What in the World—Week of June 5

Diddy accuses Diageo of racism

Hip hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs is suing Diageo, accusing the British drinks giant of racism and intentionally undermining Combs Wines and Spirits brands, including Ciroc vodka and DeLeon tequila.

In 2014 Combs and Diageo announced a 50/50 partnership to buy DeLeon, but Combs’ lawyers say Diageo has not fully supported his brands they way it does others, reports The Guardian. “Rather than equal treatment, Diageo has treated Mr Combs and his brands worse than others because he is Black. Diageo has typecast Ciroc and DeLeon, apparently deciding they are ‘Black brands’ that should be targeted only to ‘urban’ consumers,” the filings claim.

“Combs’ suit claims the company has ‘effectively abandoned DeLeon,’” after buying Casamigos tequila, which was co-founded by George Clooney, said The Guardian. “Instead, its focus has allegedly been on Casamigos, Aviation Gin (owned by the actor Ryan Reynolds), and Ketel One vodka.”

Apple the ad business goes to Cannes

As one of the biggest and most revered brands in the world, Apple has naturally featured prominently at Cannes Lions over the years. But that was usually as an advertiser—winning Creative Marketer of the Year in 2019, for example.

But this year, it appears that Apple wants to carve out some space for its ad business. According to Business Insider, the company has rented out space at the famed Carlton hotel, arguably the most important venue outside the Palais des Festivals, where it will host meeting and lunches, and present a series of panels about its expanding advertising offering.

It has been widely reported that Apple is looking to expand its advertising sales business, including building its own demand-side platform. Wired detailed some of the steps Apple has been making, including how its tracking transparency changes for iOS 14.5 hurt competitors like Facebook.

While Apple reportedly made about $4 billion in advertising revenue last year, investment bank Evercore ISI estimates that its ad business could grow to $30 billion by 2026.

The anti-woke mob is now mad at Chick-Fil-A

Apparently so invigorated by their recent attacks on Bud Light and Target, right wing social media and conservatives last week went after Chick-fil-A—the U.S chicken chain known for donating to anti-LGBTQ groups and closing on Sundays.

Why? Joey Mannarino, a proudly conservative political strategist with 180,000 followers on Twitter and a bio that includes “Pronouns: Shut/Up,” noticed that Chick-Fil-A has a VP of diversity, equity and inclusion. “This is bad. Very bad,” he tweeted. “I don’t want to have to boycott. Are we going to boycott?”

He posted a poll that received 110,000 votes: No, 53.3% and Yes, 46.6%. However, both Axios and Vox pointed out that Erick McReynolds has been VP of diversity, equity and inclusion at Chick-Fil-A since November 2021, so it’s unclear why Mannarino spoke out now. (Other than blind hatred for anything that even hints at support for more diversity and inclusion.)

AI is already taking jobs

The Washington Post has taken a look at how ChatGPT and other AI is already starting to cost some white-collar workers—including marketing and advertising copywriters—their jobs.

In March, for example, Goldman Sachs predicted that 18% of work worldwide could be automated by AI. While noting the common critiques of AI writing skills—“It lacks personal voice and style, and it often churns out wrong, nonsensical and biased answers”—the Post found two examples of marketing copywriters who were let go because of ChatGPT.

Eric Fein, who ran his own content business, lost half of his business in the last couple of months. “’It wiped me out,’ Fein said. He urged his clients to reconsider, warning that ChatGPT couldn’t write content with his level of creativity, technical precision and originality. He said his clients understood that, but they told him it was far cheaper to use ChatGPT than to pay him his hourly wage.”

WPP introduces new AI tool

Meanwhile, WPP announced a new partnership with Nvidia last week that will enable the world’s largest advertising holding company to introduce a new AI-powered content engine that will “enable creative teams to produce high-quality commercial content faster, more efficiently and at scale,” according to a release.

The WPP tool will use Nvidia Omniverse and connect a range of 3D design and creative supply chain tools like Adobe and Getty Images “letting WPP’s artists and designers integrate 3D content creation with generative AI.”

The Financial Times explained that the software can be used to create photo-realistic images of a car, for example, and adapt it for the surroundings—dry in a desert, but wet in a rainy street. The new tool will “allow WPP to use AI to create in minutes campaigns that would have previously taken weeks,” said FT.

“This new technology will transform the way that brands create content for commercial use, and cements WPP’s position as the industry leader in the creative application of AI for the world’s top brands,” said CEO Mark Read.

David Brown