Tuesday, July 11, 2017

13747: Delayed WTF 35—CDOs & CFOs.

MultiCultClassics is often occupied with real work. As a result, a handful of events occur without the expected blog commentary. This limited series—Delayed WTF—seeks to make belated amends for the absence of malice.

Another point to ponder in the 2016 Deutsch diversity debacle—where former Deutsch Diversity Director Felicia Geiger claimed the agency “was no longer going to invest in diversity”—involves the references to a “diversity budget” at White advertising agencies. It begs a few questions: Who decides on the actual amount for such financial allocations? How does a standard “diversity budget” compare to, say, the money earmarked for award submissions and jaunts to places like Cannes—or to the annual compensation of CEOs?

Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun recently sparked minor controversy by placing a one-year ban on participation at award shows and trade shows in order to pay for a companywide digital doodad. How much money will be recouped by Sadoun’s mandate? Of course, there was probably no consideration to placing a ban on diversity-related expenditures, as such an action would not realize enough loot to cover the annual costs of Sadoun’s haircuts. (On a side note, the creation of Marcel could easily be paid for by simply erasing former Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Lévy from the payroll—after all, he’s the digital drunk whose obsession with technology led to lots of overspending on mergers and acquisitions.)

But back to the practice of implementing a “diversity budget” for White advertising agencies. If this is indeed a common thing, perhaps it’s time for shops to publicly share the budget figures. In lieu of EEO-1 data, present the accounting data, which would provide a clear indicator of a company’s commitment to inclusive progress. Oh, and tax-deductible donations to entities like ADCOLOR® don’t count.

The notion of a “diversity budget” leads to additional questions. In the quest for a diverse and inclusive industry—and using IPG as an example for this examination—is Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Heide Gardner more important and influential than Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Frank Mergenthaler? In short, is a CDO more necessary for diversity success than a CFO? Plus, like multicultural marketers, is the typical CDO operating with crumbs?

P.S., Advertising agency CFOs and CDOs can purchase the book depicted above for a mere $49.99—provided the “diversity budget” even has $49.99 in the kitty.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some agencies hire a diversity consulting company for a few thousand dollars a month, plus expenses. They float between multiple agencies and act as a go-between for the agency and their clients, so that there's a POC when brands ask "why are there no POC in this agency?" The brands rarely realize the agency is sharing this diversity consultant with other agencies and other brands.

The holding companies have diversity officers, but they get salary plus maybe $40k to $80k as an operating budget max, if I had to guestimate. Out of that, they have to pay travel to diversity conferences and diversity awards shows, and advertising in diverse magazines and websites. That's why you're always seeing cheap looking ads that seem to be designed by a free intern with free stock photos.

Now that gender diversity is on the table, and white women are the new preferred flavor, you'll see these budgets soar. They probably won't be in the hands of the mostly black men and women who've been in charge of diversity up until now, though.