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Archive for August, 2007

Race Is a Four Letter Word

I’ve thought about writing about this taboo topic for a while, but refrained because I was being a bit chicken. Two things made me do it. Sir Charles wrote a post about it, and this thread on the BR forums. In writing a reply to that thread, I got a little of out of hand on the word count front, so here we go:

In the last 50 odd years the ethnic makeup of the UK has been in the midst of an unprecedented change (this isn’t unique to the UK, generally after WWII the then colonial powers ‘encouraged’ people out in the colonies to move back to their respective motherships – particularly to help out with the workforce that had been hit by war casualties), this change has led to significant social upheaval as ethnic minorities move up the social ladder as successive generations become more prosperous / better educated. You can look at accounting and medicine as examples of fields where half a century ago, professionals were almost exclusively ‘ethnic British’ where now, as an example – according to unofficial research by the Student BMJ (British Medical Journal) London, Manchester and Birmingham universities have more than 50% of their medical students classed as non-white.

So this social climbing has resulted in today ethnic minorities have more spending power. More than 30% of Britain’s richest 100 are ethnic minorities. So the question is what is adland doing about it? To get a piece of their spending power are agencies really in the minds of these consumers? Do they know what motivates them, what they aspire to, what they value? Can they know this when the vast majority (according to the latest IPA Diversity reports) of agency staff are middle-class and white? (And I’m talking about advertising focused staff – not support roles) And I mean really know them, not just ‘oh I listen to hip-hop/bhangra music / I went to uni with loads of asians/afro-carribeans etc’. Because you don’t fully get afro-carribean culture just because you listen to reggae. Please.

And if agencies are smart enough and self-aware enough (George Parker will say no at this point) to realize that they may not necessarily know this group of consumers well enough, what are they going to do about it? Commission more research? Or maybe think about how to attract these types of people to work for them so they can start to pick their brains about how best to approach them with their comms? In order to do this, agencies have to look at their HR departments and as ‘What are you doing to attract the best people’ because if you are looking for the best – you’ll find them, regardless of where they went to university / where they’re from (this leads onto a larger debate about how agencies approach hiring new blood, which I’ll be writing about on adgrads). Ethnic minorities will have, by 2011 300 billion of disposable income. Surely someone wants a piece of that pie, and is smart enough to try and get themselves equipped to go after it.

I’m not by any means suggesting that agencies are racist in their dealing and practices, only that now a large percentage of the UK’s prosperous are of ethnic minorities, and by definition the communications industry should be going out and communicating with them. That’s my 4p worth.

Race is only a dirty word when you let it become one.

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A Good Excuse

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Yes yes yes, we haven’t been writing that much recently, and no it’s not the yo-yo weather that’s the cause. I’ve been hard at work trying to come up with a better way of getting all career-related stuff in one area, just in time for the mad season that is graduate recruitment.

So now I can take the wraps off the best way to find out information about the advertising industry: AdGrads. AdGrads is a combined AdLads, Wannabe Ad Man and Jack Bauer production and is the one place to find the best bits about graduate recruitment all its trials and tribulations. We’ve got an all-star cast lined up to tell their stories about how they got into the industry, what they wished they knew then and a ton of advice about applications, interviews, work experience and everything in between. Myself, Anton, Will and Jack will be at your beck and call for all your career related stuff at AdGrads from now on. So visit us there, bookmark us, feed on us and when you get that job, buy us a fantastic dinner.

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Some of y’all will remember reading about the absolutely awesome time I had at the PSFK London conference earlier this summer (my notes are here and here), well the PSFK tour bus is on the move again and this time the next stop is LA. PSFK LA is scheduled to go down on the 18th of September, you can read about it and buy tickets here. I would strongly strongly strongly suggest if you’re around Los Angeles that day go. Just go. It will be, without doubt one of the best ways to spend time that day.

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And if that wasn’t enough incentive to go, the AdLads have a discount to the tune of $100 to give away to someone, so their ticket will come in at $200. BUT this discount is only valid until the 18th of August (this Saturday). So if you want it email us, telling us why you should have it. If you can convince us, it’s yours. But make sure you go.

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A Lifetime of Misery..

may be in store for kids with parents like these.

4Real? Puhlease…

(I’ve just got back from vacation, and I swear I’ll write something worthwhile soon).

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A Thursday Task

Buy The Spectator today because Amelia’s written an article in it.

That pretty much says it all. Now go do it.

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