Anonymous comments left at the Carl Warner post insist there is an anti-Republican bias at work in the advertising industry.
The person claims that in the past decade, “I can think of maybe six, tops, people I’ve encountered through the years who were professed conservatives. … I’ve been in two creative sessions at two separate, unrelated agencies in the last few weeks where the entire room spent their downtime bashing Republicans and professing their own hipper, more liberal street cred. … Again, spent downtime, break time, stopping work to snack and eat and at the same time discuss how Republicans are bad and horrible because of XYZ and Democrats are so much better and more open-minded because of ABC.”
Gee, the words almost mirror the trials and tribulations experienced by racial and ethnic minorities in the business. It’s easy to imagine dialogue such as, “I can think of maybe six, tops, people I’ve encountered through the years who were Black. … I’ve been in two creative sessions at two separate, unrelated agencies in the last few weeks where the entire room spent their downtime bashing Blacks. … Again, spent downtime, break time, stopping work to snack and eat and at the same time discuss how Blacks are bad and horrible because of XYZ and Whites are so much better and more open-minded because of ABC.”
Yet it all begs the question: Is there a dearth of political conservatism on Madison Avenue?
In 1963, The Journal of Higher Education published “The Right to Fail: Creativity versus Conservatism” by Albert J. Sullivan. In the essay, Sullivan spotlighted the tension between two processes—creativity and conservatism—pulling in different directions. The author wrote, “The one process, toward change, we may characterize as creativity; the other process, resisting change, as conservatism.”
Sullivan’s observations certainly apply to the advertising industry, where writers and art directors (representing creativity) routinely square off with account people (representing conservatism). And conservative creative people are often deemed losers, while creative account people are deemed annoying losers.
Generational components could also be at play. Winston Churchill is quoted as having said something along the lines of, “If you’re not a liberal at twenty, you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at forty, you have no brain.” No need to delve deeper on the implications here, except to note that adpeople have been known to make decisions on work with an eye towards having to pay mortgages and meet other financial obligations associated with life stages.
The items above sorta fly in the face of the contention that conservatives are minorities within advertising agencies. Indeed, they appear to be well represented in our ranks. And if the notion is further elevated to politics—specifically, Democrats and Republicans—it stands to reason that the parties are adequately represented too. Granted, Republican creative directors and Democratic account directors might be oddballs, but it’s a safe bet they exist as well.
In the event that anti-Republicanism is a problem on Madison Avenue, look forward to activists taking action. High schools and colleges will be scoured for young GOP and Tea Party enthusiasts. Political intern programs will be launched. The One Club will introduce “Where Are All The Republicans?” Kat Gordon will invent the “1% Conference” to salute the One Percent among us. And ADCOLOR® will award a special trophy to Black Republicans.