At The Big Tent, Pepper Miller responded to the Advertising Age report from the ANA Multicultural Conference on the cry for White and minority agencies to get along. Miller covered the topic well, negating the need for MultiCultClassics to comment extensively on the matter. So here are a few quick shots:
• Clients are so full of shit it’s downright offensive. The few clients who engage minority agencies are doing so for professional or political reasons—that is, it’s either a business decision or a tactic to satisfy corporate supplier diversity initiatives. And if it’s the latter, clients must realize corporate supplier diversity initiatives will never be satisfied by only employing White agencies where exclusivity persists. In fact, partnering solely with White agencies displays total hypocrisy when considering the diversity pledges on nearly every major advertiser’s website. Besides, how can “cross-cultural marketing” be delivered by agencies where candidates with culture are crossed out during the initial hiring process? It would be great if these corporate maneuvers led to increased diversity at White agencies. It would also be great if pigs could fly. Place your bets on flying pigs appearing before the existence of an inclusive Madison Avenue.
• White agencies are so full of shit it borders on criminal. Plus, clients are guilty of conspiring with them to hold back minorities. When multicultural work is up for grabs, White agencies are free to compete for it. When general market work is up for grabs, minority agencies aren’t invited to pitch. It’s ludicrous to say, “…bring your best stuff to the table and it will work out for you,” when minority agencies aren’t allowed to come near the table. Clients should either level the playing field—equal resources, equal budgets, equal access to strategies and information—or shut the fuck up.
• The ANA is so full of shit it’s almost comedic. This latest controversy was sparked by discussions that occurred at the ANA Multicultural Conference. What is Bob Liodice’s position here? The man went on record by publishing 10 Industry Challenges Successful Marketers Have Overcome that included:
Multicultural marketing exploded in the 1980s as the need to create more tailored advertisements based on cultural differences became increasingly essential. This growing emphasis, combined with media proliferation, has challenged marketers to align their brands closely with varied cultures. The next step in marketing’s evolution is to shed the arrogance of the “general market.” Marketers must avoid simply translating English ads into other languages and create campaigns targeted specifically for certain ethnic markets. They must also be acutely aware of cultural sensitivities that may be pertinent to their campaigns, embracing the many facets of multicultural marketing from start to finish.
Liodice’s Theory of Evolution doesn’t exactly match the revolution highlighted in the Advertising Age report.