Thursday, January 31, 2013

10948: Volkswagen Bugs People.

The New York Daily News reported on the controversy surrounding a new Volkswagen commercial featuring non-Jamaican people speaking with Jamaican accents. New York Times columnist Charles Blow declared it was “like blackface with voices.” The German carmaker defended itself by revealing it had consulted 100 Jamaicans during production and hired a speech coach to ensure authenticity. Perhaps the most peculiar critique came from culturally clueless Curator of Popular Culture Barbara Lippert, who appeared on the TODAY Show and hollered, “This is so racist. … It’s just saying, ‘Black people are happy.’” Huh? Guess all of Lippert’s years in the advertising industry didn’t expose her to any happy Blacks. Oddly enough, in a 2007 Adweek column, Lippert took no offense to the revival of Uncle Ben.

Volkswagen Super Bowl ad provokes intense criticism: ‘blackface with voices’

The ire comes from the use of a heavy Jamaican accent by a white office worker, who tells his disgruntled colleagues, ‘No worries, man, everything will be alright.’


A Volkswagen ad slated to air during the Super Bowl this Sunday is getting criticized for being racist.

The controversial ad features a jovial white office worker speaking to disgruntled colleagues with a thick Jamaican accent.

The spot has already elicited intense criticism with one prominent essayist calling the ad, “blackface with voices.”

In the one-minute advertisement, which is thought to have cost the carmaker $8 million for the airtime, a group of unhappy employees are shown standing in an elevator complaining about it being Monday.

Behind them, a young, spirited, white employee turns to them and says, “no worries, man, everything will be alright,” in a heavy Jamaican accent.

In another scene, an annoyed worker is seen pounding at a vending machine.

The man tells him, “Don’t fret, my brother, sticky bun come soon,” again in the Jamaican accent.

At one point a confused colleague confirms that the employee is, in fact, from Minnesota. “Yessa, the land of 10,000 lakes. The Gopher State,” he responds in the accent.

At the end of the spot, the man is seen driving away from the office in his Volkswagen car with two of his colleagues, who upon arriving at their destination, spout similarly optimistic phrases in the same Jamaican accent.

The ad prompted a barrage of critics to accuse Volkswagen of being racist.

“This is so racist,” Barbara Lippert, editor-at-large of, said on TODAY. “It’s just saying, ‘Black people are happy.’”

And during a segment on CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien, columnist Charles Blow said the ad was “like blackface with voices. I don’t like that.”

For its part Volkswagen representatives told CNN that the company consulted with 100 Jamaicans and a speech coach to make sure they weren’t being offensive.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

10947: Super Bowl Offensive Karma.

In 2011, MultiCultClassics successfully predicted the NBA Finals winner by utilizing the Offensive Karma formula. Specifically, Offensive Karma is defined by a team’s display of offensiveness in the form of words or actions rooted in bigotry, discrimination and ignorance—which then leads to the team’s ultimate demise in a championship tourney. So let’s apply the notion to Super Bowl XLVII to determine which squad will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday.

So far, San Francisco has a slight Offensive Karma edge, with 49ers backup cornerback Chris Culliver making homophobic remarks. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco tried to counter by calling the decision to play the next Super Bowl outdoors in New York “retarded.”

There are still a few days—and press conferences featuring Randy Moss and Ray Lewis—remaining to heat things up. Stay tuned, sports fans.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

10946: Admen And Cavemen.

At Advertising Age, The Brownstein Group President and CEO Marc Brownstein typed a column titled, “What Do We Do With Out-of-Date Advertising Professors?” The subhead reads, “Colleges Need to Find Ways to Offer a State-of-the-Art Experience”—and Brownstein argued that instructors were not keeping up with cutting-edge industry trends. Okay, but a more pressing question is, “What Do We Do With Out-of-Date Advertising Professionals?” After all, the hackneyed dinosaurs on Madison Avenue far outnumber the collegiate cavemen.

Monday, January 28, 2013

10945: Stoute Nabs Exec Of The Year.

