I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the topic we weren’t talking about enough this week at Advertising Week was Ye.

I’m throwing up in my mouth.

But it’s true.

As much as I’d rather talk about a thing else — cookie deprecation, creative optimization, Terry Kawaja’s Streamopoly board — I wish more of us (myself included) had the nerve to keep bringing up Ye.

I’m hoping that the problem itself is obvious, but maybe not. The ADL gives more context. All the latest virulence from Ye came right as his pal and a former president told Jewish Americans to “get their act together… before it’s too late.”

I’m currently reading the novel Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng, and it describes in horrific detail what happens when it’s ‘too late.’ In the book, the victims are Chinese Americans and other Asian Americas, but it shows how this could happen to any group. What’s even worse is what happens to society as a whole.

The first step is admitting there’s a problem.

There is.

And if these examples aren’t a problem for you, they will hit home sooner or later. You’ll be accused of being disloyal, or of replacing someone else, or of being the source of the world’s ills. Once such hatred has found a seat of power, it devours everything in its path. Former allies turn on each other. Hatred eats its young.

One way to solve a problem like Ye is deplatforming the source of it. Twitter has been especially active in leading this charge. But if Musk does become the owner, that policy will change. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Musk finds kinship with Ye; Musk has been busy lately tweeting memes about the two of them and then deleting those posts. Narcissists gonna narcissist.

Whether or not deplatforming is an option, it’s not enough.

It’s not enough because Ye and 45’s anti-Semitism speak to millions of Americans, and many more globally, who think they’re not getting what’s rightfully theirs. Victimization and persecution complexes rile up bases and give them entitlement to persecute. And if anti-Semitism doesn’t do the trick, then they should fear transgender people or refugees or whoever the right ‘other’ is to target.

As Alex Jones and many others realize, there’s a lot of money to be made there.

Marketers know more than most about tapping into fears realized and unrealized. If I fear I might have bad breath on a job interview or a date, I’m going to buy and use more mouthwash. That’s different from saying, “Buy mouthwash to make you healthier by preventing gingivitis.”

It’s a far cry from playing into fears about a date going wrong to playing into incels’ fears that their outside powers are preventing them from ever finding a mate. But it’s a reminder that messaging matters.

And it’s not just the messaging itself but where and how we distribute the messages.

The most direct example is Influencer marketing. How can we avoid aligning brands with sources of hate? And will we choose not to put money directly in the pockets of those spouting prejudice and lies?

You have to make the call that you won’t enrich and amplify sources of such hatred. That’s step two. All your buyers and partners have to know that’s a priority.

As to other forms of ad spending, that quickly gets us into issues of the supply chain.

Will we pay more to ensure our ads are running where we want them to run? Will we make sure they’re not running on spoof pages that line the pockets of publishers on our blacklist? Will we ensure our ads are seen by humans and not bot farms?

That all requires added costs in labor and technology. Margins in some parts of the business are slim. Many budgets are being frozen or cut with recession fears. Addressing all these issues won’t be easy.

But such tech and processes that can root out hatred can also root out waste. The longer-term gains can and should be worth it, beyond the moral gains.

There will be sacrifices beyond some upfront costs though. The biggest? Reach and frequency.

Making choices like saying you won’t support anyone who wants to go “death con 3” on a group of people means you won’t reach their audience. You’ll lose some opportunities. You might also be accused of canceling others.

You know what’s worse though? Jews being told they’re not loyal enough. Black and brown folks being told they’re replacing white Americans. LGBTQ parents and teachers and everyone else being told they’re indoctrinating and corrupting children. Lawful voters being told they can’t vote or that their legitimate votes were fraudulent.

We’ve got tough choices to make. There are resources we can direct better. And there are conversations we aren’t having often enough.

Maybe next Ad Week. But hopefully sooner.


PS: If after all of this, you just need to find a bit of goodness out there (and I sure do), here’s one thing you can do. My daughter’s NYC public school has welcomed more than 50 students from Venezuelan refugee families that are here to work, learn, and contribute to our community. Our school community is so grateful to have them among us, and it’s beautiful to witness everyone coming together. But these families coming here have basically nothing, and they need a lot. We have an Amazon wishlist where any item you get will go directly to a family who needs it. Just send it to the ‘friends of PS 11’ recipient that shows up when you check out. Thank you for any support you can offer. And if you have any corporate connections to suppliers of any item on this list, I’d be grateful to hear about those too.


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Keep checking out the #jobs channel in Serial Marketers for more. Better yet, subscribe to get updates from our job listing board. Here are some great opportunities shared in these places or sent to me directly.

Email/CRM Marketing Manager
Via Lindsay in the community
“As the manager of Email Marketing, you will join a Digital Marketing and eCommerce team with aggressive growth targets and will be responsible for communicating our brands’ message and value-propositions geared toward improving brand loyalty, engagement, and customer value/retention. You will be a key member of the team building out the necessary strategy, tactics, campaigns, and creative to deliver on program goals. You will play an integral role in building, delivering, and measuring campaigns aimed at these goals through current channels, as well as developing the roadmap for a clear A/B testing framework of new channels, such as push, SMS, and in-app messaging. You will leverage your CRM knowledge, digital marketing experience and campaign performance data to iteratively test, optimize, and recommend new best practices to make our next success even greater. You’ll also stay current on CRM best practices, industry insights, and helping manage vendor relationships.”

Digital/Paid Social Media Planner
Via David in the community
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Head of Marketing
Remote (US)
“As Head of Marketing, you will craft and execute strategies for our marketing programs, including Digital, Advertising, Communications, Brand & Creative. Your primary goals will be: to create initiatives that will deliver Prefect Cloud leads to our sales organization, increase and measure brand awareness and work with our product and developer advocate teams to grow the Prefect Community. You will have the opportunity to grow a team and define the marketing function at Prefect. We are an open-core company with an enthusiastic community of technical users. Traditional marketing can oftentimes alienate the developers we look to provide value for, meaning that our Head of Marketing should bring a perspective that keeps those users in mind. We are looking for someone who has experience marketing to our technical users.”

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Other job resources (see a full list here):

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  • NYC Ad Jobs & Networking: A popular Facebook group
  • #OpenToWork: There’s a channel in Serial Marketers where you can share what you’re looking for
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