Mar 24, 2011

Ask WAS: RestrictionsApply answers a race question

Do blacks or hispanics get favored OR would they have to work twice as hard? In general advertising, not multicultural/hispanic agencies. I know the industry is looking for diversity, but is there still racism?

General Market ad agencies in the U.S. skew white, which is why there are so many “ethnic market” agencies – Black, Hispanic, Asian-American… I’ve even seen agencies that specialize in the Gay Market.

I wouldn’t go so far as to use the term “racism,” but as with ANY American corporate setting, minorities and women are dealt the weaker hand. You really have to prove your mettle if you want to “make it” in a general market agency. Many years ago Leo Burnett’s CFO and World Creative Chief were African American. The head of FCB Chicago was brought in directly from Chile, so I guess it all comes down to talent. The head honcho at PepsiCo is an Indian-born woman, so go figure. If you don’t make your race an issue, other people will be less likely to.

Do good work, and the color of your skin will be the last thing on people’s minds.


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