Translation Founder-CEO Steve Stoute was named Executive of the Year by Advertising Age. While Stoute’s accomplishments have been acknowledged here, the honor would gain greater value if Translation boasted a portfolio of original and outstanding work. Time will tell.

Translation Founder-CEO Steve Stoute Is Ad Age’s Executive of the Year

Former Music Exec’s ‘Outsider’ Perspective Is Highly Appealing to Clients

By Maureen Morrison

Steve Stoute might never have been in the ad business if it weren’t for space aliens.

When he helmed the urban divisions at Sony Music Entertainment and Interscope Geffen A&M Records in the early ‘90s—in the days when the music industry was still pumping out a profit—Mr. Stoute made a name for himself as a record exec, forging tight bonds with hip-hop artists and rappers. Changing careers wasn’t a consideration until one day in 1997, shortly after the release of the popular science-fiction-comedy flick “Men in Black.”

Mr. Stoute observed that the sunglasses worn by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were experiencing a surge in sales after the movie. “Everyone thought it was a coincidence, and I was like, ‘This isn’t a coincidence,’” said Mr. Stoute. “I just felt like there was an opportunity in the ad business, because clients’ ads were isolated from what was truly happening in culture.”

That sparked a newfound passion in the ad world for Mr. Stoute. While it was a leap from his entertainment background, the two fields have plenty of similarities when you consider the root of success for both: finding creative ways to penetrate the pop-culture conversation; confidence in your strategic recommendations; and a ton of connections.

Mr. Stoute checks all three of those boxes with ease.

“In the beginning, I thought they were really different,” said Mr. Stoute, a Queens native born to Trinidadian immigrants. But the more time he’s spent on Madison Avenue, the more he’s recognized similarities. “The ad business has some of the great artists, but because there are so many, it’s hard to determine the true gems. …But when you find out there is that core group [of talent], it reminds me of the record business.”

In his early days dabbling in marketing, he worked with the polarizing Peter Arnell, then at Arnell Group. From there, he set out on his own to launch a multicultural agency called Translation in 2004. Interpublic Group of Cos. bought into the model and backed him until 2011, when Mr. Stoute bought back his shares—which coincided with a decision to broaden the agency’s remit and morph Translation into a general-market agency.

You could say he’s the new-school John McGarry; it seems an impossible challenge to find someone in the agency world with a cellphone speed dial as impressive as that of Steve Stoute’s. His partner in Translation is the most-famous rapper in the world, Jay-Z; he produced Eminem’s debut album; he’s the former manager of Mary J. Blige and has worked with Lady Gaga; he was behind the McDonald’s “I’m Loving It” campaign with Justin Timberlake; and paired Wrigley with Chris Brown for a “Doublemint” jingle.

It’s not unusual to hear a rapper such as Nas or J. Cole drop his name in one of their songs. Mr. Stoute knows a bit about the fabulous life too; when not at a meeting with one of his clients, which include State Farm or Coca-Cola, he can be found out in Brooklyn at a Nets game, jetting to his weekend home in the Bahamas, or getting serenaded with “Happy Birthday” in front of thousands at U.K.’s Glastonbury music festival by Beyonce.

Mr. Stoute’s “outsider” perspective—and his ability to travel in circles that most agency execs aren’t invited into—is highly appealing to many clients.

“The fact that he, from a career standpoint, came up outside of the ad business, I think he tends to think [about marketing problems] differently,” said Paul Chibe, VP-U.S. marketing at A-B InBev. “A lot of the traditional framework of having come up in a big network shop—he’s not encumbered by that. It permits some very creative ideas to come from him and his agency, because they’re not necessarily thinking about it in a way that a big shop would be thinking about it.”

Translation was behind the idea to launch Budweiser’s Made in America music festival. Held last summer in Philadelphia, the event is a physical manifestation of Mr. Stoute’s philosophy that brands must be able to speak in one voice to younger, multicultural demographics.

