Advertising Age drove the divertsity dirigible over CES 2018, delivering final dings and dents to the beleaguered event. Displaying disdain for the dearth of dames, Recode Executive Editor Kara Swisher snapped, “I cannot believe we have to fucking do this, people.” Swisher appears to be a graduate of the Cindy Gallop school of public speaking.
Meanwhile, HP CMO Antonio Lucio pumped up the patronizing posturing by initially tweeting, “All men should boycott @CES if women are not invited to speak!” And if racial and ethnic minorities are not invited to speak, well, Lucio will worry about that some other time—preferably in the next century.
Ad Age reported how Lucio “challenged [HP’s White advertising agencies] by setting goals for the inclusion of women and minorities,” but he doesn’t think a similar approach is right for CES. “I don’t know whether quotas is the answer to this,” said Lucio. “Because I think that it should also start with what are the objectives of the conference?” Lucio suggested identifying the best people to actually deliver the conference message. “Add a filter that says, my god, if women are a key consumer, we at least have some level of representation.” Okay, to be clear, Lucio allowed his White ad agencies to dictate their own terms for achieving divertsity, which is like permitting convicted felons to decide their own sentences. And when the exclusive shops failed to hit the racial and ethnic targets, Lucio essentially shrugged and vomited the standard excuses. Oh, and somebody tell Lucio that Blacks and Latinos are key consumers of technology too.
Lucio also allegedly spoke with CES organizers and declared, “I was very encouraged by their commitment to making sure that yes, diversity becomes one, not the, but one of the filters for selecting speakers in the conference. I’m actually very encouraged by their reaction and I hope by next year we have a conference that has some representations from amazing women.” This is essentially what Lucio communicated after charging his White advertising agencies to get onboard the White women’s bandwagon. And if CES 2019 features more minority waitstaff and janitors, mission accomplished.
“If it’s about the future of technology, how can you envision the future in which half the population isn’t represented at the leadership level?” wondered Sonos CMO Joy Howard. “That’s not a future we want to be a part of.” Of course, Howard—along with Lucio, Swisher and the other divertsity defenders—is completely cool envisioning the future of technology being void of colored people.