Jesse Jackson Enters Ad Industry Diversity Fray

Tells ANA Conference More Public Hearings Planned (See Video)

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Two corrections have been made in this story. See below for details.
LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson at a Tuesday session of the Association of National Advertisers' Multicultural
Videography: S. Raddock
Rev. Jesse Jackson told the ANA Multicultural Marketing Conference that new hearings would be focused on 'advertising industry exclusion policies.' | ALSO: Comment on this article in the 'Your Opinion' box below.
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Marketing Conference said more public hearings on the diversity practices of the advertising industry were being planned in Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.

New York agreements
Subpoenas issued in connections with the threat of similar hearings earlier this year in New York forced 11 of Manhattan's largest agencies to sign historic diversity hiring agreements with the New York Commission on Human Rights.

Rev. Jackson mentioned the new hearings during a Q&A session following his keynote address at the ANA event in Fairmont Miramar Hotel here and said they would be focused on "advertising industry exclusion policies."

Wall Street Project
He also said there will be a "major workshop on advertising" at the Wall Street Project conference the Rainbow Push Coalition is holding in early January 2007 in New York. Rev. Jackson founded the Coalition in 1986 as a political activist group that has been heavily involved in issues related to minority rights ever since.

Although full details of the new multi-city hearings were not available, Butch Wing, the national political coordinator of the Rainbow Push Coalition, said the hearings Rev. Jackson mentioned for Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta were likely intended to happen in conjunction with the Coalition's annual conferences in those cities next year. He also said the advertising workshop at the New York conference is still being organized.

Black agencies
Rev. Jackson also said during the Q&A that African-American agencies should be encouraged to grow independently under minority ownership rather than be acquired by advertising holding companies.

"There is no shortage of talent," he said. "Don't put the Latin and the black agency under your roof. Empower them to grow. McCann Erickson is not Burrell. Foote -- whatever it is you call that company -- is not Uniworld. Empower them to be a force at the table, don't co-opt them by saying here's a buyout."

WPP Group has a minority stake in New York-based Uniworld, and Chicago-based Burrell is 49% owned by Publicis Groupe, but Mr. Jackson's point apparently was that both are venerable African-American agencies.

Minority-held equity
He also said that diversity does not necessarily lead to equality, but that where there is minority-held equity there will be diversity.

"It's not in my interests to choose diversity over equality," he said. "I'm not saying don't have diversity in your company. [But] employees is one thing, co-partners is another."

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CORRECTION: (1.) As a result of an editing error, the early morning e-mail newsletter blast that originally announced this story contained text that said this conference was an American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) event when, in fact, it was an Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) event. (2.) An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Uniworld is 100% owned by WPP Group. The agency is majority owned by Byron Lewis; WPP has a minority stake.

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