A major New York Advertising Agency has taken the step of walking away from a 100-year client after it was revealed an alleged homophobic slur occurred in front of executives including a gay staff member.
During a teleconference, New York-based creative agency FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) had just shown its latest client pitch commercial to Nivea executives which showed two-men holding hands.
It was at that moment when one senior executive is alleged to have responded with, “we don’t do gay.”
In a statement to the whole company by email, FCB CEO Carter Murray didn’t mention the slur directly, but added the decision came after “much reflection and discussion on our creative ambitions”.
“There comes a point in every longterm relationship when you reflect on what you’ve accomplished together and set your sails for where your journey will take you next.
“Sometimes that journey ahead demands tough choices that lead down different paths.”
FCB has held the Nivea account for 100 years.
Despite spending a reported $A400 million a year on advertising, FCB has said that the Nivea business represented just one per cent of its annual turnover.
In a statement to US industry site Campaign, a spokesperson for Beiersdorf (Nivea’s parent company) did not confirm that the slur took place, however, added that such behaviour would not be tolerated by the global giant.
“We understand the emotions and news interest are intensified when longtime business relationships come to an end – however, we ask for understanding that we don’t comment on unsubstantiated speculations around this matter.
“Nonetheless we wish to express our concern on the reported allegations as they do not reflect the values of Beiersdorf, Nivea and our employees worldwide.
“No form of discrimination, direct and indirect, is or will be tolerated. We are strongly committed to diversity, mutual respect, equal opportunity and tolerance.”