Quid Pro Quo.

    As for Carol’s rant, it is not only self-serving, it is out of touch
    with reality. The reality of today’s marketplace. Times have changed and
    the welfare mentality that permeates most minority-based advertising agencies now falls on deaf
    ears. Most AA agencies are incapable of working in interactive media,
    let alone social marketing.
    They are decades behind black audiences
    who are now casual users of targeted media that refuses to make itself
    relevant to the issues that dominate our lives in today’s world.

    If the work Carole did for Clorox moved the needle, she would still be
    on the brand. In my humble opinion the work of her agency is generally dreadful. Clorox
    is one of the most demanding clients on the planet. Her agency couldn’t measure
    up. End of story.

    BTW, Jim Glover’s book “Mad Man” is a great read. I wrote the intro and I have known Jim (and Carol) for almost 40 years.

     

    • ashamed and embarassed on June 23, 2011 at 8:46 pm

      Frankly, you are out of touch.  Since last I checked the black community still runs the show with what’s hip, what’s cool and what’s relevant, and we didn’t need the internet to do this nor did we need social media to do it.  In fact, these communication tools are what allows non-blacks to assimilate with blacks and what I saw in this article that its time for blacks and other ethnic minorities who cultivate their worth in socieity, to turn that into the wealth they deserve to acquire from their contributions to society. 

      The next time I see a white kid with his baggy pants and hat to the back, I’ll smile and think of your post because what you don’t know is that the marketers don’t realize that they are using us for more than targeting.  They are using us to find a way to relate to society at large.  I want to see the marketers give the person (clearly a black man) who put his hat to the back a dollar for each white man who followed suit.  Even Dockers created pants to add a little “fat to the back” since I recall the 1980s when having an ass became relevant.

      Who’s determination is it that a product is “the best product to meet their needs and wants”.  Perhaps, the advertising of the era you refer to didn’t do it’s job to provide the reality that this product being advertised isn’t the best, since people of color “want” a better quality of life and have since Jim Crow, and people “need” to see that a marketer gives a damn enough than to just sell them a product but to keep the promise that they imply that the product is supposed to provide. 

      And as far as your opinion of the work of the agency, I followed her website, and you’re just insulting Clorox’s marketing and brand management team, because last I checked, the client approves the creative and not the agency putting whatever is their opinion of good advertising on air. Frankly, clients should give agencies more creative license to do their jobs; maybe then the dreadful commercials my friends and  I TiVo through each night would hold our attention (thank God for TiVo).

      I understand what you’re saying but please look at the neighborhood you were brought up in as I have and then go back and pay it a visit.  The same ole, same ole way of doing business is really done and I’m pleased to see the comments in this discussion pointing to reality which is American Business has a responsibility beyond selling a product.  Its responsibility is to the consumer and sadly the consumer doesn’t hold them more accountable for this responsibility.  As I came up in the 1960’s, advertising did its job for marketers in the black community.  Pillsbury, with the help of brilliant creatives like Carol Williams, allowed those black women who couldn’t make a biscuit worth a damn think they could actually bake for the family reunion.  However, the community got lost in transition whether after Vietnam or with the introduction of the drug trade but that blight and poverty went buck wild yet we still believed that products being sold to us would make our lives better. 

      Well, wake up 2011…THIS HASN’T HAPPENED!  Not one little bit.  Considering the measurement of success between what is purchased and at the rates its being marketed to how we’ve evolved as a community, nothing’s at all changed. 

      Marketers should understand that agencies like Carol H. Williams doing brilliant work for its clients helps them stay relevant and in touch, not the diluted creative I’ve seen out of agencies who claim they can speak to all of us.  That’s why we see black folks on commercials after January 8th and through February because marketing to us is treated like a holiday during MLK’s birthday and Black History Month.

      It’s time we were spoken to with respect and dignity, 24/7/365 and see the support of these marketers in our communities since they promise that their products can do so much to help us, instead of giving us idealized visions of perceived wealth that we’ll never get to see.

      And I’ll check out Jim’s book since I’m sure I can get a cheap copy on eBay.

    • GG on June 23, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      Reading
      Carol H Williams’ Bio, I believe she has moved on to bigger and greater things.
       Clorox was an account she managed years ago when she was a,
      “Copywriter for Leo Burnett”.  Her message to us was not about
      “Clorox” but about the industries attitude regarding its
      multicultural consumers and her opinion was obviously shared by other panel
      members.  

