Diverted Diversity was the theme for 2015. After all, the past year saw the most progress for diversity in decades—albeit exclusively benefitting White women. Yes, the oh-so-awful plight of White women to achieve equality in the advertising industry is finally being addressed. Shattering the glass ceiling has become, well, sexy. You go, girl! Go ahead and create diversions to take the ever-dimming spotlight off racial and ethnic discrimination in our field.
AMV BBDO Group Chairman-CEO Cilla Snowball diverted diversity by stressing the imperative to fight sexism and ageism—completely ignoring racism.
CES 2015 digitally diverted diversity by showing “the smartest people in the room” are predominately White women.
Y&R combined Diverted&Diversity with its White woman appointment.
Deutsch diverted diversity with its White women succession success.
Kat Gordon diverted diversity with a fumble for the Super Bowl. The woman is fast becoming the Queen of Diversity Diversion, with certifiably nutty ideas. Honestly, how many women of color have advanced through 3% Conference efforts? Probably less than three.
Ogilvy New York diverted diversity by finding a qualified White woman in their own hallways.
Japanese-owned Dentsu diverted diversity, bypassing Asian for Caucasian.
Why, diverting diversity is getting redundant at times.
OgilvyOne diverted diversity with one round of promotions.
PHD Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Frances Ralston-Good diverted diversity via some not-so-good advice to White women.
Business Insider diverted diversity by saluting White women in creative departments.
Is anything more annoying than a White woman diverting diversity by complaining about the gender pay gap while openly acknowledging minorities are even worse off than White women? How about a White woman diverting diversity by griping about the insulting ways White women are depicted in advertising, seemingly oblivious to the fact that minorities are stereotyped in worse ways—in the few instances when they’re depicted at all? Or another White woman diverting diversity by imploring White women to band together for greater White dominance?
Adweek diverted diversity and celebrated the rash of White women hired as Chief Creative Officers, including a laughable quote from Y&R NYC CCO Leslie Sims: “Diversity of any kind on an agency leadership team is a real advantage. And given that there’s such a wide array of clients and even a broader diversity of consumers, making sure you have a mixture of perspective is really important.” A peek at the People page of Y&R’s website clearly shows the “real advantage” is essentially White privilege.
White men diverted diversity by jumping on the White women bandwagon, inspired by daughters, Glass Lions, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and Caitlyn Jenner. Plus, the ever-culturally-clueless Sir John Hegarty chimed in to declare, “There is no glass ceiling in our industry.” The old man also presented a semi-polite version of the Neil French perspective.
As the year progressed, White women continued to divert diversity through their words and actions. Susan Credle moved from diversity-averting Leo Burnett to diversity-delinquent FCB. JWT Creative Kat Thomas claimed she’s thrived in the advertising industry as a White woman because she sorta acts like a White man. Saatchi & Saatchi London CCO Kate Stanners wrote, “How to be a chief creative officer,” ultimately demonstrating how to be a CCO—a culturally clueless oaf. Newly appointed Wunderman CMO Jamie Gutfreund proved White women are just as capable of spewing mindless gobbledygook as White men. FCB Global Chief Talent Officer Cynthia Augustine ripped Raven-Symoné while exhibiting extraordinary ignorance.
Havas Chicago diverted diversity by bragging over its White gender equality. SapientNitro diverted diversity by bragging over its program to help White women return from extended time away—yet offered no schemes to recruit and retain minorities. Digiday diverted diversity by predicting holding companies will make diversity a priority in 2016. Hate to keep hammering the same point, but the holding companies aren’t even publicizing EEO-1 data.
PepsiCo Global Beverage Group President Brad Jakeman diverted diversity when ripping advertising agencies for being too White and male—despite the fact that Jakeman still conspires with White shops. Jakeman later jumped on the White women bandwagon.
DDB prefers Coke versus Pepsi, diverting diversity by poaching Wendy Clark from The Coca-Cola Company.
Finally, BBDO New York President and CEO John Osborn wished he will divert diversity in 2016. And he’ll probably do it—along with the rest of the advertising industry.