Sunday, October 02, 2016

13379: MIA—Missing In ADCOLOR®.

Campaign published a perspective from Squeaky Wheel Media Founder and President Anthony Del Monte, who spanked advertisers and advertising agencies for failing to show up at the latest ADCOLOR® soiree. MultiCultClassics has already commented on the apathy that ADCOLOR® inspires, which is as much the fault of the conference/event/thingy organizers as the alleged leaders who don’t bother to attend. Take a look at the ADCOLOR® Partnership Guide, which seems to indicate monetary contributions trump commitment to the cause. And the contributions are crumbs compared to the sums White advertising agencies typically pay for award shows like Cannes. Surely Del Monte must realize his words are falling on deaf, delegated, diverted and disinterested ears. In this case, the squeaky wheel is literally and figuratively not getting attention.

The changing face of our industry is missing a few players

By Anthony Del Monte

It’s great that clients have taken an interest in agency diversity. It would be better if they bothered showing up to AdColor, says one agency CEO

I remember feeling optimistic earlier this month when HP demanded its advertising and public relations agencies ramp up diversity by hiring more minorities and women. It was right after General Mills issued actual quotas to its ad agencies, telling them that creative departments must be staffed by at least 50% women and 20% people of color.

So I couldn’t help but be disappointed to find they weren’t out in force — or present at all, actually—at a multiday gathering with just one purpose: recognizing and learning from professionals of color and diversity champions in the creative industry.

Last week was the 10th anniversary of the AdColor Conference & Awards. Shockingly few brands were present. To echo Campaign US’ own editor, you should have been there.

Maybe it’s because I’m the owner of an MWBE, or because I’m a sucker for authenticity, but I can confidently say that AdColor is singularly the most “human” conference that I’ve attended in my 25 years in this business. No industry event is as void of pretense and ego. And that’s not due to a lack of superstars in the room.

Trust me, if Bozoma Saint John — Apple’s global marketing leader for iTunes and Beats, who stars in a new ad alongside James Corden — can find the time to show up, then you can carve out a few days in your calendar, too.

The balance of Futures and pioneers in the same room created a sense of commitment to making our companies more diverse. Rarely will you attend an event that allows a newbie access to the likes of Luis Carr, president of media sales at BET; John Seifert, chairman and CEO of Ogilvy Worldwide; Pamela Stewart, VP of national retail sales at the Coca-Cola Company, entrepreneur and influencer Tai Beauchamp; Lucinda Martinez, SVP of multicultural marketing at HBO and other industry leaders who were committed and engaged. These executives understand that giving their time to rising stars will pay dividends to the fully integrated future that they want — the future that we all should want.

To all the brands and agencies that didn’t show up: Your absence was almost insulting given how much time you spend “talking the talk.” By not walking it, you missed the opportunity to interact with the people who will better help define your message to all, particularly the people of color, LGBT, disabled and women, who make up the majority of your market’s buying potential.

If there was one encouraging aspect to the attendance at AdColor, it was the presence of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo and Twitter. Silicon Valley has long been criticized as a big offender when it comes to diversity, but they too now appear to be eclipsing the marketing world when it comes to making strides for minorities and women.

The bottom line is that diversity is not a black thing, Latino thing, Asian thing, LGBT thing or white thing. It’s an American thing. Diversity is the fabric of our country and it should be the fabric of your brand or agency.

You can’t change the makeup of your workforce unless you actively participate, and sitting out the most important diversity event on the calendar doesn’t help. Forget Cannes and all the “people-watching” and chugging bottles of rosé on the Carlton terrace. Don’t go to AdColor to be a part of the “it-crowd” or as an excuse to be seen. Go to experience a free flow of participation, engagement and advocacy.

In the words of the award-winning blogger and activist Luvvie Ajayi (who did show up), “LISTEN.” Because by not being present, you simply can’t hear.

1 comment:

EnNuebaYol said...

I feel like a bunch of us in the Latin@ community knew for a long time that Adcolor wasn't a legit event.

It was only like 2, 3 years ago that anyone even noticed that the organizers had never included Latin@s at all through the years. And I mean AT ALL.

Like, hosting events in cities that had 30, 40% Latin@ population, and 0% on the Adcolor stage. Nobody invited, nobody from the Hispanic ad community looped in whatsoever.

So it was pretty apparent that it was for look's sake and not meant to change anything in advertising from the start. I wonder what's going to happen now that the trades are starting to notice nobody with any pull really goes to it, or has for years.

Will the board of directors actually have to create a legitimate event now instead of the big personal party they've been treating it as?