Thursday, November 12, 2009

7239: The Marcus Graham Project Explained.

Advertising Age presents a nice video featuring Lincoln Stephens discussing The Marcus Graham Project.

Eddie Murphy’s Long-Term Effect on Ad Agency Diversity
Story of Dallas’ Marcus Graham Project

NEW YORK ( — How is Eddie Murphy playing a role in a new push to diversify ad agencies? Former agency account exec Lincoln Stephens is both an example and an evangelist of the “Boomerang” effect. A year ago Stephens abruptly quit his Chicago agency job, moved back to his hometown of Dallas and, on a shoestring budget, launched a program to recruit, train and motivate talented young African Americans for advertising agency jobs. Execs at The Richards Group, Imaginuity, Tracy Locke and other Dallas organizations volunteered to mentor participants in his first boot camp sessions.


Anonymous said...

the writing is on the wall. Its very obvious that these gm agencies have a very deep problem with diversity especially at the mid-senior level. Lincoln means well, kudos to him, but unless u can get minorities to mid level or more senior these projects just qualify as another forms of internships.

HustleKnocker said...

Agree with Anonymous. But I appreciate Lincoln's efforts nonetheless. The problem is bigger than MGP or even AdColor. The issue is that the industry expects progress to be made in spite of itself, not because of.

HighJive said...

Anonymous and HustleKnocker,

Openly admit my cynicism trumps yours. At the same time, there is something original about the MGP overall. It has potential beyond programs like Adversity or MAIP, which are more focused on recruiting youth. The fact that the “fellowship” is literally predominately comprised of Black professionals sends a signal that mid- and senior-level talent exists. If agencies are actively seeking mid- and senior-level Black executives, they should consider connecting with the 120+ MGP collective, versus just viewing the effort as a youth recruitment program. Additionally, agencies can minimally make amends for their own diversity inaction by financially supporting the MGP.

HustleKnocker said...

agreed. i hope the MGP gets support. maybe it goes directly to brands and farms itself out some sort of controlled crowdsourcing thing for specific projects to sustain itself.


but it's way better than most of the crap being done now.