I’ve talked about the issue of diversity in advertising before. It’s a subject that many are really afraid to open up the dialogue about. I’m not sure where that fear is rooted. Maybe that it will start an advertising civil war. Maybe that it will shift the power players in the game. Or possibly that it is just an issue that requires a bigger effort to solve than anyone is willing to put into it.
Whatever the reason is agencies are really wavering on their commitment to address the issue and they are doing it blatantly. Adage posted this article about The New York City Commission on Human Rights holding a public meeting Monday night to discuss the issue of diversity in the advertising. Seems that the only agencies represented there were Arnold and Saatchi. Two of the only agencies that hit the ground running to tackle this issue when it was “exposed” a few years ago.
Shame, shame on the other over a dozen agencies that didn’t bother to phone it in. What is the point of a discussion where the offenders don’t hear the greivances of those offended? It is a waste of time and a slap in the face to a frustated group of people that are trying to translate their words into real actions. We know that their complaints have been heard (and filed away). And I guess it’s obvious that those complaints are not being addressed. But now the question is what the next step should be. Will there ever be any real diversity if the powers that be don’t care. There is no real recourse for that. And then is the concern that agencies will hire talent based solely on race (filling quotas) and that then has the opposite effect of what is intended. No one wants to a pity hire, but at this point what else could it be? Agencies are proving that their intention is not to lessen the great divide unless they are absolutely forced to.