Jan 22, 2007

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Once again, Madison Avenue's response to the call for more diversity is so laughable as to make it difficult to distinguish Adweek from The Onion.

Check out this snippet from an article on McCann's response:

Sallie Mars, director of creative services, will add the title director of diversity.

You try telling someone, with a straight face, that you are the "Director of Diversity."


HighJive said...

the sad truth is, a number of agencies (and corporations) have people with that title. on madison avenue, however, it sounds extraordinarily odd. although there are quite a few folks in the business with stranger titles.

here's another sad part: it's a safe bet that mccann and agencies who bring in similiar directors see the moves as an easy way to satisfy the agreements. it's like, hire a minority to head the minority search efforts and you can immediately check one off the quota list.

also, doesn't the hire and new title underscore that an agency originally had nothing in place, despite pledging to address things since 1973?

it's odd to see some of these agencies to willing to publicize their efforts. wasn't mccann in the news no more that three months ago facing an ageism discrimination suit? at least now they've got a director of diversity to handle that mess too.

Alan Wolk said...


The whole nomenclature bothers me-- the way it seems to somehow place the onus on minorities for needing to have a special person to make sure they get hired. Instead of on the agencies for not hiring them.

Age discrimination in this business is huge. And scares me to death, since I've got tadpoles to support. Lawyer friends of mine tell me it's pretty hard to prove because the senior person is usually replaced by someone making considerably less money, and cutting salaries like that is okay. (Legally)

I read your blog entry on the McCann lawsuit http://multicultclassics.blogspot.com/2006/05/essay-621.html
That seemed to be a more flagrant case than what usually happens. But what's most shocking is how TalentZoo seems to go out of their way to promote ageism-- the woman quoted there was like "oh well, shit happens, lives are ruined, you know..." and I remember someone on Madscam (Pali, I believe) posted a link to another Talent Zoo-keeper expounding on the benefits of hiring juniors... maybe it's b/c they're in a town with 2 major ad schools and no major agencies?

HighJive said...

Well, what’s lost in all the hoopla on Madison Avenue right now is that the diversity issue was not intended to solely be a racial thing. The New York City Human Rights Commission opted to focus on ethnic minorities, mostly for legal purposes. The fact that people leading the charge are Black — Patricia Gatling, Larry Seabrook, Jesse Jackson, etc. — has led everyone to presume it’s a racial thing. The HRC has always recognized the problems on Madison Avenue are exclusivity-based, including everything from race to gender to generational. Age discrimination is just one more exclusivity-based problem in the industry. And we’re seeing the same pattern of biased behavior the industry has executed for decades, now being applied to another group.

Although it is somewhat interesting to see the people who sat by while other forms of discrimination took place suddenly up in arms over age discrimination. Guess it helps to be a victim in order to fully understand the problems.

HighJive said...

here's one more: