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One revolution later

Today marks a year since Minneapolis police killed George Floyd. His death, a slow and harrowing murder carried out in broad daylight by public servants, might have been buried in bureaucratic paperwork like many others, but for the fact that it was caught on camera.

The 12 months that followed were full of protests and personal growth for many. Brands and companies—whatever their inclination—found themselves offering messages of solidarity with racial justice groups and pledging to improve their diversity metrics. They have had mixed results.

While 95% of corporate execs give at least lip service to DE&I efforts, 33% say they feel forced to do so, and nearly 80% say there’s too much focus on diversity efforts, according to a survey from Seramount. Sixteen percent of Black employees say their company is “all talk,” while 78% say DE&I efforts are hindered by bias, and 30% of Black men fear for their safety while at work.

Consumers have also been skeptical of companies that expressed solidarity without follow-through. “Nike, Uber and McDonald's still saw criticism around their anti-racism efforts with people drawing focus back on the brands' own business, or pitfalls with their labor,” writes Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing. Still, it seems apparent that some powerful ads made in the last year couldn’t have been produced in any other year—spots like “Do You Love Me?” for Beats by Dre.

Half measures

In order to meet its own gender-diversity goals, Deutsche Bank will need to hire women in 50% of its senior management positions between now and 2024, according to a report by the Financial Times. The German bank says that will be a tall order. Currently, women make up 24% of those positions, and getting that number to 30% as it has pledged will require a huge shift in its historical practices.

It’s important to note that, in any organization aiming for gender parity, women should always make up about 50% of hires. Any less than that necessarily favors the hiring of men, and the only reason Deutsche Bank can get away with less than 50% is that its staff is already so lopsidedly male.

The bank’s HR head did trot out an old trope, assuring the FT that they won’t compromise the quality of its hires just to improve DE&I numbers, despite the fact that years of research shows that’s never been an issue.

Seller's market

It’s a good time to be a Google Marketing Platform partner. Even small firms are fielding acquisition offers three times higher than normal, as tech companies, private equity and even some holding companies try to get out ahead of Google’s move away from third-party tracking cookies.

“Big dollars are chasing the notion that whoever gets a foothold in this hard-to-enter space will have a lucrative role helping marketers navigate the future of digital advertising,” writes Ad Age’s Jack Neff.

The major holdcos already all have at least one company in their portfolios that fit the bill, but smaller players, especially in Europe and the tech world, are showing extreme interest. Agencies may regret the increased competition in the future.

The second day of Ad Age In-Depth: TV Pivot starts at 11 a.m. EDT. Tune in to hear from ViacomCBS, Disney, Revolt, Discovery and more. RSVP at AdAge.com/TVPivot.

And the banned played on

After years of giving politicians a pass, social media platforms have begun to remove those that spread egregious misinformation. But politicians are striking back with legislation, the New York Times reports. Florida Republicans enacted a new law on Monday that levies fines on platforms that ban political candidates, citing alleged bias against conservatives.

Bans that last longer than two weeks will incur a $250,000 for each additional day. In a move seemingly designed specifically to prevent a backlash from companies like Disney, a major employer and political donor in the state, the law exempts owners of theme parks.

Government retaliation isn’t restricted to the U.S. In India, where the ruling BJP party shows many similarities in style to Trump’s GOP, police raided Twitter’s offices in Delhi and Gurgaon after the company labeled a tweet from a party spokesperson as “manipulated media,” TechCrunch reports.

Just briefly

Hayward out: Three years after MDC merged KBS into Forsman & Bodenfors, Global CEO Guy Hayward is out. Hayward had led KBS before the merger and “ran out of time” to remake the U.S. operations into a version of its more successful European counterpart, he tells Ad Age. Toby Southgate succeeds him, joining from McCann Worldgroup UK and Europe, where he was exec VP, regional director and chief client officer.

Don't go there: The State Department issued a “Do Not Travel” warning for Japan, advising Americans to stay clear during a spike in the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes just two months before the Olympic Games, which will bring thousands of athletes and tourists from around the world to Tokyo. Far from being upset, polls show 80% of Japanese people want the Games to be canceled or postponed out of safety concerns.

Air, fair: Forget lotteries, how about free airfare? United Airlines is giving away a year’s worth of free air travel to any destination in the world. To enter, MileagePlus members just need to upload their vaccination records. The airline is also giving away 30 other sets of roundtrip tickets. Unlike some other incentive programs, people who’ve already been vaccinated can enter. Responsibility needn’t be its own reward, for once.

That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage. 

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