       

      It is people
      like you, who belittle the greatness of others, who hold us back as AA’s.
       If you have nothing positive to contribute, I suggest you continue to
      write silently in your diary and not perpetrate your negativity upon the rest
      of us, who welcome positive influences in our lives.  You sound a little
      bitter to me. 

       

      If you are
      successful you will win some false friends and some true enemies succeed
      anyway, give the world the best you have and it may never be enough, give the
      world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis it is between
      you and God; it is never between you and them anyway.  (Mother Theresa)

       

      God bless
      you Carol, you are a force to be reckon with, as you can see.

    • Looluv on June 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      My goodness, for being a writer, you are the most short sighted person I’ve ever met.  Good luck with that.

    • Glengill54 on July 9, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      You are so off base with your comments…this is definitely not welfare mentality.  It is one of a mutually beneficial reciprocal trading relationships with those that subsidize your livelihood by purchasing your products.  Communities of color who want to interface with corporations should have an opportunity to do so especially if the African American and Latino when they over-index in a product.  You are right on one thing it is a new day and a new reality which is  markets of colors are growing exponentially and will be demanding that they participate on an level playing field.  

      Who are you??? You are not only out of touch… you are degrading and insulting by stating that  African Americans  are incapable of working in interactive media and social marketing.  However you are stating exactly what general market companies and corporations believe of us that’s why all this nonsense of general market agencies doing multi-cultural work proliferates…because they can do it better. General market agencies and their clients believe they can tell us who we and what we like because those black folks don’t know anything except what we tell them. 
      Black people are the lead and key influencers on everything the world embraces. How about we just become incapable of spending our money with the companies that do not see our value   How about that!!  Slavery is over…!!!By the way Carol H. Williams did not have the Clorox account and I am grateful that you were humble enough  to apologize.

      Yes by the way we are taking Clorox to task and it is not welfare mentality!

      MAK!

      • Harry Webber on July 10, 2011 at 1:42 am

        MAKI

        Humble and humbled. Carol and I have been unwitting parties to a”Divide and Conquer” scheme that has gone on for 30 years, without out knowledge. If not for the good graces of Jim Glover a good friend of both of ours ( A great review of his new book, “Mad Man” by Pepper Miller in this weeks AdAge.com) it would have gone on another 30 years. An apology is the lease I could do. Roses would be more appropriate.

        You ask who I am?

        I am the reason there are African-Americans in advertising. Google me. I’ll wait here.

        So many pages.

        O.K. Next point. My comment was “most AA agencies.” Not African-Americans. I pay a lot of money to some very capable black code rats. I wish there were more. (Sun Microsystems was a client for years.) 
        I look at the digital work of many of the AA agencies and I can’t say that it is state of the art. But it is getting better.

        The reason general market agencies are getting “multi-cultural business is because they are going
        after it with a vengeance. I’m not saying every shoot out is Uniworld vs Chiat Day. But UniWorld vs Lintas would not be good either. My point is that AA agencies need to get better. And I’ve been saying that since Tom Burrell started his agency in the living room of my condo on Superior. Good enough is not good enough any more.

        “Black people are the lead and key influencers on everything the world embraces.”
        Except advertising. Why have there been no Michael Jackson’s in AA Advertising

        Why am I the greatest African-American Advertising Man that ever lived? Pitiful me? Just because Mike Becker, Barry Manilow and Harry Webber created “I Am Stuck On Band-Aid Brand.” The longest running advertising campaign in history. Still running. Billions and billions of them little critters sold. There must be some else? Is it because I created the “Look” of the “Motown Sound” at 19 that you have to ask who I am. My name isn’t on enough gold records? Is that why? Or maybe, raising more than a billion dollars for Black Colleges convincing Americans that “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste.” Maybe you missed the longest running PSA campaign in history. Or perhaps the 20 year truce between the Crips and the Bloods for my client, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Gang Abatement Unit…Who am I?

        I’m just one more Black man looking for work. With a resume like that, my phone isn’t jumping off the hook. I have to go out and work for every bean I can clean. I don’t want a damn thing from Clorox because Black people bought it. If Clorox didn’t work, Black folks would buy something else. I would rather see them focused on making a better Clorox then making a few more Black people richer. If Black people want Clorox to make them rich then need to pool their money and invest in Clorox shares like everybody else. Then if they have an issue with governance they can bring it up at the Shareholders Meeting.

