Wednesday, October 15, 2008
6052: Blog Action Day 2008—Mad Ave Poverty.
Blog Action Day is focused on poverty as this year’s topic.
Madison Avenue suffers from poverty when it comes to minority representation. Some call it a “Dearth of Diversity.” Some view it as segregation, exclusivity and institutionalized racism. Technically, the divisiveness goes beyond race to include gender, lifestyle, age, religion and more. The advertising industry features as many cultural silos as professional silos.
So how does it relate to poverty?
For the sake of simplicity in this post, let’s start by lumping all adpeople into two groups: White Ruling Majority and Others.
Others are typically paid significantly less. Whether it’s based on salaries or the budgetary resources received from clients, Others can expect to face poverty-like conditions compared to the White Ruling Majority.
Others are typically viewed as being less. That is, they rarely see the respect and even common courtesy routinely exhibited to the White Ruling Majority. In this sense, Others are like the homeless or destitute fringe, treated as outsiders and Third-World citizens.
The excuses and explanations offered for the minimal diversity are piss-poor. Hell, the official statements have been regurgitated with little revision since the 1930s at least. The industry claiming to be creative consistently comes up empty when trying to script fresh responses.
The attempted solutions are equally repetitive and ultimately impotent. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Ad executives are no Albert Einsteins, for sure, but the propensity for acting insane with diversity is disturbing.
Ironically, the White Ruling Majority usually tries to fix things by throwing money. However, the donations are rarely charitable enough to generate social or professional profit. And in times of recession, the insufficient funding quietly vanishes.
To be clear, the final answers demand serious effort from the White Ruling Majority and Others. Yet it’s frustrating and outrageous to witness the perpetual lack of progress.
It’s not as if anyone’s being asked to end global poverty.