Photo: Ad Agencies Not Diverse
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) has conducted a new study on the racial and gender make‐up of creative directors responsible for the advertising spots aired during the 2010 Super Bowl at the request of the Madison Avenue Project, a partnership between the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Mehri & Skalet, PLLC.
This report seeks to explain the current disparity in hiring practices that exists in the advertising industry regarding race and gender. The data, both quantitative and qualitative, yielded startling outcomes. Racial and gender data was available for 58 of the 67 advertisements aired during the Super Bowl. Fifty‐two of the advertisements were produced by major advertising agencies while the other 15 were either produced in‐house by the companies themselves or by creative directors who were not professionals and some were contest winners. Of those 52 advertisements produced by agencies, not one featured a person of color as the lead creative director: 100 percent were white.
There was also an astonishing lack of minorities featured as main characters in the advertisements. Of the 67 ads, only four featured a person of color in the lead role, and all were male (Beyoncé’s role in the Vizio commercial was not considered a leading role because she was on screen for less than 10 percent of the advertisement time).
The lack of minority employees who work in executive or creative positions for advertising agencies has been an unresolved issue in the advertising industry since it was first brought to light in 1963 by the NAACP and the Urban League of Greater New York. This results in an exclusion from exposure to cultural viewpoints and presents higher probabilities of showing biases on racial and gender issues.
These issues were prevalent in the commercials that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl, which led to the call to conduct an analysis of the race and gender of the creative directors of contracted agencies that produced the 2010 Super Bowl commercials. TIDES believes that the Super Bowl commercials for Super Bowl XLIV were an adequate and appropriate sample of the advertising industry’s overall body of work.
For a copy of the complete study visit the HS News Library.