Tuesday, April 10, 2012

9990: Taking Another Run At AMC’s The Pitch.

A visitor took offense to parts of MultiCultClassics’ review of AMC series The Pitch. Here are the highlights of the gripe:

You rightly bemoan the lack of diversity in agencies like McKinney. (Although the fact that most of the creatives working on the pitch seems to have escaped you. Or don’t women count?) But apparently you have no compunction about discriminating against people based solely on their age.

Why is ageism any more acceptable than racism or sexism? All discrimination is wrong. There are incredibly talented creatives over 40 and even 50. Should you cast them aside just because they may have a few grey hairs or wrinkles? What is this, “Logan's Run?”

OK, to avoid completely rehashing past posts, MultiCultClassics will respond with topline statements and links.

Q. Which group has most benefited from affirmative action?
A. White women. And this certainly holds true in the advertising industry, where White women are pretty well represented in the majority of departments. Granted, there appears to be a dearth of dames in creative director roles, although the McKinney GCD spotlighted in The Pitch proved female creative honchos do exist. Ironically, the theme of the infamous Neil French rant has seemingly been consistently corroborated by White women—including the McKinney GCD. So when it comes to diversity, White women do not count.

MultiCultClassics does not discriminate against people based solely on their age. Boomers and Old White Guys have been criticized at this blog, but primarily for their outdated attitudes and behaviors, which have little to do with how old they are. BTW, the characters on The Pitch displayed age-related bias by giving the assignment to “younger” staffers. Additionally, MultiCultClassics has noted the hypocrisy of elder adpeople crying ageism now that they are in the cultural crosshairs, despite having spent their careers turning blind eyes and deaf ears while nearly every minority group has faced blatant discrimination in our industry. Former passive bigots are suddenly accusing everyone else of bigotry.

For the record, the barbs directed at the participants on The Pitch were not intended for Tracy Wong. The man is clearly an authentic, relevant leader. On the program, he inspired his team to do their thang, provided direction and resources, and finally supported and promoted their efforts. Take a close look at the performances of the McKinney bigwigs. The GCD didn’t offer a single meaningful contribution, while the CCO clumsily forced himself into the process. They made a point to assign the project to “younger” writers and art directors, and then effectively stifled their creativity. McKinney was lucky to encounter conservative, culturally clueless clients and seal a victory, yet the win doesn’t negate their stupidity. The North Carolina-based shop may succeed on reality TV, but actual reality is probably another story.


Anonymous said...

White anything whether it be old, woman, etc has a clear advantage over black in advertising. Ask any professional what would they rather be, I dont see anybody white people begging for scholarship or bootcamp money. WHite people are established even if their old and suck they stand a better change chance of making it in the industry than black people. Still to this day black AA agencies cant pitch regardless of their talent. So what is that guy complaining about. Heck I know a ton of young black professional would love to swap places with some old white ad professionals any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

Heh. So you explain why it is not slamming "old white guys" by saying it's okay because those "old white guys" "ignored blatant discrimination for years" (or some such wording.)

And you don't even see the irony. Age, white people, and men -- the last safe victims of bigotry.

Also, considerring the numerous "beat-downs," games of "knock-out king," "beat whitey nights" and "polar-bearhunting," perhaps you should expand your mind into the year 2012 and realize that people "of color" get the breaks these days, not white men. (And I'm not a white man; I'm a white woman). My God, our own justice dept. says their job is not to protect white people, and they let the panthers put out a bounty on an "innocent till proven guilty" George Zimmerman!

Oh, well. Stopped by because the idea of your blog sounded interesting on the search engine. But it's like you're living in the 1940's or something. The white man is today's "n1GG3R.

PS. I speak as an "old white woman" ("beneficiary" of AA) whose classroom was taken away from my special ed kids and me in the spring when a new, black teacher was hired. We were told to "float" (go whereever there's an empty room that period) for the rest of the year.

Anonymous said...

Just saw comment above. They don't see whites begging for scholarship money? (What the heck is "bootcamp money"?) Heh. There are many scholarships white aren't even eligible to apply for, but none that are the opposite.

As for blacks not being hired, c'mon...everybody knows corporations and bureaucracies fall all over themselves to prove their "diversity." Why the heck do we see whole industries (government workers, anyone?) made up largely of minorities? We all know that EO employer means that blacks get special treatment in hiring.

Yep, I know I sound angry. But in these days of black panthers wanting to kill "cracker babies" and our AG crhing over "my people," your site is an anachronism.mationtr uidel

Brad Felcher said...

It's me again. I'm the chap who took issue with HighJive's comments on his original post about "The Pitch."

First, I want to apologize for inadvertantly omitting a couple of words here and there from my first post. Bad form on my part.

