Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Essay 1106

One more comment responding to the AdAge editorial presented in Essay 1094…

> It is very sad that in 2006 the advertising industry and Ad Age, for that matter, feel that they have to “lower their standards” to gain more diversity within the advertising industry. You can call it a clarification all you like, but the fact that a clarification had to be made to the editorial in the first place is quite telling... In any event, the recent “deals” made by the NY ad agencies are a further insult. While it is unfortunate that people have to be embarrassed or threatened by litigation to do the right thing is shameful; however, I guess we can look to the commission every 30 years or so to expose the dirty laundry in the industry. The facts are that if minorities can excel in every other aspect of business and industry, they can certainly excel within the advertising agency if given the exposure and opportunity. If the agencies were really out to increase the diversity and were looking for ways to do so, they should only look as far as old-fashioned tactics such as networking with current ethnically diverse employees or clients (assuming there are more diversity employees than just in administrative positions). These people would be more than happy to reach within their ranks, specifically those who attended HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) to help start recruitment programs on their campuses. Instead, they took the easy way out. While the Omnicom/Medgar Evers College arrangement is a step in the right direction, it should be noted that one campus may not be able to produce the numbers needed to achieve real change within the industry. Finally, let me say I am tired of all these people talking about handouts, whining and complaining, etc. As an African American advertising executive, equipped with an MBA and many years of experience managing large budgets for major corporations, I am NOT looking for a handout, nor do I need one. My qualifications, along with many others, speak for themselves. What we would like to see is an industry that is paid for creativity embrace some of the most creative, trend-setting people on the planet within their industry. If you consider examples, like Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey's Anatomy, Usher Raymond, top-selling R&B artist (whose music is embraced by the general market teenagers) and is currently starring on Broadway and many others, it shows that the marketplace is ready to embrace diversity even if the ad industry (who consider themselves in the forefront of setting trends) is not. — Atlanta, GA

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