Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
As a native of Austin, TX I was interested to stumble on the story of the controversy surrounding the recent GSD&M spot for Popeye's over on AgencySpy. Apparently GSD&M exec Roy Spence brought in a freelancer over the head of ECD Mark Taylor to do work on this commercial, titled "Annie the Chicken Queen". The result cannot be characterized as anything other than a blatant racial caricaturization to a degree that is astonishing in an age when we have an African-American president! The hokey music, trite chatter of the actress and the clumsy, backward concept collaborate to make this spot an epic failure that has to be seen to be believed. While bloggers and the ad community expressed outrage over the commercial, it has been clarified that Mark Taylor and the creative team at GSD&M fought against the ad to the end and refuse to take credit for its debacle. A source within GSD&M (quoted on AgencySpy) says:
"As an employee there, let me be very CLEAR when I say that he [Taylor] as well as all other creative directors, and pretty much the entire creative Dept. [sic] actually fought this campaign to the bitter end. In fact, as you wrote in an article a few weeks ago, The [sic] higher ups in the agency actually went behind the creative department's back and hired a freelancer to do this. He is rumored to be pretty ethnically insensitive (but from the looks of his latest campaign that's obvious). Overall, Mark Taylor and most of the agency agrees with your post, that the campaign is offensive and stereotypical, but that's not what's being implied in the article. That's why I hope you do a follow up article to get the TRUTH out - That Mark Taylor and the creative department had nothing to do with this ( in fact, it's that freelancer who's producing it because the creative dept. wont be associated with it.)"
Of course, this begs the questions what Roy Spence thought he was doing, slapping around his creative team, and why the work of a freelancer is being featured nationwide as the mainstay of the campaign with GSD&M's name on it. Hopefully Mark Taylor and his creatives don't suffer too much negative backlash for their supposed responsibility for this embarrassment. Kudos to AgencySpy for doing a follow-up post to clear their reputations.
I have recently been a victim of being forced to take responsibility for something embarrassing myself. I was recently convinced participate in a project which has subsequently transformed into something ineffectual, embarrassing and worse of all, entirely beyond my control. I sympathize greatly with the embattled GSD&M employees because there are few things I dislike more than being required to sustain the fallout of someone else's idiocy. The fact that I am technically the project's target market, but my advice has been thoroughly ignored is perhaps the most infuriating aspect of the situation. I imagine this is how the outraged focus groups of the "Chicken Queen" spot felt when they saw it on cable.