        That’s just one person’s opinion after 40 years on Madison Ave. No more no less.

        http://about.me/HarryWebberKnows

        • enbarassed and ashamed on July 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm

          And we appreciate that you are taking the time to teach us who you are! 

          Perhaps your book should be written because it doesn’t seem to get any attention on this site.  Don’t be like Clorox and hide your comments in plain sight.  If we need to recognize you as the George Washington Carver of AA advertising, then bring it.  Don’t hide it.  Social media is wrought with misinformation and lack of intelligence.  For example, there’s a book out now called “Strong Enough For A Man”, written and distributed by the folks at ihaveanidea.com.  The book is about creative females and their contribution to the advertising community.  Yet, the one person who they managed to leave out of the book?  The very woman who created the campaign that coined the book’s title….Carol H. Williams.  So this, as you can see is a systemic problem of  people who don’t following any black history really and who create from the front of their nose and only what their eyes see…Not what’s in their empty heads which they want to market as ‘knoweledgable.”

          Carol H. Williams still owns and operates, without the financing of a holding company (although I’m sure they’ve offered to bribe her away from her agency).  So think about that before you say no Michael Jackson’s in AA advertising. 

      • ashamed and confused on July 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

        Carol H. Williams did have the Clorox business Glengill54.  What happens however is that the purchasing power of AA’s isn’t being reciprocated in the budgets and contracts to AA owned agencies like Carol H. Williams Advertising.  And then they say “we’re not going to do any advertising to this segment”.  And that’s because the segment is already brainwashed into thinking that the product helps them in some way so they’re buying it using the Pavlov theory.  We need to crack this code of brainless purchasing and start to recognize that by being a slave to a product that does nothing to really help us, is really what’s at issue here.  Black people need to truly ask themselves “what does this product do for me and what does the creator of this product do for my community that I can SEE, FEEL, TOUCH AND IS WHAT WE NEED!

        So this isn’t a welfare mentality, it’s more of a slave-trade mentality.  Clorox gives a few pennies to the agency that can and has spoken to an entire community (which by the way creates the resonance to every other culture on earth…come on…no one follows the black community????)  What really needs to happen is that we need to get smarter as black folks and look at the supply chain effect of where our foods and services/products come from.  Believe me, if black folks heard that the KKK was creating a product we all kept in our kitchens, they would en masse stop purchasing the product.  The issue here is no one is talking about the corporate actions of Clorox Company and others who function like 21st Century slave traders and supply a product that their marketing suggests helps us, when it does nothing but make them wealthy.  They  call it corporate responsibility to put another park with basketball hoops in the black community, when they know that computers in schools would serve our children better (unless they’re getting into the NBA parks and basketball hoops really helps no one but the homeless in these communities…the kids where I live play in the street, not the park bec the homeless dominate the park benches).  Yet the AA community helps Clorox Company make BILLIONS off of a product.  You don’t see those BILLIONS recycled in the community…if you did, the community would be as clean as their bleach claims they make our clothes.    I learned a while ago, I can clean my clothes and get them white without their bleach product (I suggest we re-up our chemistry and learn what products can do the same thing without supporting companies that root their hiring practices in bigotry, since Clorox has a very small minority verses majority when it comes to race/ethnicity hiring.  I know…I have a friend who was japanese who left there because he thought they were racist…and he was Japanese!

    • Lowell Thompson on August 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm

      Harry,

      It’s me, RaceMan. I went to Glover’s book signing here in Chicago a few weeks ago and bought a copy. I even rated the cover on my Buy The Cover blog at http://www.buythecover.com.

      I’m actually working on a book now that I think may change the world as we know it – and make goo gobs of loot. I may need your sage ad vice when I get near the end. How much are you charging these days?

    • Lowell Thompson on August 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm

      Harry,

      It’s me, RaceMan. I went to Glover’s book signing here in Chicago a few weeks ago and bought a copy. I even rated the cover on my Buy The Cover blog at http://www.buythecover.com.

      I’m actually working on a book now that I think may change the world as we know it – and make goo gobs of loot. I may need your sage ad vice when I get near the end. How much are you charging these days?

