Monday, June 25, 2007

Essay 4100

This is admittedly a routine rant at MultiCultClassics, but it always makes for an easy essay.

Whenever the topic of diversity in advertising comes up, an angry mob of adfolks quickly rallies. The unruly horde bitterly complains about the prospect of quota hiring. Vicious slurs are hurled at Rev. Jesse Jackson—even when he’s not remotely involved in the scenario. The throng whines that sacred selection standards will be lowered, and slots will be awarded to lesser-qualified candidates.

Exactly what industry do these idiots think they’re in?

Anyone who has spent the shortest stint in advertising can readily attest that jobs are handed out for all sorts of inane reasons. And things like expertise and ability rarely factor into the final decisions.

Here’s an abridged lineup of stereotypical characters that effortlessly land Madison Avenue positions ahead of minorities:

• Children of Agency Executives. The crazy part is, most of these slackers don’t want the gigs, as they often despise being associated with their parents. The pitiful kids bide their time—occasionally selling drugs to staffers—until Mom or Pops can find them a real job.

• Children of Clients. Most of these kids do want the gigs, but they’re woefully ill-suited for the field. In fact, they’re usually just one intellectual rung below the average Special Olympian. Pray for the people assigned to mentor these clueless critters.

• Children of Somebody’s Neighbor. That’s right, virtual nobodies win a place in line before minorities.

• Family Members (including Extended Family Members). Nepotism trumps racism.

• Mistresses. Certain admen with hiring authority are bona fide pimps. Nuff said.

• Boy Toys. It’s equal-opportunity time for the ladies.

• Buddies. Let’s get real. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Unfortunately, the recruited buddy is scarcely ever a stellar performer. Ditto the recruiting buddy. But since agencies dislike paying headhunter fees—and HR officers are too lazy to actively search—companies eagerly settle for any warm body to fill a cubicle.

• Ex-clients. You hated them as clients. You’ll absolutely hate them as teammates.

• Outsiders. Some senior-level jackass hatches the notion that a washed-up punk rocker or sketch comedy writer will inject innovation. Bonus points if these freaks have access to hot groupies.

• Nomadic Poison. These drifters-grifters are becoming increasingly common as new media emerges. They tend to be charlatans who hype and hustle cutting-edge ideas, but never manage to execute anything of value.

• Mercy Hires. The former partner struggling to adapt in the evolving marketplace and recovering from a dependency problem warrants a nod instead of minorities. Mercy Hires spend their days poring over tutorials for QuarkXPress.

It’s guaranteed that anti-diversity adfolks can identify numerous professional peers from the list above. Hell, a lot of the groaners may fall into the infamous categories. But honestly, can they spot a single “quota hire” in their hallways?

If you want to slam controversial roster choices on Madison Avenue, let’s begin by thoroughly examining the existing processes.


Anonymous said...

HJ: This is my favorite post of yours yet. You totally nailed the hiring process. (Though here in NYC, "boy toys" are usually the province of gay male execs, not female ones.)

There's also the "Funky Foreigner" - the guy who was hot shit in Sao Paulo or Mumbai that they bring in to show how truly "global" they are in their thinking. He does a bunch of visual puns that nobody gets and walks around mumbling about how Americans are all idiots.

But seriously- you should expand this a little and try and sell it to one of the ad trades (Creativity, maybe) - I think you'd have a ready audience.

HustleKnocker said...

this is hot! and very true. too true for words.

RFB said...

I think I figured out the solution: Minorities can take advantage of this twisted hiring scheme by FIRST becoming

Mistresses, Boy Toys, Buddies, etc - then they are a shoe-in.

If all else fails, and as Toad points out, agencies love the Funky Foreigner. Fake an English accent and you're gold.

HustleKnocker said...

i just re-read this one. i am now officially convinced that we've worked at at least 4 of the same shops together. lol!

HustleKnocker said...

im gonna work on my french accent. i'm mistaken from north african on occassion anyway.

Anonymous said...

This one is better thanb mine because you nailed all the types.

“the average Special Olympian.”

“Oh, snap!” as the kids would say these days.