NAACP Sends A Warning Shot Across The Bow Of Big Name Advertisers

By SuperSpy 

I was having drinks with a bunch of advertising staffers last night when one, a Black woman, said that her head hunter told her not to take a position at a multicultural agency, because it would “ruin” her career. All of us sitting around the table (Black, Asian and White) were shocked that in 2009, working at a multicultural shop is still considered a black mark by recruiters. The question we were left pondering is why? Is it because the budgets are smaller or because the work is niche? But, wait if you work in any other specialization, say at a mobile or consumer insights agency, no one looks down upon you. So the question is – what the fuck? If you do good work (be it in planning, creative or accounts), you do good work. Doesn’t matter who it is for, right?

This tale of bullshit, leads us to the latest installment in the struggle for diversity in the ad business. This time, it’s about general market agencies. The NAACP has something to say. In a letter sent on Monday to big advertisers like P&G, AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Sprint Nextel, Sears, et al., the NAACP ask these brands to “instruct your advertising agencies to use diverse teams in creative and account management positions” and to address the lack of minority staff members. Adweek also noted that: “The letter further suggests that P&G identify a senior executive to meet with the NAACP, which is partnering with civil rights law firm Mehri & Skalet on the diversity initiative, known as the Madison Avenue Project.”

You can download the letter here. Think brands want to or will get involved?

More: The DON’Ts Of Advertising Agencies: The Black Folk Edition