  11. Mworell on June 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    I’ve read all of the comments and for those of us who have lived through several decades really understand that the more things change the more they stay the same.  So many of these comments are so off the mark which tells me they really didn’t get what Carol was saying.  First, I applaude Carol for calling out these companies for the blatant absence of AA’s from their workforce, especially in key management positions where the real money is earned.  Simply put, if our money is good enough to contribute to the bottomline, I and my conterparts are good enough to be employed in your company and benefit from securing the same kind of lucrative contracts as our white counterparts.  This is truely not about Clorox Bleach Company or Nike or other like companies alone.   It’s about a culture which says that companies can reap the benefits of our contribution to their bottomline but not value our talents enough to contribute the bottomline of the AA community by providing fair and equitable opportunity for business relationships as well employment opportunities.  The only thank you needed is the real and true equal economic opportunity, not tokenism. So for those AA’s who are not receiving the true message being stated by experts like Carol H. Williams and Pepper Miller are in jeodardy of repeating the past.  This is discrimination in a more subtle form and truely the “powers that be” know exactly what they are doing when they choose to create the kind of economic imbalance which says it’s okay to sell to a particular group of people and don’t feel they have to contribute to that same group in the form substantive and equal economic opportunity and overall respect and, yes, appreciation for the very real and measureable contribution to their success. Kudos to you Carol.  You make me very proud.

  12. Talky_Walky on June 23, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Let’s begin by verifying that any person here who tries to drag Carol H Williams’ name through the mud is blinded by their own jealousy or misdirected rage.  She is not racist, she is not washed up, she is an icon within advertising.  Her name can be found on some of the most well known tags we are aware of.   Pillsbury Doughboy?  Strong Enough For A Man but PH Balance For a Woman?  Dennis Haysbert from All State? The Coors Beer revolution?  Those are hers and none of these tag lines are confined to the minority community.  These are tag lines that have permeated American culture, period.  And presently, many of her commercials for Disney, GMC, have gone on to stimulate not only the African American culture but mainstream, proving that Carol H Williams could very well handle an entire general market account but has never been given the opportunity due to the barriers set by not by her, but general market agencies who sought to segregate and protect their large piece of the pie.  They still do it today because we let them, because we don’t know, and when a brave soul speaks out we choose to whine and cry because the truth hurts like hell.  

    In regards to the institution, Williams has worked within an environment that has thrived off of segregation and inner courtships.   Most business is won over a game of golf, or who knows who.  Many commercials we see lack substance and a message, whereas the same standards cannot be held by a minority own agency who must prove statistical results quickly or face termination.  Money is sanctioned off so the largest pot of the pie goes to “general advertising” and smaller slithers go to “black”, “latino” when in fact it has been proved that minorities are not only a large consumer market but often dictate it.   Nike’s billions was built off the back of African Americans, ironically much like the tobacco and cotton industry was built off the back of slaves.   But not one of these companies “gives” money to the minority communities.  And by “give,” we are not speaking of hand outs.   By “give,” we mean employment, plausible internships, minorities in leadership positions other than “head of diversity” and I promise you there are many who are brilliant and qualified.   

    Carol H Williams is far from self serving, if any of you did your research, you would realize that she is pretty much the only minority own firm left.  All those other companies were sold off to general market holding companies long ago, and though they may employ minorities, those in leadership positions are not so.  She at one time employed over 200 employees, all of them qualified and guess what? Diversity! Opportunities for whites, and opportunities for minorities who could not get a job elsewhere strictly because the name on their resume may have read “LeTavia Jenkins.”  All have gone on to flourish brilliant careers.  Most of her employees who leave do not go to work for other advertising agencies, they go to the client side.  

    Williams’ point is that when her budget leaves, she has to cut jobs and opportunities for a diverse spectrum of employees that she takes under her arm to train and put out into the world.  I reiterate, employees who would not be able to work for a general market agency because the color of their skin supposedly dictates who they can “relate to” and therefore have an impact on, once again not set by Carol Williams but the general market agency.  Many of these agencies who send Carol Williams the resumes of minority prospects  with cheery little emails with wording such as “I think you would like this person :)!”  And I promise you, telling them that you are only 67.88845% African American will not make a difference to them either way.  The institution distributes money by tax bracket as well as race, so if-for whatever reason-if you so choose to check anything other than African American, you’re telling the government that the African American community is not as large as projected and to give that money elsewhere.  You’re also redistributing district lines and putting your own congressman, who-white or black-was voted into office by you because you’re looking out for your best interests.   