His philosophy on marketing and culture was laid out in his 2011 book, “The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy,” which essentially details how urban and hip-hop culture became mainstream culture, defining how millennials view the world. To use his own words, no longer does your ethnicity predetermine your cultural values. In other words, multiple cultures are the new general market.

The book has helped him define a personal brand in the marketing world, while the strategy has helped win accounts. In 2012, the agency grew its revenue 60% and increased its head count from 70 to more than 120 employees in New York and Chicago, with work from clients like McDonald’s State Farm and A-B InBev getting general-market play. Picking up the Bud Light creative account, which was at McGarryBowen, shows that big marketers increasingly have faith in Mr. Stoute and his agency.

He’s shown he can earn their trust, but now the challenge for Mr. Stoute is proving Translation is capable of producing work that’s just as good as that of great creative agencies like Wieden & Kennedy, BBDO or CP&B.

“Entertainment is so sexy that people only pay attention to that,” said Mr. Stoute. “But I think our strategy department is the best in the industry. The thinking in our agency never gets the credit it deserves because we have a celebrity. We are first and foremost a strategic and creative shop. And second, we have a Rolodex in entertainment and sports that’s unique in the industry.”

As the founder of Translation, Mr. Stoute is tied up in the identity of the agency, but he’s spending more time recruiting talent, such as Chief Creative Officer Chris Cereda and Chief Strategy Officer John Greene. Still, he appears to have no intention of leaving anytime soon.

“I do think the business can run without me, but I don’t even spend time on that thought because I’m running the business. But we have a talented group of execs that makes me look good.”

Sunday, January 27, 2013

10944: Happy Vajayjay Day.

Will Summer’s Eve and The Richards Group please end this pathetic campaign already? Don’t forget to keep your vajayjay minty fresh on Valentine’s Day, ladies!

10943: Automotive Diversity Scorecard B.S.

Target Market News reported Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, along with Citizenship Education Fund, surveyed automakers on benchmarks and best practices related to diversity. The Automotive Diversity Scorecard presented stoplight ratings as follows:

Green: Best Practices automotive company for ethnic diversity. Companies that provided full disclosure of goals, initiatives and dollar investments with some accountability and growth.

Yellow: Some indication of ethnic diversity evident. Dollar investments, key figures and other scorecard factors undisclosed.

Red: Diversity initiatives and investments well below the norm. Did not provide enough relevant information for scoring. Did not submit a completed questionnaire.

In the category of Advertising, the grades were as follows:

Green: Ford, Toyota, General Motors and Chrysler

Yellow: BMW, Honda and Volkswagen

Red: Subaru, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia and Mercedes Benz (Mercedes Benz did not respond to the survey)

Really? Jackson must have been grading on quite a curve to award Green to any car corporation. If the automakers’ AORs were part of the computations, the ratings system would have required adding another grade below Red. General Motors deserves a lifetime fail for dumping its minority advertising agencies in 2007. Hell, that Ford AOR Team Detroit employs Mark LaNeve should have warranted an instant asterisk and demerit. It’s also common knowledge that minority advertising agencies and multicultural marketing receive substandard funding compared to White agencies and “general-market” initiatives—so the highest grade given to any company in the advertising category should have been Red-minus.

10942: Marvelous Mala Bryan.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

10941: Pop Slop.

This Tide ad doesn’t pop—and it’s anything but brilliant.

10940: In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…

From The Huffington Post…

Lego Accused Of Racism Over Star Wars Jabba’s Palace Set

The Huffington Post | By Bonnie Kavoussi

Some Turkish leaders are offended by a Lego Star Wars set, claiming it resembles a famous mosque.

The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria said in a statement that a Lego set of Jabba’s Palace from the Star Wars series is racist because it appears to closely resemble the Hagia Sophia (formerly a mosque) in Istanbul, the Jami al-Kabir mosque in Beirut and a minaret and therefore reinforces negative stereotypes about the Middle East, according to the Austrian Times. The statement threatened legal action against Lego if it does not withdraw the toys.

