Wednesday, August 5, 2020
News, analysis and commentary by UBC Journalism students


Diversifying

A lack of ethnic diversity in advertising has been an issue for almost as long as media has existed. Even…

By Lucy Gotell , in Blogs You Expect Me to Buy That? Issues in Media Marketing , on February 12, 2008

A lack of ethnic diversity in advertising has been an issue for almost as long as media has existed. Even in today’s ethnically mindful, all-encompassing culture, the majority of TV commercials as well as magazine and newspaper ads feature white, young faces.

That’s why I was surprised to see that New York’s mayor, rapper Jay-Z, the city of Brooklyn, and the fashion industry are all doing their part in making ethnic inequality in advertising taboo. Let’s review what each of them have done, and give them an individual “kudos!”

The mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has proclaimed Thursday, April 24 to be “Diversity in Advertising/PR Career Day.” This is in honour of a one-day job fair/conference held at the Hilton New York that gives ad agencies, PR firms and other media companies a chance to enhance their diversity programs and meet multicultural candidates.

Jay-Z, the rap artist turned bizarrely successful businessman, recently partnered with Steve Stoute to launch an agency called Translation Advertising. According to the New York Times, the agency will “help marketers reach multicultural consumers.”

Brooklyn city government officials have gained approval from The New York City Department of Education to open the High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media in September, 2008. Organizers are hoping the school will attract a young, diverse audience for the first class in 2012.

Finally, the Council of Fashion Designers of America has begun efforts to lobby designers into hiring a more diverse range of models for this year’s fashion week. CFDA’s president, Diane von Furstenberg, is encouraging shows that are “truly multicultural,” according to an online article by The Wall Street Journal.

So, forgive me for being optimistic, but since this is my final blog, I’m glad to be ending it on a positive note. Thanks for reading!