    My point being is that this is about bringing these companies into a post racial America.  Everyone here would love to believe that times have changed, and they have, but guess what? It’s men and women like HER (whether it’s her, or her colleagues, or her mentors, many who were indeed white, so let us not see a commiseration in “woe is me, us poor whites are misunderstood” because we can all agree that there has been a joint effort on all sides) who have changed them for the better for all of America.  It is up to us to take what she is saying to heart and demand that we are given the better due.  

    No taxation without representation! You don’t take our money and cast us to the side as if we do not matter!  We matter! You take our money, you do what we say!

    • ashamed and embarassed on June 23, 2011 at 11:34 pm

      Right on!  You’re right also, since my friend Kesha can’t even get a job without being known as “Kay”….and not all folks who have a name are black  So talk about racism by name!

  13. HarryWebber on June 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    To The Audience,

    My profound apologies to Carol Williams and
    Carol Williams Advertising for indicating that they had the Clorox
    business and lost it. That was my misguided understanding of her
    reference to the inside of the Clorox marketing mechanism. I am not up
    on Carol William’s CV. As for the statement of knowing her for 40 years,
    we met through Phil Salter a mutual friend during her years at Burnett
    and again out here in connection with the California Lottery which both
    of our companies worked on. I have never been invited for tea.

    In any case I want to make it clear that I honor and respect the
    professional achievements of Carol Williams and Carol Williams
    Advertising. My post took issue with her position as regards Corporate
    America. On that, we disagree. But by going farther into the quality of her agencies work, I went way over the line. For that I am sorry, Carol. Who am I to judge?

    Carol Williams’ work at Burnett and her ability to maintain the independence of
    her enterprise speak for itself in History. Her achievements are not
    easily disrespected. This was not my intent at any point in time. But
    stupidity trumps intent. As for the comments on the work of her agency, this is not the proper forum for agency critique. That was just rude. And highly unprofessional. For that I am also sorry.

    Again with sincere apologies and regrets,

    Harry Webber

    http://about.me/HarryWebberKnows

  14. James Glover on June 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Good Harry!

  15. Pierre Clark on June 26, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Lowell Thompson fought this battle about hiring and representation within the advertising industry for two decades, often by marching with a sign on Chicago’s Wacker Drive, and it broke him physically and mentally. Carol, of course, is absolutely right in her assertions about cutbacks and lack of parity in how dollars are spent with our businesses and consumers versus how we spend dollars. I don’t know precisely how we get African-Americans and Hispanics to stop enriching these companies that don’t practice reciprocity in their hiring and spending habits, but if we value our own economic power we should not do business with those who won’t do business with us. Let’s think about some ways to educate ourselves and vote with our dollars. We can use the Internet to inform and motivate. There are some options. Let’s explore them.

    • ashamed and embarassed on June 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      I think we share with our family and friends these comments. McDonalds is certainly a better option in the case of marketshare when Burger King could care less.  Believe me, AA’s and Hispanics have an alternative.  Making that clear is something we need to start doing, and that includes supporting and getting behind products that are supported as they should be.

  16. Mary O'Connell on June 30, 2011 at 12:10 am

    To
    folks on this thread…

    I’m
    from Clorox. Can’t tell you how surprised and disappointed we were to learn of
    Ms. Williams’ remarks. We couldn’t help but wonder why she didn’t raise her
    concerns when she met with us a little more than a year
    ago.

     

    As
    a company based in Oakland,
    California, we value and support
    the African American community. For Clorox, diversity is much more than an
    initiative, a set of values or a plaque on the wall. We see diversity as a
    strategic imperative for the company– a true measure of  whether we’ll be able
    to grow in a competitive, global marketplace. Since launching our Supplier
    Diversity initiative four years ago, we have more than tripled our spending with
    minority businesses through participating in organizations such as the National
    Minority Supplier Development Council.

