Stan Richards, former CEO of The Richards Group, a highly successful advertising firm, was known as a giant in the industry. Now, he is at best a disgraced, racist ogre.
You may not be familiar with Richards but you are familiar with his work. If you have seen cows scratching “EAT MOR CHIKIN” or heard Motel 6’s president say, “We’ll leave the light on for ya,” you have seen and heard Richards’ work.
Richards came up with these highly successful ad campaigns and generated billions of dollars in sales for his clients and hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue for his firm. Richards’ approach was once described by the Dallas Morning News as “creat[ing] a mental Super Glue that bonds consumers to a brand by making them smile.” In 1999, Richards told the Dallas Morning News that “advertising, above everything else should be endearing so that the person on the other side of the tube or the newspaper or magazine sees what we do and likes our client.”
But this is an antiquated approach which assumes a customer who is worthy of pleasing. Advertising now presumes that every customer is racially and sexually woke urbanite who wants their values to be reiffied by advertising propaganda. To the extent that advertisers consider that the product consuming masses do not yet hold their values, woke advertisers assume that they should focus on retraining rather than catering to these rubes.
Motel 6 is a budget motel, not a place filled with woke, urban elites. It’s a place for weary working class travelers, most of whom are White. Richards, whose campaigns have brought to success to other retail giants such as Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, and Corona Beer, presumably knows something about how a brand can endear itself to middle or working-class Whites.
At a meeting in October, Richards’ staffers “pitched an idea celebrating Black artists” for Motel 6. The contents of the pitch have not been reported, and so we don’t know who these black artists were or how they were going to be celebrated.
We can only guess.
It is safe to say that something about the pitch gave Richards the impression that it would not appeal to Motel 6’s White working class clients. The promotion of black artist envisioned by his staff was the super glue that would bond Motel 6 to its clients. He said it was “too black” and he noted that it would drive off its “white supremacist” clients.
Richards later explained,
“The three words that really were a mistake was when I reviewed a piece of work … and I didn’t think it was going to serve the client well, because it was a multicultural assignment, and the work I looked at was not multicultural,” he said. “So what I said was, ‘It’s too Black.’ In trying to protect the client’s business, I just didn’t want to have a campaign out there that was going to run off any of their guests. And that campaign would have. It should have been more multicultural, and it wasn’t. It was very Black.
Richards was not saved by his track record of success, his understanding of the client’s customers, the fact that he was jokingly insulting those customers by calling them “white supremacists,” or the fact that he has poured millions of dollars into woke causes and institutions over the years. Members of his hand-fed diversity group, Stan Richards Equity Student Council, did not come out in support of him. He “fired himself,” apologized, and was duly canceled by every major client.
Motel 6 is owned by the Blackstone Group. Blackstone is The Home Depot’s landlord. Most of America is owned by the Blackstone Group. The Blackstone Group doesn’t want White customers to feel welcomed at Motel 6, no campaign can ever be “too black” for Blackstone. There is no such thing as “too black” in Blackstone’s Corporate America.
For anyone who continues to believe that the magic dust of capitalism and the “free markets” will save us from the cultural revolution that our ascendant elites are foisting upon us, your lights maybe still on, but nobody is home. The reality of the situation was described by Stone Toss, when he wrote “Burgers.”