I was reading an article on how people look in the wrong places for solutions to their problems. If we are lucky and have enough time, we resolve our issue. The solution usually comes once we look inside.
Adweek reported findings of a study on the current status of the advertising industry. Minorities are under represented. Another article cites figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, African-American workers made up only 3.8% of the advertising industry in 2007.
If you reside in one of the top 10 DMA’s you experience first hand the diversity of these cities. A clear sample is Los Angeles, a city where Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans account for over 60% of the market. New York, Chicago, Miami, Dallas and others have that pattern too.
When you look at the disparity between those two figures, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to recognize that something is wrong. An industry that prides on the application of sophisticated research techniques to discover “consumer insights” and build campaigns around that element, is not using basic common sense to improve what the New York Times calls a poor record in hiring and promoting minorities.
The problem is not due to lack of talent. Just look at recent deals that have taken place in the entertainment industry. Latino directors and artist have received multi million contracts with studios or are attached to pictures like Harry Potter.
In many forums, the topic still is about language. In my opinion, the topic should be about creating great products and spreading that message to as many people as possible. To create the best work possible, we need to look inside and find the truth. That truth will be different because people are unique. Using advertising principles, we need to find themes that cross borders and nationalities and tell those stories in short or long format.
If you want to tell Latino stories, let the Latinos tell them. If it is a Chinese story, let the Chinese tell the story. If you want to create great work, let everyone show their talent and may the best one get the job. If it is about advertising, we all consume most of the same products and have the same basic needs. Why are we afraid to break the mold? Give everyone a break in the land of opportunity.