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Agencies' Multicultural Mix Called 'Unacceptable'

April 19, 2001

NAPLES, Fla. ( -- The American Association of Advertising Agencies kicked off the first full day of its 83rd annual management conference

Photo: Doug Goodman..
O. Burtch Drake criticized top agencies.
in Naples with a focus on ethnic and racial diversity.

In his opening remarks, AAAA president-CEO, O. Burtch Drake, chastised the ad industry's track record on diversity. He said the percentage of multicultural employees working in the top 100 ad agencies has leveled off at 16.3% while the multicultural population in the U.S. now stands at 28.6%.

"These figures are unacceptable," he said.

Mr. Drake called on member agencies

to double the number of minority interns they hire. He also asked them to contribute money to Operation Jumpstart, a minority scholarship program.

About 326 executives are attending the event, down from 460 in 2000, in part a reflection of the weakened economy. A AAAA spokesman attribited the lower turnout to several other factors, including fewer media executives in attendance and a smaller representation from Canadian agency executives, who had a strong presence at last year's meeting in Bermuda.

-- Laura Petrecca, Laura Hughes and Scott Donaton

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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