Monday, June 19, 2006
Delayed reactions to the AdAge.com story posted in Essay 708…
>>The New York City Commission on Human Rights investigation into Madison Avenue’s hiring practices has stirred a maelstrom of emotional discussion around that one big question -- and this time around, industry leaders hope that the discussion might just last long enough to yield some solutions.
[Delayed reaction: Um, it looks like only minority industry leaders hope the discussion will last long and lead to progress.]
>>Renetta McCann said, “In my 28 years, I’ve had about five substantial conversations on the issue of racial diversity in advertising. That’s about one every five years.”
[Delayed reaction: Yo, that’s still five more than the 4As and AAF have had — combined.]
>>Others cite a rule intended to fuel diversity -- government mandates that minority contracts be afforded only to minority-owned agencies -- as hampering it, leaving general-market agencies to decide if it’s in their best interests to work with minority-staffed agencies rather staff up with nonwhites themselves.
[Delayed reaction: That’s possibly the lamest excuse offered to date.]
>>“There’s not a lot of desire by [general-market] agencies to become more integrated,” admitted Don Richards, senior VP-agency diversity at the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
[Delayed reaction: Nice to hear this coming from a man whose primary goal is to ignite change. Then again, Richards spent many years at Leo Burnett failing to inspire diversity. Wonder why anyone thought he’d be more successful on a global scale.]
>>Sheldon Fischer, CEO of consulting firm GoldenKnock/Pipeline International, chairman of the Four A’s diversity advisory board recruitment subcommittee, and an adviser to Operation Success, called it “a Crackerjack box that turned out to be empty. No prize, nothing to eat.”
[Delayed reaction: Actually, it’s more appropriate to call it a Cracker box.]
>>Others maintain that the number of African-Americans interested in the business is small. Several respondents to a March AdAge.com poll reported that in their college classes, few African-Americans enrolled in advertising courses.
[Delayed reaction: Let’s not confuse end results with root causes. Low interest is fueled by high exclusivity/racism.]
>>Some observers point out that to win large government contracts, general-market agencies must work with minority-owned vendors, so it is in general market agencies’ interests to work with the best minority-staffed agencies rather than staff up with minorities themselves.
[Delayed reaction: That rivals the lamest excuse offered to date. Plus, the majority of minority-staffed agencies rarely feel like they’re working with general-market agencies in these scenarios — rather, they’re literally and figuratively relegated to being the minority partner.]