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Campaign Middle East - - NEWS -

No. And I very much doubt that you en­joyed their trust in the first place. You cer­tainly won’t en­joy their re­spect. Only a stupid per­son would hope to un­der­mine a jour­nal­ist by sug­gest­ing they wrote some­thing out of spite: a point­less, petty lit­tle ges­ture with ab­so­lutely no chance of achiev­ing any­thing other than con­firm­ing the jour­nal­ist of your in­signif­i­cance. I’ve no­ticed that when hir­ing en­try-level peo­ple, our chief cre­ative of­fi­cer seems to have an over­whelm­ing pref­er­ence for peo­ple who were pri­vately ed­u­cated, even though they do not al­ways seem to be the most ex­cit­ing can­di­dates. How can I bring this up with­out seem­ing like a class war­rior? David Ogilvy fa­mously be­lieved in hir­ing “gentle­men with brains”. It seemed to serve his agency ex­tremely well. Were he to ex­press the same opin­ion today, how­ever, he’d prob­a­bly have to join Kevin Roberts on the naughty step. But there’s one word you can use with­out fear of be­ing thought a class war­rior – or, in­deed, of be­ing any­thing po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect – and that’s ‘diver­sity’.

Diver­sity in a work­force is uni­ver­sally held to be A Good Thing – and you can safely sug­gest to your chief cre­ative of­fi­cer that a re­cruit­ment pol­icy that en­cour­aged more diver­sity might be to the agency’s ad­van­tage. As in­deed it might be, though even diver­sity needs to be se­lec­tive.

Some peo­ple like to ar­gue that ad­ver­tis­ing peo­ple should ac­cu­rately mir­ror the peo­ple for whom they’re craft­ing their ads. But if an agency chose its work­force to be an ex­act mi­cro­cosm of the pop­u­la­tion as a whole, it would find it­self pay­ing a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of crooks and per­verts and at least 15 per cent of staff num­bers would be very stupid in­deed. ( This out­come can of­ten be achieved quite nat­u­rally and needs no help from a cal­cu­lated re­cruit­ment pol­icy.)

The most valu­able diver­sity in an agency has lit­tle if any­thing to do with class, eth­nic­ity or ed­u­ca­tion but has all to do with think­ing. Agen­cies need both the ruth­lessly de­duc­tive and the unan­chored in­tu­itive. Both those who can un­earth an in­sight on page 97 of a 32,000-word re­search re­port and those who can solve a prob­lem in less than a sec­ond be­cause of the concrete-mixer they hap­pened to see on the way to work. Both those who can think straight and those who can think round corners. I have been asked to speak at an event on diver­sity in ad­ver­tis­ing by my chief ex­ec­u­tive. Apart from talk­ing about the im­por­tance of diver­sity at con­fer­ences, my com­pany has done noth­ing to en­gen­der mean­ing­ful change de­spite the best ef­forts of ju­nior staff. Should I tell the truth? What a happy co­in­ci­dence. We were just talk­ing about diver­sity. This seems an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity for you to goad your CEO into ac­tu­ally do­ing some­thing. Re­veal to the con­fer­ence your agency’s de­tailed and fully funded plans to in­crease lev­els of diver­sity – par­tic­u­larly of the kind fea­tured above. Be sure that you give your CEO full pub­lic praise for his vi­sion and lead­er­ship. Then, af­ter the con­fer­ence, thank your CEO for the sup­port he gave you and show him a com­pi­la­tion of the praise he re­ceived in his ab­sence for the far­sight­ed­ness of his de­tailed and fully funded plans. Among those who most ad­mired his ini­tia­tives are a few po­ten­tial clients. Oh, yes. It cer­tainly counts as non-work­ing to spend tens of thou­sands of pounds on on­line ads that no­body sees. Or agree­ing to the de­sign of a 48- sheet poster that might have been OK as a DPS but is to­tally in­de­ci­pher­able from pass­ing traf­fic. Or ex­pect­ing your con­sumers to do your work for you by in­struct­ing them to visit your web­site. Oh, blimey. What kind of col­umn do you think this is? Talk to your fu­ture wife or your fu­ture hus­band, not me. It’s your wed­ding, not mine. If you see your wed­ding as a po­ten­tially crit­i­cal event in your ca­reer path, I fear for both your ca­reer and your mar­riage.

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