“The terrorist Jabba the Hutt likes to smoke a hookah and have his victims killed,” a statement on their website reads, according to the Telegraph. The statement also claims that the characters look sinister and do evil things, such as keep slaves and commit murder.

Lego denies the charges. “The Lego Star Wars product Jabba’s Palace does not reflect any actually existing buildings, people, or the mentioned mosque,” Katharina Sasse, a spokesperson for Lego, told the Telegraph.

Star Wars has been accused of racism before. Some claimed that George Lucas’ 1999 movie Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was racist because some of its villains seemed to reinforce Asian stereotypes.

Jabba the Hutt, for the uninitiated, is one of Star Wars’ villains. He kept Han Solo frozen, tried to kill Luke Skywalker and, for a time, kept Princess Leia as his slave (fans will never forget her gold bikini). Luke and his allies ultimately freed Han Solo and Princess Leia and killed Jabba and his minions.

10939: Anti-African American Idol…?

From The New York Daily News…

‘American Idol’ is racist, lawyer claims: Nine former contestants, including Corey Clark, primed to sue

‘Idol’ executive producer Nigel Lythgoe called the allegations ‘ridiculous.’ ‘We treat everybody the same … no matter the race, religion or sex,’ he said.

By Corky Siemaszko / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

The hit talent show “American Idol” has been waging an off-key campaign to boost ratings by playing the race card, a New York lawyer claims.

The attorney, James Freeman, said the show has been juicing-up the drama by publically revealing that some black contestants have arrest records — and then using that as an excuse to boot them off the show.

Freeman said he has submitted a letter to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asking for permission to sue the show on behalf of nine humiliated African-American contestants — all of them male.

But Freeman declined to release a copy when contacted by The Daily News - and said he could not explain how the celebrity website got the letter.

“I don’t know how they got it, but they got it,” Freeman said Friday. “I’m not trying to litigate these claims through the press.”

There was no immediate response from FOX Broadcasting to the potential suit, but “Idol” Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe called the allegations “ridiculous.”

“We treat everybody the same … no matter the race, religion or sex,” he told “I think we’ve always had a fantastic share of talent from contestants both black and white … I don’t think I’ve ever seen racism at the show.”

Three have been three black American Idols — Fantasia Barrino, Jordin Sparks and Ruben Studdard.

Also, longtime judge Randy Jackson is black. As is one of his fellow judges on the panel, Nicki Minaj.

But Freeman isn’t the first to accuse the show of humiliating black singers to boost ratings.

Last March, when Jermaine Jones was kicked off Season 11 for failing to tell the producers about outstanding warrants out for his arrest, some critics claimed the show staged the disqualification.

Jones, who is not one of Freeman’s Idol Nine, declined to address the issue. “I haven’t even taken my mind into that and why they did what they did, because then I’ll drive myself crazy,” he said.

Freeman said Jones’ plight prompted him to look for other cases and he found nine other cases.

In his letter, Freeman said the “cruel and inhumane” scheme works like this: Producers ask contestants if they have ever been arrested. Then they sic private eyes on those who admit they have — and use the info to paint them as “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants.”

Freeman insisted none of the singers were convicted when they got booted, “yet their personal and professional lives remain permanently and severely impaired.”

One of Clark’s clients is Corey Clark, who got axed from Season 2 after producers learned he was busted for beating his sister. He later pleaded guilty to “obstructing legal process.”

“He doesn’t have any comment,” said a woman at Clark’s home outside of Nashville.

Freeman’s other clients are Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Thomas Daniels (Season 6), Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8), Chris Golightly (Season 9), and twin brothers Terrell and Derrell Brittenum (Season 5).

Golightly, however, was disqualified after the producers learned he was already under contract with a boy band. And it was not clear why Joyner was part of the group because he never advanced beyond the semifinals.

10938: Radio Ad Bombs.

A message designed to hype the creativity of radio ultimately demonstrates the creative team should not be working on print ads. Oh, and the racist stereotype is a nice touch too.

From Ads of the World.

10937: IKEA Insultingly Insensitive.

IKEA Ad Upsets Transgender Community brought to you by Copyranter.

