Clinton: Give Minorities Fair Play

Federal ad-vertising contracts must fairly represent minority ad agencies, and “special attention” should be given to placing ads in ethnic media, according to an executive order signed by President Clinton last week.

Clinton’s directive, which will also require federal departments to compensate minority agencies for their work based on fair market rates, marks the first time a president has is-sued an executive order that addresses advertising.

The order was signed at a White House ceremony on Friday, where the American Advertising Fed-eration voluntarily adopted prin-ciples urging advertisers and agencies to increase diversity in the workforce.

The AAF suggested buying and selling media on ethnic-owned and operated outlets as another way to promote fairness.

Clinton’s order in part directs “federal departments and agencies to ensure that all creation, placement, and transmission of federal advertising are fully reflective of the nation’s diversity,” and “each federal de-partment and agency to aggressively seek to ensure [that] small and disadvantaged busi-nesses participate in procurement for information technology and telecommunications in-dustry.”

Government agencies were given 90 days to develop and submit to the Office of Management and Budget a long-term strategic plan for complying with the order.

Advertising lobby groups said they were pleased with the effort. “The federal government as a client is establishing some very aggressive rules to play by,” said Heide Gardner, the AAF’s svp of diversity and strategic programs.

Clinton’s order and the AAF’s principles grew out of a Federal Communications Commission report that questioned advertisers’ minority media-buying practices.

“I think it is incumbent on the federal government to in-crease the access and procurement opportunities … so more minority businesses can be strengthened,” said Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-Mich.

Adonis Hoffman, an svp at the American Association of Advertising Agencies, said the order will “encourage inclusion, and when you have an inclusive market, it only leads to greater profitability.”

While the President’s executive order is mandatory, the AAF’s principles are voluntary.

Hoffman said that by endorsing the AAF’s guidelines, advertising lobby groups are showing a willingness to reach out to the multicultural marketplace.

“I think the industry is stepping up to the plate,” Hoffman said. CHUCK KENNEDY/NEWSMAKERS/NEWSCOM