Sunday, March 27, 2005

Essay Seventeen

[Essay Seventeen is a semi-sequel to Essay Fourteen, which discussed how recently called out Adweek and Advertising Age for the publications’ woefully inadequate representation of minorities.]

To celebrate Easter, I’m offering a basket filled with free advice to Adweek and Advertising Age. These multicultural munchies can help bring delicious diversity — and hopefully prevent nauseating visits from Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. Bon appetit!

• Advertising Age, make your Multicultural page a weekly feature (versus the irregular event it’s become). If it’s too hard to completely fill the space every week, you’re not trying hard enough.

• Story Idea: Last year Saatchi & Saatchi’s New York office faced a potential racial discrimination lawsuit. What’s the verdict?

• Hey, here’s a novel notion — both publications should consider hiring some minority columnists and reporters.

• Story Idea: The New York City Commission on Human Rights is supposedly probing the industry’s diversity issues. How’s the investigation going?

• Adweek, include work from minority advertising agencies in your monthly creative reviews.

• Story Idea: Thomas Burrell retired and was inducted into the AAF Hall of Fame. How about an interview?

• Story Idea (cont’d): Burrell left his agency to a team seeking to move beyond African American advertising. How goes the movement?

• Advertising Age, does AdAge/IAG’s Top Spots record responses for minority viewers? If not, why?

• Story Idea: Y&R Chairman-CEO Ann Fudge allegedly launched initiatives to improve the company’s diversity. Is the agency making progress?

• Adweek, invite contributors from Marketing Y Medios to occasionally write for Adweek.

• Story Idea: Let’s give some press to the nearly invisible Asian American advertising agencies.

• In 2005 Advertising Age and Adweek let Black History Month pass with virtually zero Black references. Don’t blow it again next year. Plus, keep Hispanic Heritage Month in mind for future issues.

• Story Idea: Adweek interviewed minority creatives who choose to work at minority agencies — now interview minority creatives working at mass market agencies.

• Both publications’ editorial boards should put the following books on their personal reading lists: Proversity by Lawrence Otis Graham, Beyond Race And Gender by R. Roosevelt Thomas, Success Runs In Our Race by George Fraser, and The New Mainstream by Guy Garcia.

• Story Idea: Showcase minority suppliers — the directors, production companies, music houses, photographers, illustrators, designers, and others who make it all happen.

Here are a few tasty treats for minority advertising agencies to consume…

• Partner with Adweek and Advertising Age. Let’s be real — the staffers at these publications are painfully White, so they’ll need your help to develop relevant and correct editorial content.

• Fight off the lethargy resulting from years of being ignored. Remaining segregated contributes to the problems.

• Improve your self-promotional efforts.

• Produce work that demands industry attention.

I could continue, but I’ve got an egg hunt to attend. Happy Holiday!

1 comment:

on a lark said...

More on magazines: I wrote this letter to the editor in response to the relaunch of Savoy magazine which got very little press, but received a lion's share of full-page ads from the likes of Mercedes, GMC, Dodge, McDonald's, Ford, Citibank, Toyota, and Walmart...

"Kudos to you for reviving a much needed voice in the community. Seeing the publication on the newsstand again brought a smile to my face, but one that vanished quickly as I turned the pages of the magazine.

The topics were timely and the writing inspired, but the layout of the magazine was below par. One of the things I relished about the Savoy of old was that it could hold it's own visually against general market publications. While I understand the fresh perspective you are trying to bring forth with the new Savoy, it seems you're trying too hard...or maybe not hard enough.

Your tag line is 'power.substance. style'. The power is that you made it back to the newsstand. The substance is in the writing. But the style (and by that I mean the layout and design) is rudimentary and garish at best. Very few people will subscribe to see over circulated press release photos or low resolution images culled from websites then enlarged beyond recognition. An equity title like Savoy, with such a worthy legacy to build upon, can and should do better."

Obviously, none of that mattered to the advertisers.