Last month, Dr. Jason Chambers and I gave a joint talk at Klick Health in Toronto. While his portion laid out the history of racism in advertising to explain "How We Got Here," my half asked, "Why Are We Stuck?" To answer the question, I used VMLY&R as a case study to show how even the most well-meaning agency can still reproduce racial hierarchies from the Mad Men era. My remarks expanded the analysis of two previous columns here at MediaVillage (The White Agency Handbook and America's Navy: Forged by a Sea of … Whiteness) by taking a closer look at VMLY&R's current leadership structure and Y&R's checkered past. I concluded that anyone serious about dismantling white mediocrity in advertising should avoid "culture fits" with previous experience and instead seek to hire and promote more "culture adds" with promise and potential. See video of my talk above.
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