     

    Truth is, we believe our focus on
    diversity in our workforce is a key reason we’ve been successful as a company.
    Through working over the past five years with organizations such as the National
    Black MBA Association, the National Society of Black Engineers and Management
    Leadership for Tomorrow, we have increased the number of women in our workforce
    at the manager level and above by 20 percent and the number of minorities by 35
    percent. To foster rising talent, all employees are welcome to join one of five
    employee resources groups (ERG)– African American, Asian, Hispanic, LGBT and
    Women– for access to support, inspiration, and personal and professional
    development. Importantly, with a goal of building a workforce that reflects the
    diversity of our consumers and the communities where we do business, we have
    nearly a 100-year history of investing in those
    communities.

     

    Two
    years ago, the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce gave us its
    Corporation of the Year award for our dedication to improving the quality of
    life in the city. Nationally, through our support of Children’s Health Fund, we
    currently are funding 500,000 medical visits for children in underserved
    neighborhoods. In the past five years, we have provided more than $1 million in
    grants to schools through our “Love Your Veggies” nutrition programs and “Power
    a Bright Future” initiatives. Since its founding in 1980, our company foudnation
    has awarded more than $84 million to non-profit organizations, schoools and
    colleges.

     

    The
    consumers who use our products– from our namesake bleach to Pine-Sol cleaners,
    Kingsford charcoal and more– know we are reaching them where they are. They see
    and hear from us throughout their day, whether it’s on television or radio or in
    print or online. We consistently have sponsored media with signficant African
    American viewership and readership. While, like other advertisers, our exact
    spending levels in any one medium change year over year as consumer media
    consumption behavior changes, we continue to invest behind urban media to reach
    our core consumers.

     

    We’ll be the first to admit that
    while we can point to the progress we have made, we know we still have ground to
    cover and welcome the opportunity to work in a spirit of open dialgoue with
    leaders in the community like Ms. Williams.

     

    Best,

     

    Mary
    O’Connell

    Director, Global Digital Marketing
    and Public Relations

    The
    Clorox Company

    mary.o’[email protected]

     

    • Gracie on June 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      I have
      talked with my, minister, my son, who is a Black MBA, and community leaders,
      and find no evidence of Clorox contributing to our community in a meaningful
      way.  We are not just talking about
      charity; we are talking about jobs, contracts and opportunities on a higher
      level.  Clorox has been a part of
      my household forever (generational), 
      and when I thought about this article, I realized that I have never,
      ever met, known, or heard about anyone who has derived anything from your
      company directly or indirectly, except white sheets and a pine smell in their
      house. 

       

      I do not
      buy your argument and feel a larger percentage of Clorox’s dollars need to be
      contributed to the Black Community through media, advertising, print (with
      Black Agencies) education etc.

       

       I
      will discontinue buying or using any of Clorox’s products until the Clorox
      Company has made a conscientious effort to engage Black Consumers and
      Vendors on a level of which we purchase and use Clorox’s products.

       

      I am
      taking a stand here and now and until I have evidence that Clorox is working in
      conjunction with leaders like Ms. Williams, I will use generic beach and the
      pine you smell in my house will not be Clorox.

       

      Show us
      the money.Gracie 

    • ashamed and embarassed on June 30, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      Dear Ms. O’Connell,

      I am a resident of West Oakland, California, a member of the WON (West Oakland Neighbors) community group, a member of the NCPC (Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council) in West Oakland, and an active member in West Oakland period!

      I read your comments here and in addition to sharing these with my neighbors and friends in West Oakland to respond to so that we can leverage your comments to our community, I want to make you aware of some things that need to be addressed.

      When I relocated to the SF Bay ARea from New York in 1997, I lived in San Francisco.  I was told by friends back east that I shouldn’t move to Oakland and all the while, knowing how wonderful the City by The Bay was considered by New Yorkers, I wondered what they meant by that comment. 

      When I moved to the North Oakland area in California (Rockridge) I was pleased to see how community, clean and quaint it was with shops, diversity and community.

      When I took BART down to Oakland 12th Street/City Center,  I was shocked and dismayed to see that right at the corner of 12th and Broadway was the corporate headquarters of Clorox, which in my mind was the consummate corporation master of “clean”.  What I witnessed is that besides the obvious city-related issues which I can’t directly attribute to Clorox Corporation (homelessness, poverty), is the filthy and utterly shameful condition of this area.  A billion dollar company in the middle of downtown Oakland that couldn’t even organize an on-going clean campaign to assure that its location represented the overall marketing of its product claims. 