Friday, January 25, 2013

10936: Comedic Job Search.

These actual job listings seek a freelance copywriter and art director with comedy experience to team up for a project involving direct mail (and weekend work is expected). Oh, and the copywriter rate is a laughable $35 per hour, while the art director gets up to $50 per hour—because comedy is such a visual thing.

Hello Creative Circle! Here’s a new opportunity for you to check out.

Position: Conceptual Copywriter w/Comedy

Location: City of Chicago

Status: Freelance

Estimated Duration: through 2/1

Starts: Today/Tomorrow

Rate: $35/hour DOE

Job Description:

Our client is seeking a Conceptual Copywriter to join their team as soon as today to tomorrow!

Will be working pairing up with a Art Director to work on a huge brand!

The ideal candidate will have comedy in their book!

Having Direct Mail Experience would be a big plus!

Weekend work might be necessary!

If you feel you are qualified for this position please send your resume (and samples if applicable) to:

Best wishes!

Creative Circle

Hello Creative Circle! Here’s a new opportunity for you to check out.

Position: Funny & Conceptual Art Director

Location: City of Chicago

Status: Freelance

Estimated Duration: through 2/12 + weekends

Starts: Today/Tomorrow

Rate: up to $55/hour DOE

Job Description:

Our client is seeking a Conceptual & Funny Art Director to join their team as soon as today or tomorrow!

Will be pairing up with a Copywriter to work on a huge brand!

Having comedy in your book is a MUST and having a Broadcast experience is ideal.

Weekend work might be necessary!

If you feel you are qualified for this position please send your resume (and samples if applicable) to:

Best wishes!

Creative Circle

Thursday, January 24, 2013

10935: N.A.A.C.P. Sells Out To Soda…?

From The New York Times…

In N.A.A.C.P., Industry Gets Ally Against Soda Ban

By Michael M. Grynbaum

As the American soft-drink industry argued its case in court on Wednesday against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s restrictions on sugary drink sizes, a prominent local group stood by its side: the New York chapter of the N.A.A.C.P.

The obesity rate for African-Americans in New York City is higher than the city average, and city health department officials say minority neighborhoods would be among the key beneficiaries of a rule that would limit the sale of super-size, calorie-laden beverages.

But the N.A.A.C.P. has close ties to big soft-drink companies, particularly Coca-Cola, whose longtime Atlanta law firm, King & Spalding, wrote the amicus brief filed by the civil rights group in support of a lawsuit aimed at blocking Mr. Bloomberg’s soda rules, which are set to take effect in March.

Coca-Cola has also donated tens of thousands of dollars to a health education program, Project HELP, developed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The brief describes that program, but not the financial contributions of the beverage company. The brief was filed jointly with another organization, the Hispanic Federation, whose former president, Lillian Rodríguez López, recently took a job at Coca-Cola.

The N.A.A.C.P.’s New York office referred questions to the American Beverage Association, the soft-drink industry’s lobbying group and the primary plaintiff in the suit against the city’s new soda rules. The association referred questions to Coca-Cola, which did not immediately respond.

At the hearing on Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, lawyers for the beverage industry argued that the Board of Health had overreached its authority by unilaterally ratifying the new rules. The city rejected that argument, saying the restrictions were well within the board’s purview to regulate public health matters.

There was no immediate ruling; Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr., who presided, did not comment. The beverage industry said it was requesting a stay of the soda restrictions while the case was being resolved.

While the industry has successfully fended off higher soda taxes and restrictions across the country, it has been increasingly under siege from public health officials concerned about the adverse effects of sugary drinks.

New York unveiled its soda plan in May, and other states and cities have since pursued similar measures. On Wednesday, Gov. Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts proposed that soda no longer be exempt from the state’s sales tax; lawmakers in Hawaii and Nebraska have also recently proposed higher taxes on sales of sugary drinks.

In its brief, the N.A.A.C.P. conceded that obesity was a significant problem among blacks and Hispanics. But the group urged the city to create a more holistic program to attack the problem, including an increase in financing for physical education programs in public schools.

