Friday, February 08, 2008

5096: If You Build It, They Will Come…

From, here’s a story on the latest effort to bring diversity to the advertising industry. Will Ron Berger serve as high school principal, with Michael Roth assuming the superintendent role? Sounds like a cross between Fame, The White Shadow and Welcome Back, Kotter.

Advertising High School to Open in Brooklyn
Organizers Hope School Will Inspire Minority Youth to Seek Careers in Advertising

By Megan McIlroy

NEW YORK -- Welcome to Brooklyn’s Advertising High.

The borough that gave rise to some of the biggest careers in the ad business is now the official home of a new advertising high school. The New York City Department of Education has approved the High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media. It will be located on the campus of Canarsie High School in Brooklyn and is expected to be up and running by September 2008.

The school is the realization of a four-year effort by city government officials, including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and ad execs like Ron Berger, CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide, and Michael Roth, chairman-CEO of the Interpublic Group of Cos., both Brooklyn natives.

Plans for the school were announced in September during Advertising Week.

Hope for more diversity
Organizers hope the school will hook young minorities on a career in advertising, which has long been criticized for its lack of diversity. Making young people see the relevance of advertising to their lives will be an important part of that goal, Mr. Berger said.

“It’s an industry that should have tremendous appeal to a diverse audience,” he said. “It involves pop culture, music, celebrity, sports … and if you look at young people and the high school population, these are the influences in their lives.”

A committee chaired by Rick Boyko, former chief creative officer of WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather North America and the current director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Ad Center, is currently advising on the school’s curriculum.

Next on the agenda: recruit the class of 2012.

“[We] want people who have a curiosity, an open mind, and an innate interest in the things that influence advertising,” said Mr. Berger, “Our goal will be to build on that and to teach them how to make it into advertising.”

One more MultiCultClassics comment: Yo, Berger, this story shows kids that the easiest way to blow up in advertising involves first becoming a hip hop artist.

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