Monday, October 29, 2012

10668: Conservative Conversation Cont’d.

Another anonymous comment left at the follow-up post to the Carl Warner critique inspired new thinking on the alleged dearth of political conservatives in the advertising industry.

If political conservatives really are minorities on Madison Avenue, could there be legitimate explanations for the phenomenon?

Maybe political conservatives are oblivious to the advertising and marketing opportunities available to them. Although their success at branding candidates and causes—as well as the PR efforts implemented by lobbyists for advertisers like the fast food industry—indicates there is a thorough awareness of the field.

Perhaps political conservatives simply aren’t interested in advertising careers, opting for more lucrative jobs with Wall Street, FOX News or NASCAR pit crews.

Advertising honchos consistently insist candidates are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their portfolios. Abstractly applying the notion to political conservatives, unless one’s samples included “It’s morning again in America” or “It’s Halftime in America,” it’s unlikely that affiliations with the right would ever hinder a hiring decision—or even come up during an interview.

Then again, political conservatives may indeed be facing discrimination on Madison Avenue. The industry has certainly shown a propensity for unfair treatment towards anybody outside of the status quo. So it’s completely possible that adpeople are refusing to acknowledge the Republican elephant in the room.

Yet while illegal and bad behavior is blatantly directed at individuals based on race, ethnicity, gender, lifestyle, religion and age, has anyone witnessed improprieties targeting political conservatives? Can’t think of any lawsuits brought against agencies and holding companies by Tea Party members. And Carl Warner is not a very convincing poster child for the movement, as there’s little evidence that his career has suffered because of his voting record.

Somebody should just ask Mitt Romney to promise to create more advertising jobs for political conservatives if he’s elected president.


KS_Tophat said...

I kind of see the definite overlap between religion and political beliefs when I think back to specific examples over the last year:

Young creative trying to break into industry, graduate from religiously affiliated college, advised to take very creative documentary style talking head work off reel because it had to do with missionaries and that wasn't going to fly at an agency if she really wanted to get hired anywhere

Older freelance producer who spent early career at notorious conservative outlet 20 years ago told to never mention that he worked there, much less for multiple years, because it could seriously limit his chances of getting hired

Established copywriter who has degree in English from LDS university, simply takes any mention of degree off resume because of so many negative comments through the years.

Junior agency hire who spent 2 years as promo writer/producer at conservative TV network learns to never mention that out loud because new supervisors use it as a common tagline for jokes, not knowing he worked there. In theory he should speak up, in practice cannot afford to lose job or health insurance at delicate time.

Young director, named as up and coming director to watch by industry publication because of very unique visual style, has reel of work he can show slashed in half because multiple agencies tell his rep, hush hush, not to show the missionary related stuff, ever.

Agency receptionist told to take rosary off of car mirror in parking lot or park elsewhere because it could offend clients

Midlevel person quietly asks to be taken off pharm account that directly clashes with religious beliefs, turns into butt of loud jokes around the office questioning sexuality, tagged as bigot.

HighJive said...


Thanks for the comment. A lot of the examples you listed have to do more with relevancy versus political or religious context. Like it or not, many employers today seek instant relevancy and/or direct experience (i.e., Need someone to work on a car account? Employer wants to see car samples.).


• Young creative trying to break into industry advised to remove documentary about missionaries. That was bad advice, unless it’s all he/she had to show. If he/she positioned it as an additional project and showed the relevance (e.g., storytelling, filmmaking, interviewing, etc.), it should not be a problem.

• Freelance producer probably needs not reference a 20-year-old job unless it has relevance. Not clear what you meant by “notorious conservative”—does that mean working for Billy Graham or Zimmerman? Either one could be detrimental, while one is religious-based and the other is simply a lousy shop. Again, relevancy is the key.

• Regarding the LDS University reference, if the copywriter really believes he/she has been nixed from jobs for that reason, he/she definitely has grounds for a discrimination complaint. Sad if it’s true. Have known many people in the business with degrees in religious theology and divinity studies. No one gave a damn if they could come up with breakthrough ideas.

• Regarding the “telling of jokes” associated with a conservative TV network, that constitutes a discriminatory workplace (provided “conservative” means religious, and the jokes are bashing a religion).

• If the agencies suggested deleting the missionary work because of relevancy reasons, no problem. If it’s for religious reasons, the agencies are displaying clear bias. Have you visited agency websites recently, and viewed their careers sections? Almost every agency labels itself as an equal opportunity employer. Plus, so many agencies do pro bono work for save-the-children causes, so the missionary work might actually be relevant in specific scenarios.

• Receptionist may have grounds for discrimination complaint if she felt keeping rosary displayed would lead to job loss or some type of reprimand. Sounds ridiculous, as many agency employees wear crosses, Star of David, etc.

• Anyone who asks off of a pharma account should be applauded. But seriously, this person also may have grounds for a discrimination complaint, depending upon the exact nature of his/her request, as well as the subsequent harassment.

Net comment: No one should have to tolerate illegal discrimination. And to be clear, Carl Warner was discussing political conservatism, not religion. Thanks again for the comment.