Saturday, October 03, 2009
7146: Advertising Week Tweak Five-And-A-Half.
Sorry, wanted to beat this dead horse a little more.
Creating a Mad Men knock-off with colored casting is not an inherently bad idea. After all, anyone who has ever toiled in a minority advertising agency usually considers trying to turn the experience into a screenplay or BET sitcom at some point.
However, believing such an endeavor could serve as a recruiting tool is flawed on a few levels.
First, the program would require a groundbreaking twist. Mimicking Mad Men by showing minority adfolks of the same era could be inspiring on certain levels—although accurately documenting the trials and tribulations might elicit a completely different audience response and ultimately turn off potential candidates. On the other hand, a contemporary depiction would be a tough sell too, given the embarrassing failure of TNT series Trust Me. And again, an honest view of minorities in the business today would possibly counter efforts to lure prospects. In a time when job seekers surf the Web for company information, it’s easy to separate fact from fiction. A televised Diversity Nirvana can’t negate the press and pundits exposing the real deal.
Second, the entire notion smacks of old-school White thinking (despite Ken Wheaton’s contention that a Black person suggested it during Advertising Week). That is, it seems to be saying, “I was attracted to advertising because of Darrin Stephens on Bewitched; hence, minorities will respond similarly when presented with a fill-in-the-race-ethnicity-etc. version of Darrin Stephens.” Whites have to realize that just as they must go beyond the standard, exclusive talent pool, they must also go beyond the standard, exclusive hiring tactics.
Mad Men is entertaining. But it ain’t 1960 anymore, folks.