‘Quit’ter Causes a Stir

Although I don’t know Hadji Williams [A&C, Jan. 14], I am sorry to hear he is quitting the ad business. I can tell he is smart, gutsy and all about the work. His comments on our industry are a sad wrap-up of 10 years slugging it out in the trenches. Regarding point No. 2, I wonder how can we do a better job recruiting and retaining talented people of color?

Sallie Mars
Svp, director of creative services
New York

Hadji Williams’ piece, “Why I Quit,” has led to much discussion at my agency.

I worked with Hadji. I would like to address his points.

He makes some cogent points about how the business might improve. One way is when a creative brags, “I’ve never made more money for doing less,” you let them go. As to advertising being “the easiest hustle on the planet,” a scan of the One Show, Clios, D&AD and Communication Arts of the last five years reveals no listings for Hadji Williams. Perhaps it isn’t really as easy as all that.

The lack of racial diversity in advertising agencies is a serious issue. But in his discussion of what he calls “whitewash,” Williams fails to mention he was given his first job by an African American creative director in a department run by an African American executive creative director. This department looked nothing like the cast of Friends.

Also, there exists the uncomfortable fact that the ads that most people of color cringe at, the ones most often cited as perpetuating stereotypes, come from agencies that specialize (supposedly) in reaching minorities.

Finally, while the pop-cultural spelling techniques employed in his article may be legitimately defended as cultural usage, you can’t sell copy that reads this way. And you probably shouldn’t.

Robert Wolfe
Freelance copywriter
Los Angeles

You missed a good game Mr. Williams. Possibly it was what you brought to it, or maybe your mentors let you down. But either way, approaching the ad industry with a comment that it “was never more than just a hustle” makes your five ways to improve just gibberish from the bleachers.

Dan Japhet
Strategic Media Alignment