Sharpton wants verifiable progress in ending ad bias

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The Rev. Al Sharpton said today he's willing to try cooperation rather than confrontation to improve advertisers' and agencies' record in use of minority media but wants to see verifiable progress over the next year. The Rev. Sharpton, wrapping up his Invitational Summit on Multicultural Markets & Media, said that progress would be demonstrated by how quickly the split in media buys for products between minority- and majority-owned media approaches the proportion to a product's usage by minorities.

More than 300 advertising, media and marketing executives attended the conference in New York, held in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday celebration and sponsored by the Rev. Sharpton's National Action Network and by minority groups representing Hispanics and Asian-Americans.

Speakers also said agencies and media buyers need to see that their work forces become more diverse. The Rev. Sharpton said he intends to meet individually with the companies and ad agencies represented, then go to other marketers and agencies.

Copyright January 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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