Tuesday, February 26, 2008

5164: Until The Boomers Die 2.

The Advertising Age online poll spotlighted last week inevitably yielded expected results. Adage.com visitors were asked, “Do you think special consideration must be made for Millennials entering the workplace?” As the chart above indicates, 20 percent said yes, while 80 percent voted no.

Of course, it’s impossible to draw real conclusions, as it’s unclear who actually responded. Nonetheless, the final tally doesn’t speak favorably for an industry attempting to create diversity.

As MultiCultClassics has sought to recognize, multiculturalism goes beyond race and ethnicity. Recent events have shown growing micro-segmentation based on gender, sexual orientation, faith, location, age and more. Additionally, professional insiders have admitted successful diversity tactics must include hiring and retention.

Unfortunately, Madison Avenue continues to plod along with its outdated attitudes and practices. It’s almost as if people resist the notion that a contemporary workforce demands radical change—or at least radical for old-school managers. Leaders in the 21st century must find ways to keep a variety of staffers motivated and happy. The Borg-like belief that assimilation is the way to go—and resistance is futile—simply doesn’t fly.

It’s bad enough that agencies have failed to retain minorities. Can we afford to lose the coming generations of Whites too?

It’s just another issue to consider until the Boomers die.

MultiCultClassics presents a new feature that will appear here regularly (based on visitors’ and editors’ interest): Until The Boomers Die.

Until The Boomers Die will explore events and issues relevant to the multiple generations currently inhabiting the advertising industry.

Contrary to the title implications, this is not necessarily a rant on Baby Boomers. Rather, we recognize that Boomers still maintain a great deal of control in the field. And since most of them are decades away from retirement, it’s inevitable that they must be dealt with daily.

The essays comprising the series will explore ways for all the generations to “get along” in our ever-evolving industry.


HustleKnocker said...


Do you know many African Americans in the 45-65 year range that consider themselves to be Baby Boomers?

In all my years of working, all the clients that wanted to target boomers never considered casting or referring to consumers of color who fit the boomer demo...

HighJive said...

well, regardless of what they consider themselves to be, the majority of folks running black agencies are boomers.

aarp definitely targets black boomers.

HighJive said...

btw, boomers running black agencies is a topic for a later post.

HustleKnocker said...

cool. will check for it. and yeah, i gotta agree--not many folks under 50 of any ethnicity--running ethnic shops.

not sure if that's a good or bad thing, to be honest.

the diversity of thinking isn't much these days...

oh well... at least we don't have to wear jeans, blazers and cowboy boots anymore.

Alan Wolk said...

Dunno HJ - it's kind of a loaded question - that's the thing with polls, the wording of the question leads you towards a specific answer.

I mean if they had asked "Do you think special consideration must be made for Gen-X Africa-American Bloggers in the workplace?" you yourself might have said "no."

And given all the press about how 20somethings expect to be coddled in the workplace, I assume that's what most people read into the question: "Do you think we should let the juniors go home early because it might make them cranky if we ask them to stay late?"

@Mr. H: "at least we don't have to wear jeans, blazers and cowboy boots anymore."-- that's great. I definitely remember those days- back when I first started... you ever notice how many of the guys who came of age in that time period still cling to the boots/blazer/jean dress code? But then I suspect many of our cohort will be wearing ironic t-shirts well into their 50s.

HighJive said...


Agreed that the question is messy. But I was basing it on a previously published Ad Age article about managing Millennials, presuming that Ad Age was essentially asking if people agreed with the author’s suggestions. Click on the opening link in this post for details. The press about Millennials being slackers is really bullshit. The truth is, every generation has its slackers, but no generation is predominately comprised of slackers.

HighJive said...

One more thing, Toad. I think you’re also tapping into part of my point. That is, lousy managers make bad assumptions and stereotype staffers. I believe these lousy managers would decide “special consideration” meant preferential or exclusive pampering. But the truth is, a contemporary manager must provide special consideration to a host of different staffers. Over the years, I’ve had to give special consideration to pregnant women, people who wanted to spend more time with their families, people with personal problems, people with specific faiths, etc. Few of these people were Millennials. The more diverse our staffs become, the more imperative it will be to provide special consideration. On a side note, I’ve found the older workers to be less willing to stay late (“We’ve paid our dues—and we need to get home to watch Wheel of Fortune.”).

HustleKnocker said...

ah, nothing like an ironic tee... brady bunch characters, speed racer faces... some kurt effin' cobain reference.

i would say this: left ot its own devices the industry either excludes "black gen x-ers" or simply uses phrases like "gen x-ers" then assumes that white gen x-ers speak for everybody.

it's a total cluster eff. still.