      Suffice it to say, it was at this point I committed to cease spending my hard-earned dollars on the products made by Clorox, under the conditions of “how can I spend money with a corporation that doesn’t even support the clean-up of the city it calls its corporate headquarters?

      The comments shared by Mrs. Williams at the Rainbow Push event were clearly not made to bash Clorox Corporation.  Actually, all of the individuals I’ve spoken with are clear that these comments were made to raise awareness within our community regarding the billions being made and the “misappropriation” of their return to us.   How we spend our money and how these businesses show their appreciation is now a conversation that MUST take place.  This conversation is WAY OVERDUE, particularly after we’ve been taken advantage of by banks who sold us toxic loans to buy and refinance our community homes; the lack of corporate responsibility which continues to keep our youth under-employed and unemployed by setting up standards that don’t even promote within our schools and communities, with education and opportunities  to help our children learn the necessary skills to prepare them for futures in the US, rather than  import talent from India and China and claim that our children (who are creative and smart) don’t know how to do the things that provide them an opportunity to participate in the marketplace.  I’ve walked the halls of companies too many times to see not enough of something and too much of something else not to recognize that this conversation has sat silent for far too long. 

      Corporations have a responsibility beyond what you cite here in typical PR jargon.  Beyond their shareholders, their responsibility is to the PEOPLE in the communities that make them wealthy.  Similarly to the P&G sponsored clean-up post New Orleans-Hurricane Katrina and Rita, one would think that “corporate governance” by a multi-billion dollar corporatio like Clorox would be visually apparent in the city it calls its headquarters.

      No one is suggesting that Clorox Corporation does nothing to show it cares.  However, this isn’t the point again that was taken away from the comments either.  As a resident of the community, I can say first hand that I was shocked at the level of blight and dispair in the area, just blocks away from Clorox’s headquarters.  And while Oakland’s Chamber may have given Clorix an award for efforts its chosen to particpate in, please know that being able to truly SEE VISUALLY what Clorox claims to provide is probably just as important, if not more important than the “tax-deductible/charitable and other claims of benefits you state here”.    Chariable contributions aside, it would be great if Clorox Corporation took a meeting with the residents of the local community organizations, not just the politicians within these communities and asked the question “what can WE as a billion dollar corporation do in order to provide a legacy to this community that doesn’t just benefit us in a PR way, but can create a community that serves you, its residents, and your children, and for that matter THEIR children”. 

      I always laugh when I see the corporate-types take BART in from Pleasanton (where Clorox has apparently relocated its corporate business to; interestingly that city looks more like Mayberry USA than downtown Oakland so I’m not surprised it’s moved…so now the city Clorox resides also looks like its bleach).

      What your organization doesn’t seem to get is that by providing business contracts to companies like Carol H. Williams Advertising you better serve a community as a whole.  Why?   Because companies like Carol H. Williams Advertising have since its existence, hired minorities and women, asians and hispanics  in numbers that far and away can be measured against the “government-mandates” corporations like Clorox are obliged to do.

      And,mind you,  not just graduates from Cal, Stanford and Howard University.  Sadly, the children who are systemically poor in Oakland unfortunately can’t always seem to get the leg-up to be awarded such opportunities.

      Clorox wouldn’t just service the community, it services generations of families, with jobs, financial support and community.  By providing internships, opportunities that can be directly attributed (grass-roots) and working with community leaders like Mrs. Williams, who is still revered as the “yoda” of african-american advertising, its leaders like her who help send the poorest and least fortunate children to college.  You know, the ones that have only two options…prison or death by gang violence.

      Finally. you mention that “all employees are welcome to join one of five employee resource groups”.  Newsflash… these groups, by way of the census are on the rise, so it’s nice that Clorox Corporation has decided to realize like most organizations that if you can’t slow down the growth and progress of the black/asian/hispanic/gay and female communities then you have to do the proper corporate thing and join them.  I only hope that since I’m in HR myself that your employees who participate in these groups enjoy being a part of the company, rather than being isolated in a community that has to be created in order to foster an environment of acceptance, rather than an embrace of their existence!