Secondly, I want to thank HighJive for taking the time to write an intelligent, cogently argued response to my post. Unlike a lot of bloggers who cannot countenance being challenged or contradicted, HighJive is at least willing to listen to people who disagree with him and respond in a calm, reasoned manner.

Unfortunately, as well-written as your response was, HighJive, I still don't buy it.

You say that "MultiCultClassics does not discriminate against people based solely on their age. Boomers and Old White Guys have been criticized at this blog, but primarily for their outdated attitudes and behaviors, which have little to do with how old they are." OK, fine. Then why do you use the word "old" to describe these people? Why not just call them, say, clueless assholes? Wouldn't that be a more apt description? Many "Old White Guys" in this business are indeed clueless assholes. But so are a lot of people who are not old and/or white and/or guys.

The bottom line is, it is simply wrong to discriminate or defame an entire group of people based on the beliefs or behaviors of a few. Such stereotyping is unacceptable whether it's based on age, race, religion, ethnicity or gender.

If you feel your intentions are being misinterpreted, perhaps you should be more precise with your language. Most of us are not mind readers who are able to understand that when you bitch about the outdated, out-of-touch old people you are not realllllly besmirching all old people.

You are right to note that the powers-that-be at McKinney "displayed age-related bias by giving the assignment to 'younger' staffers." And yet, those staffers ended up being just as clueless and creatively bankrupt as the "Old White Guys" you routinely bash. In fact, I doubt that the OWG of your stereotype would have done any worse.

I don't agree that McKinney's GCD and CCO "stifled the creativity" of their young charges. The creatives didn't seem to come up with any worthwhile ideas. True, Cude seemed about as useful as a potted plant. But the closest he seemed to come to "clumsily forcing himself into the process" was when he insisted that the commercial with MC Pancake include shots of the food they were trying to sell. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

You say that you have railed against "the hypocrisy of elder adpeople crying ageism now that they are in the cultural crosshairs, despite having spent their careers turning blind eyes and deaf ears while nearly every minority group has faced blatant discrimination in our industry. Former passive bigots are suddenly accusing everyone else of bigotry."

I would argue that most of the people "crying ageism" are not the ones in charge. Most of them are probably copywriters, art directors, lower-level creative directors, account executives, media planners, etc. who had little or no say over the hiring practices of their agencies. There's only so much room at the top; most people never rise to the executive suite, even if they've been in this business for 20 or 30 years.

Let me say again that it is just as wrong to discriminate against someone because of their age as it is because of their race, religion, gender, ethnic background or sexual preference. What's wrong is wrong. It's that simple. So, to answer the first of the anonymous commenters to this post, that is what I am "complaining" about.

By the way, I completely disagree with the other two anonymous posters on this thread. This "angry white guy/reverse racism" crap is just as tired and untrue as the clueless "Old White Guy" sterotype.

Brad Felcher said...

Sorry for the length of my previous response. I wanted to make two more quick points.

First, in case you were wondering, I may be clueless but I am not old. Well, OK, I'm 32. In HighJive's world, that means it's only a matter of time before the Sandmen are sent out to terminate me.

Secondly, in fairness to both agencies involved in "The Pitch," I have no doubt that the show employed some very selective editing in order to heighten the tension and create drama where perhaps there was none. I've seen some of Jonathan Cude's work and it's damn good. Maybe he really is an oafish, insensitive dolt -- but maybe he isn't. The reality on "The Pitch" is no more real than what we see on "Jersey Shore" or "The Apprentice." Having said that, you have to wonder why media-savvy agencies like Wong Doody and McKinney would involve themselves in such a program in the first place. Surely they knew something like this would happen.

Thanks for indulging my rant, HighJive. If I seem hard on you, it's because I believe that you can do far better than resort to harmful stereoypes in order to make your points.

HighJive said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HighJive said...

Some quick responses to Brad Felcher:

“Old White Guys” is a term coined after hearing countless seasoned, Caucasian males in the industry refer to themselves with the label. It is almost always in the context of a conversation involving diversity, race and/or ethnicity. For example, “I think African Americans probably don’t pursue careers in advertising because they’d prefer to work in fields like music or professional sports—but what do I know, I’m just an Old White Guy.” Always found it interesting that these men were totally cool referring to themselves with the label, but seem to take offense when others use it on them. In some regards, it’s like certain people’s view on the N-word (i.e., “How come rappers can use the word, but White people can’t?”).

You wrote, “The bottom line is, it is simply wrong to discriminate or defame an entire group of people based on the beliefs or behaviors of a few. Such stereotyping is unacceptable whether it's based on age, race, religion, ethnicity or gender.” Agreed. But that doesn’t stop everyone from doing it anyway. And like it or not, White males have been responsible for far more discrimination than any other group. Go do a Google search on “reverse discrimination” for further enlightenment. Or read “Corporate Tribalism” by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis. Then you may get a sense for the positions here.

