Wednesday, November 10, 2010
8147: Delayed WTF 8—P.S. Pursuit Of Passion.
Over the past few months, MultiCultClassics has been occupied with real work. As a result, a handful of events occurred without the expected blog commentary. This limited series—Delayed WTF—seeks to make belated amends for the absence of malice.
The 4As and VCU Brandcenter unveiled Pursuit of Passion on September 27, 2010, during Advertising Week in New York City. The film is designed to serve as a diversity recruitment tactic, wooing minority youth to consider careers in advertising.
Given that the individuals directly involved have the best of intentions—and their contributions merit sincere praise—it’s tough to criticize the effort. But MultiCultClassics will anyways.
For starters, there’s not a breakthrough big idea behind Pursuit of Passion. Recruiting minority youth has been a standard ploy since at least the 1960s. It’s something that’s easy to embrace and support because it involves the smallest amount of commitment from Whites.
The hype surrounding Pursuit of Passion appears to lack, well, passion. Aside from Advertising Age editor Ken Wheaton’s original report at The Big Tent—published before the official unveiling—there has been almost zero coverage on the film. A Google search essentially displays the obligatory press releases at the 4As and VCU Brandcenter websites, a post from Kiss My Black Ads and a few obscure tweets. A key person on the project left a comment at MultiCultClassics, and she wondered about the minimal promotion too—plus, she claimed the premiere gala drew 200 people. Sorry, but the lack of coverage ultimately exposes a lack of interest.
Producing Pursuit of Passion is like assembling a Diversity Development Advisory Committee. The film is a classic form of delegating diversity. It permits the people who need to change the most—i.e., White people—to believe there’s nothing else they have to do. Let the minority filmmakers lure the fresh crop of colored rookies (and yes, MultiCultClassics knows there are a handful of enlightened Whites behind the film). Indeed, today’s standard White advertising executive probably thinks he/she can now sit back and await the arrival of the future generation of talent. And since Pursuit of Passion is targeting school-age kids, Whites on Madison Avenue can relax for about five years.
Of course, no one has devised any plans to make Madison Avenue more attractive to minorities. That’s the truly obscene part of the scenario. The majority of Whites continue to insist there are no inherent flaws with the industry; rather, minorities are simply unaware of the grand opportunities. Does anyone think potential candidates won’t conduct Google searches and discover the truth? It’s all out there for public consumption, including Cyrus Mehri, Sanford Moore, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights and more. Hell, even industry leaders have openly admitted there are problems.
Again, the creators of Pursuit of Passion deserve praise. But perhaps they should develop a sequel. Collect the quotes and video clips of Mehri, Moore, NYCCHR and others. Add the admissions of guilt from industry honchos. Interview agency heads and drill them on the dearth of diversity. Edit everything together and force everyone on Madison Avenue to watch it.
That might inspire some passion—as well as the pursuit of legal action.