Mr. Bloomberg’s plan, the brief argued, would disproportionately hurt minority-owned small businesses, which faced competition from larger convenience stores like 7-Eleven that would be exempt from the soda restrictions because of a quirk in New York’s regulatory structure.

“At its worst, the ban arbitrarily discriminates against citizens and small-business owners in African-American and Hispanic communities,” the brief said.

The plan has also been ardently opposed by several members of the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.

The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, said Wednesday that he was “disappointed” the N.A.A.C.P. had opposed the plan. “African-Americans are suffering disproportionately in this crisis, and I don’t think the N.A.A.C.P. should be siding with the big soda companies,” he said. “They are attacking public health officials who are trying to respond to that crisis.”

According to the city, about 70 percent of black New Yorkers and 66 percent of Hispanic New Yorkers are obese or overweight, compared with 52 percent of white non-Hispanic residents, based on a 2011 survey. The problem is often worse in low-income communities.

10934: Serena Williams’ Overhead Smash.

At the Australian Open, Serena Williams appeared to be rehearsing for her next iPhone commercial.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

10932: Lowell Thompson’s Inaugural Address.

In the comments section for a New York Times article on President Obama’s Inaugural Address, Lowell Thompson left the following:

As one of the 1.8 million people who came to the 1st Inauguration — and as a fellow African American Chicagoan — I hope Obama rises to the bar set 148 years ago by the man he says is his idol, Abe Lincoln.

In very few words, Lincoln made the most profound, honest and moral statement that, as far as I know, has ever been uttered by any American president.

Although the exact words fail me here — at the spur of the moment — Lincoln admitted that the USA was guilty of heinous crimes against African Americans. He said, in essence, “…and if God decrees that 250 years of slavery be repaid with the death of 600,000 Americans, so be it.” He said it was the righteous will of the Lord.

And even though the war wasn’t originally started or in the end, fought to end slavery, it was one of its most important outcomes.

It would be great if Obama can find the words and the…er…uh…cojones to make a commitment today to finally take the final step in fulfilling the promise of human equality that our nation has always loudly made but never come close to keeping.


BTW: To paraphrase what some great American once said, “If not Obama, who? If not now, when?”


Sunday, January 20, 2013

10927: Diversity Solutions For Adland.

Marcus Graham Project Executive Director and Co-Founder Lincoln Stephens—who was named among Ad Age’s 40 Under 40—published a perspective titled, “How to Solve Adland’s Diversity Problem.” The column’s subtitle reads, “Practical Tips for Everyone Concerned About Ad Industry’s Diversity Problem.” Therein lies the true problem; that is, everyone is not concerned about diversity. Regardless, Stephens presents straightforward solutions that will likely be ignored by the majority—especially the ruling majority—on Madison Avenue.

How to Solve Adland’s Diversity Problem

Practical Tips for Everyone Concerned About Ad Industry’s Diversity Problem

By Lincoln Stephens

In 1963, the Urban League of Greater New York (now known as the New York Urban League) released a report on a three-year study of the city’s largest advertising agencies to learn how many African-Americans they employed. That same year, the New York City Commission on Human Rights hosted a discussion titled “What are agencies doing about equal job opportunity, and can they do more?”

Fast forward to 2013, exactly 50 years later, and we find ourselves asking the exact same question.

Fifteen percent of those employed in the advertising industry are people of color, while our country’s minority population is 37%.

And it’s not only African-Americans. In fact, the Hispanic/Latino demographic, our country’s fastest-growing minority group, represents 16.7% of our country, but makes up a mere 5.3% of those employed in the advertising industry.

The numbers add up yet they just don’t quite “add up.” According to October employment data, more than 12 million Americans were without jobs, but there are at least 68 jobs at two companies in one industry that are “hard to fill”?

This is a conversation that we need to have. But it’s not an easy one. It is a sore spot for people on both sides of the issue. There is the community at large and the talent pool that is looking to break in and ascend to leadership ranks in the industry. Then there are the employers who should be—and I believe are—interested in making their workplaces more diverse.

