(MultiCultClassics credits ESPN’s C’MON MAN! for sparking this new, semi-regular blog series.)
Advertising Age published a story on the 4As 2011 Transformation Conference panel moderated by Johnson & Johnson VP-Corporate Affairs Brian Perkins and starring The Three Stooges—IPG CEO Michael Roth, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell and Omnicom CEO John Wren. The topic generating the greatest press coverage was talent, with the trio agreeing on their collective stupidity involving recruitment. Sorrell went so far as to call it “criminal neglect,” and Wren reportedly echoed the sentiment. Here’s a critical excerpt from the Ad Age piece:
“Our industry has to do a better job of diversity and inclusion,” said Mr. Roth, which prompted the panelists to note that one factor that could change the “entitled, Anglo-American” approach to the business would be a shift in ad dollars to fast-growing markets in Asia and elsewhere.
Add Roth to the ever-growing list of White advertising honchos who’ve uttered the clichéd admission of needing “to do a better job” to end the rampant exclusivity on Madison Avenue. If any IPG employee completely failed for over 50 years to accomplish a task—and confessed the need “to do a better job” when called on the carpet—would Roth tolerate the dismal performance? At some point, wouldn’t a true leader fire such a slacker and bring in a replacement capable of doing the job?
The remarks about diversity potentially being sparked by “a shift in ad dollars to fast-growing markets in Asia and elsewhere” are outrageous too. Were the CEOs accidentally implying that U.S. minorities are less likely to land a job in the business than Asian executives abroad?
And it’s impossible to ignore the irony of Sorrell insisting human resources should be represented on the company boards when his network is the one among the three without a Chief Diversity Officer.
Most obscene is the realization that even the overlords think there’s a major problem when it comes to luring talent. And to be clear, the assholes were talking about White talent. If the industry can’t figure out ways to woo the regular crowd, how will minorities be reeled in?
If the impotent blundering tied to White talent management is labeled as “criminal neglect,” what’s the appropriate tag for the inaction connected to the dearth of diversity?
Somebody call Cyrus Mehri pronto.
C’MON WHITE MEN!