Monday, June 25, 2007
This is admittedly a routine rant at MultiCultClassics, but it always makes for an easy essay.
Whenever the topic of diversity in advertising comes up, an angry mob of adfolks quickly rallies. The unruly horde bitterly complains about the prospect of quota hiring. Vicious slurs are hurled at Rev. Jesse Jackson—even when he’s not remotely involved in the scenario. The throng whines that sacred selection standards will be lowered, and slots will be awarded to lesser-qualified candidates.
Exactly what industry do these idiots think they’re in?
Anyone who has spent the shortest stint in advertising can readily attest that jobs are handed out for all sorts of inane reasons. And things like expertise and ability rarely factor into the final decisions.
Here’s an abridged lineup of stereotypical characters that effortlessly land Madison Avenue positions ahead of minorities:
• Children of Agency Executives. The crazy part is, most of these slackers don’t want the gigs, as they often despise being associated with their parents. The pitiful kids bide their time—occasionally selling drugs to staffers—until Mom or Pops can find them a real job.
• Children of Clients. Most of these kids do want the gigs, but they’re woefully ill-suited for the field. In fact, they’re usually just one intellectual rung below the average Special Olympian. Pray for the people assigned to mentor these clueless critters.
• Children of Somebody’s Neighbor. That’s right, virtual nobodies win a place in line before minorities.
• Family Members (including Extended Family Members). Nepotism trumps racism.
• Mistresses. Certain admen with hiring authority are bona fide pimps. Nuff said.
• Boy Toys. It’s equal-opportunity time for the ladies.
• Buddies. Let’s get real. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Unfortunately, the recruited buddy is scarcely ever a stellar performer. Ditto the recruiting buddy. But since agencies dislike paying headhunter fees—and HR officers are too lazy to actively search—companies eagerly settle for any warm body to fill a cubicle.
• Ex-clients. You hated them as clients. You’ll absolutely hate them as teammates.
• Outsiders. Some senior-level jackass hatches the notion that a washed-up punk rocker or sketch comedy writer will inject innovation. Bonus points if these freaks have access to hot groupies.
• Nomadic Poison. These drifters-grifters are becoming increasingly common as new media emerges. They tend to be charlatans who hype and hustle cutting-edge ideas, but never manage to execute anything of value.
• Mercy Hires. The former partner struggling to adapt in the evolving marketplace and recovering from a dependency problem warrants a nod instead of minorities. Mercy Hires spend their days poring over tutorials for QuarkXPress.
It’s guaranteed that anti-diversity adfolks can identify numerous professional peers from the list above. Hell, a lot of the groaners may fall into the infamous categories. But honestly, can they spot a single “quota hire” in their hallways?
If you want to slam controversial roster choices on Madison Avenue, let’s begin by thoroughly examining the existing processes.