Never said the McKinney youngsters were more able than others. Never said their efforts were superior to anyone else’s. Never even implied that veteran staffers would have done worse. You’re overreacting and reading signals that just ain’t there.

Cude suddenly realized the spot should feature food? He didn’t mention that from the start? Sounds like he did a lousy job of briefing his people too. His staffer literally told him that “commercializing” viral video figures often leads to weak executions. He pushed his POV anyway, and the resulting commercial was indeed a weak piece of shit. He was out of his area of expertise, but felt the need to exert his authority. That is typical arrogance (no age or gender references being made here).

Disagree with your POV over who is crying ageism. People who are in the business for 20-30 years without hiring authority are pretty rare birds. And even if they do not have hiring authority, they certainly stood silent witnesses to exclusionary hiring practices. BTW, never claimed to have “railed” against anything; rather, it’s been an observation.

Regarding The Pitch, whatever. You wrote, “…Maybe he really is an oafish, insensitive dolt…” Hey, you came to that conclusion all on your own.

Net comment: This blog has never felt the need to explain every comment published to every newcomer. Don’t intend to start now. It’s a little silly to walk into the middle of a long-running conversation and express annoyance at not being clear on the subject matter or intentions of the participants. You wrote, “If I seem hard on you, it’s because I believe that you can do far better than resort to harmful [stereotypes] in order to make your points.” Honestly, what you believe means next to nothing to this blog and its creators.

HighJive said...

To Anonymous (“old white woman”):

You wrote, “But it’s like you’re living in the 1940’s or something.” Actually, MultiCultClassics has consistently contended that our industry operates as if it’s stuck in a pre-Civil Rights Era time warp. So your observation is only off by about a decade.

BTW, “bootcamp money” is a reference to the many patronizing handouts the White majority distributes to minorities in the advertising field.

Finally, your observations about “corporations and bureaucracies” falling over themselves to prove their diversity shows you’re unfamiliar with the advertising industry. This field has been apologizing for its failure to embrace diversity since, well, before the 1940s.

Brad Felcher said...

Disappointed to learn that you are so close-minded, HighJive. Guess old white guys aren't the only ones who are clueless. As for me, I am out of here. I have more productive ways to waste my time than to try to have a debate with someone who feels it's OK to stereotype because everyone else does it. I could take issue with a number of your other observations but what's the point? Your mind is already made up. I wish you continued success with your blog (and, yes, I mean that sincerely, not sarcastically).

Anonymous said...

The last set of people that should be crying about being screwed over are old white men. Look at any client, fortune 500 company or advertising agency, 99% of the people on the board are old and white and male. If anything that should be an advantage. Growing up white in america, I have the advantage of white privilege. If I dont get where I need to be by 40, who's fault is that but my own, especially in advertising.

on a lark said...

"People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?"

–Rodney King, May 1, 1992

Anonymous said...

the the poster calling herself "Old White Woman". If you worked in this industry you would know that there is an AMAZING lack of Black people in advertising. If, as you claim, companies are falling over themselves to show their diversity why has some of the major holding companies, Omnicom, Publicis and WPP, refused to make their EEOC filings public. Refused. Maybe if they did people would see just how bad it really is. Here is a quote from the NYC Comptroller concerning the industry:

In his letter to Omnicom chairman Bruce Crawford, Liu wrote: “I am deeply concerned by the underrepresentation of minorities, particularly African Americans, in the advertising industry. These disparities, which can negatively impact individual companies and their communities, persist despite the many diversity initiatives highlighted by the major advertising firms, including Omnicom Group.”

“I am writing to request that the board of directors adopt a policy requiring Omnicom Group to disclose annually the [EEOC report that] details the composition of the company’s U.S. workforce by race and gender across employment categories.” Liu said such disclosure would allow shareholders to “evaluate and benchmark the effectiveness of the company’s overall effort to recruit, retain and promote minorities and women.”

Liu cited a 2009 study that showed that the “racial disparity is 38% worse in the advertising industry than the overall U.S. labor market.” The same study, Liu noted, also found that black college graduates in the business earn 20% less than their “equally qualified white counterparts.”

Black earn 20% less than their white counterparts. Racial disparities in advertising are 38% worse then the general labor market. But you really think Black people have it better than white??

Really what we see if your own anger and agenda coming out. You'll say the government isn't protecting George Zimmerman but won't say a word about the fact that Trayvon Martin wasn't doing anything but walking home when he was approached and killed by George Zimmerman. Telling omission.

Lady , and I use the term loosely, please spare us any of the "Its hard to be white" bull you're trying to put out there.