But they’re two sides of one coin, and there are things that both can do to facilitate not just conversation about an extremely sensitive subject, but actual change.

Here are some practical tips for each.

Heads: The Community Side

1. Discover the needs of the open jobs and ensure that you meet them, particularly in an industry begging for more appreciation of true “craft” as well as one that is rapidly changing in the digital space.

2. Make this issue a national discussion. This should truly be viewed as a crisis, and must be responded to as such. There is power in your voice as consumers, as well. Demand that the brands that you spend your money on ask their agency partners to take a closer look at their workforces as well as those of the vendors they employ.

3. Share more information with your children, siblings, cousins and grandkids. Tell them that advertising is a valid career option for them, and start them down the career path earlier. Don’t wait for the industry to come to you—go to it. Create a demand for more knowledge and exposure to be shared at your school, college, churches, fraternal and community organization meetings.

4. Stop using language such as: “They won’t let me break in.” Don’t wait to let someone let you in. Improve your skills and make yourself over-employable to the point that you are wanted everywhere.

Recently I heard Perry Fair, president and chief creative officer of JWT Atlanta, discuss his career path. For him, it was about working his hardest and being the best everywhere that he went. Obviously this has paid off for him. (Pause: Let’s reflect on the fact that Perry Fair is only the second African-American to lead a major general-market agency. Ok, resume discussion.)

Tails: The Industry Side

1. You also must stop using certain language. “They are just not interested in our industry.” With the collective power that you have in media expenditure, a national footprint of agency talent and brand ambassadors and award-winning creativity, you can create a national campaign that effectively shares career opportunities with underrepresented communities. Part of the talent issue is because of exposure.

2. Don’t just hire your friends and your clients’ kids. Now, let’s not pretend that this does not happen.

Several agencies that we’ve spoken with have instituted a “Rooney Rule” of sorts. The Rooney Rule, for those unfamiliar with it, is one in which NFL teams must interview minority candidates for all head-coaching positions.

3. Re-examine your budgets and find ways to increase support organizations that are effective in talent development. This part is not a “diversity issue” as much as it is a talent issue, so the investment in this should not be limited to the often minuscule “diversity budget.”

4. Be serious about your commitment and make it a No. 1 priority for 2013. Ensure that from the top down that it is seen as a focus instead of lip service or a “nice to have.” It should be a business imperative.

All in Together

Now, to both sides of the coin. You all need to talk to one another more and find solutions to this issue together.

There is not one solution. There are several. The issue is extremely complex, but the need is too strong to not press forward. It will take every agency, every trade association, every trade and news-media vehicle, every teacher, and every parent working together.

Many of the above solutions may not be new.

But for myself, what is new is an inspired commitment toward creating effective solutions, partnering more efficiently (without fighting for budget), and elevating the now 50-year-old conversation to a level that won’t have some people scowling at the word diversity.

It will take the recollection of our past, as well as the forward promise of our future, to close the gap between diversity in America and diversity in advertising.

10926: Recoiling In Horrors.

Earlier this month, New American Dimensions President-CEO David Morse published a perspective at The Big Tent titled, “In a Culture of Mass Shootings, the Ad Industry Shares the Blame.” In the piece, Morse wondered about the responsibility our industry faced for promoting firearms in light of the continuing tragedies involving guns. The subsequent comments seemed to scoff at Morse’s opinions—yet perusing the latest issue of RECOIL magazine almost corroborates everything the adman wrote.

The 2nd Amendment remains a popular theme. Wonder if any of these advertisers have read what Thom Hartmann wrote at Truthout.

President Obama has been criticized for remarking about people who “cling to guns and religion,” but this ad apparently has no reservations connecting things.

Celebrity endorsements are utilized too. It’s only a matter of time before Betty White is hawking rifles too.

Morse highlighted the masculinity of gun culture, and RECOIL clearly displays the reality with pin-up style photography and a Girls section on its website.