    • ashamed and embarassed on June 30, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      P.S. I don’t pretend to know why Mrs. Williams didn’t raise her concerns when she met with Clorox more than a year ago.  I can say that what I’ve read and heard about her is that she’s a class act; above the fray of pettiness and negativity, and above the rim when it comes to diversity.  Perhaps like me when I saw the filth of the downtown Oakland area she was speechless. Nonetheless, it would serve Clorox immensley to contact her organization and ask HER why she didn’t say anything.  And then perhaps ask her, as a successful business owner how Clorox might be able to make amends in a better light to the community she so brilliant communicates to in her advertising, without prejudice or discrimination towards anyone.  She lifts us up!  God Bless her!

    • ashamed and embarassed on June 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      can you have someone explain to me what the Pinesol ad with the black female is supposed to mean?  It seems like an overweight black female hugging a bottle of a cleaning product is supposed to imply something (and keep in mind, I’m a full-figured black female so that’s why I’m asking).

    • Looluv on July 1, 2011 at 12:07 am

      Ms. O’Connell, 

      As much as I appreciate your efforts to open dialogue and defend your brand, I must ask why your company has not released a public statement and choose to air this out on the comments section of a blog.  I must also express concerns that if I strictly by your examples, Clorox has only worked with Oakland and not attempted to foster a relationship on a National level.  Why is it that you only speak of charity?  While I appreciate any effort, I am concerned that Clorox’s response to our concerns about economic growth have someway walked down the road of charity.  Do you not employ a AA agency?  Are minorities not applying for jobs?  Do you recruit at HBCUs or other job fairs that minorities would have access to?  Has your (for lack of a better word) “Mammy” commercials tested well within the AA community?  These are a few things I’d like Clorox to consider.

      P.S.-I am a Clorox Wipe advocate, and while I adore them, I wonder if Lysol will have the same effect.

      • embarassed and ashamed on July 1, 2011 at 5:47 am

        I really believe that by responding here, Clorox thinks it will quiet a community that should be and is moblizing to the table to have a conversation with our families and friends and asking the very questions you are asking.  It’s as I said overdue and .  I personally am going to engage my community and not just it’s politicians but its constiuents who are the parents and grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and caregivers of these children.  It’s about time that we have this discussion since frankly it’s interesting and we have nothing to lose, especially since Clorox doesn’t seem to believe it needs to advertise to the AA community in a respectful and cogent way. 

        And I’m not giving my money to anyone who hasn’t at least spoken to me as a consumer with respect and provides more than just lip-service regarding its corporate governence and responsibility to community. 

        And frankly, the movement AA’s should be making is right back to where our grandparents were because they weren’t buying any Clorox, Colgate-Palmolive or P&G products.  My grandmother taught me that by using baking soda and white vinegar or ammonia if you need more grease cutting and a lintfree cloth cleaned my kitchen just fine and saves me money as multi-task products.  I’m of course a Mrs. Meyers Clean Day fan also (safer for the environment and smells fantastic, and isn’t some marketing ploy disguised as corporate do-gooding for the environment/green initiatives.

  17. Lowell Thompson on August 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I was Googling my name on the web just now and stumbled across this – I know, I know, but you never know what you’ll find out about yourself.

    Like, as a guy named Pierre says below, that I’ve been broken “physically and mentally” by my standing up for AfrAmericans in advertising. Now I know how Mark Twain felt about news of his death (being greatly exaggerated). 

    I may be broker financially than Carol H. Williams and other “black” folks who remained silent. (I started in the business with C.H.W. here in Chicago in the late 60s), But I’m “physically and mentally” better than ever. 

    Last time I looked, I was pretty much all there. In fact, some folks think I’m better than ever. Tom Burrell looked me up a few years ago to help him write his book, “Brainwashed”. And even though he didn’t give me the acknowledgment I deserved, he did pay well. The people at Arcadia Publishing, America’s leading publisher of local/ethnic books, thought I was “mentally and physically” fit enough to write my new book, “African Americans in Chicago”, which should be out later this year.

    And people all over the planet who’ve been to my “Buy the Cover” blog at http://www.buythecover.com seem to think I’m pretty “mentally and physically” able to grab and hold their attention,at least  judging from the email I get.

    Pierre, I only wish that you are as “physically and mentally” (and spiritually) sound as I. As one unknown, unsung Civil Rights veteran once said, “My feet is tired, but my soul is rested”.

    Lowell “RaceMan” Thompson

    BTW: Carol, “hi”. Long time, no hear.