Increasingly, American businesses are taking a long look at their ad agencies and asking them to please diversify their teams because Mad Men was supposed to be about the 1960s and it’s honestly getting embarrassing at this point.
That’s according to the New York Times:
In the last two months, three major brands have publicly put pressure on the agencies it works with to hire more women and minorities. The latest was Verizon, which joined General Mills and HP Inc., formerly a part of Hewlett-Packard, in telling agencies that a failure to do so could drive its business elsewhere.
The efforts reflect a growing concern among marketers that Madison Avenue’s largely white, male leadership may be hindering their efforts to connect with American consumers.
General Mills went shopping for agencies with sufficiently diverse creative departments on its wish list. HP asked the agencies it works with to hire more women, since—wow!—women buy a lot of computers. Just last month, Verizon chief marketing officer Diego Scotti blasted its agencies with a letter requesting diversity stats and plans to improve those numbers, explaining that, “We are more likely to create solutions that amaze our customers if our work force and suppliers represent the communities we serve.”
“You don’t need to be a mom to make some Cheerios ads, but if we have more moms on the team making Cheerios ads, maybe we increase the probability we do work that connects with moms in a richer, deeper, more powerful, meaningful way,” said General Mills chief creative officer Michael Fanuele, the chief creative officer at a recent industry event. Which sounds a little like, “Hold your fire, moms!!!!”
In short, CMOs pay these ad agencies a lot of money, and they don’t want any embarrassing campaigns that go viral for their appalling stereotypes.