Term Paper: Affirmative Action in Hiring

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[. . .] It does not matter what the audience ratings for the station are. This has reduced the income of these stations by an average of 63%. The practice is very widespread as 91% of the broadcasters targeted to these segments had experienced NUD according to the results of the survey. (Advertisers avoid Black Media) Thus it is clear that there are some practical difficulties for the advertising industry to give opportunities to the deserving candidates from the minority communities. For some people, at sometime, the truth may be unpalatable.

There is confirmation through the FCC report that some advertising decisions are still being influenced by old stereotyped thinking like "prospects not suspects." The study was authored by Ofori who said that the client was presented with a lot of marketing data which showed that the audience catered to by the particular radio station was clearly the types who were likely to buy cars like the Volvo, and which cost as much as Volvos. In spite of the data, the dealer continued to say that they were not interested. The discussions then went up to the chief of the dealership station, and he simply said that they did not want advertising on that station. It then became clear to even Ofori that the decision was not being taken based on business as the marketing data was being ignored.

The dealership had judged that they will not be associated with the audience that was being contacted by that station. Thus some members are not interested only in the sale of their products, but also interested in controlling the image of their product. They probably have a fear that if the product is used by or associated with blacks, they would end up losing the white customers. This analysis was felt to be true by a number of black groups like the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Media Access Project, and the Urban Institute. (Advertisers avoid Black Media)

The reduction in revenue has lead to the demise of some of these stations. There was only one black owned radio station in Phoenix. This had to stop broadcasting, mainly due to the lack of income from advertising. The FCC study had specifically found out the reasons for NUD policies to be based on stereotyped thoughts, untrue concepts about disposable income and the result of an attempt to maintain certain images about the whites. The Urban Institute has found out a list of companies with NUD policies and some of them exist in the Valley. These companies just ignore the available studies like the 2002 Arbitron Black Consumer Study. This study had highlighted the strength of the purchasing power of the blacks. For example very few know that 64% of the blacks use the Internet. (Meridith. My View, Diversity in advertising fights prejudice, attracts buyers) Similarly, there was a study by Kang and Lee Inc. regarding the strengths of the Asian market. They had even given a talk on this at the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Thus many available facts and figures are being ignored. An important reason for this has been pointed out by Samuel Chisolm, the chief executive of Chisolm-Mingo group. They are the largest independent U.S. black advertising firm. He has said that there are very few colored people within the advertising industry. Today there are fewer blacks within the industry as compared to the numbers in the 1980s and 1990s. They are probably less than 1%. When the people in an agency are diverse, each of them provide their own touch of color, and that creates a difference. They use words differently, use images differently, colors differently and interpret events differently. This often appeals to the different people - the people who are similar to them. (Meridith. My View, Diversity in advertising fights prejudice, attracts buyers)

To a certain extent the minorities, especially the blacks are being advertised to, both in the local markets as also the national markets, there has not been much change for the better for them in the total advertising industry. In the industry, there are very few advertising firms of African-American origin who are hired to do any work. Even when they are hired, their budgets are very small compared to the budgets received by white firms for the same type of work. When it seems that they are likely to succeed, the clients put in obstacles so that they can achieve only limited success. Sometimes the client will also put a negative interpretation on the responses received in relation to the advertising. When the campaigns become successful, the agency is rarely rewarded with bigger or better contracts for advertising, or even given better terms.

These types of stories are cited by all of the African-American owned agencies from all parts of the country and are not unique to any particular agency. The white owned agencies combine with the companies in the United States to achieve this end. Their objective is to put up more obstacles on the path of progress for African-American agencies. Among the cities, Pittsburgh may have the worst record of all cities. There are very few agencies there in the upper ranks with black origin, and there are no such agencies in the lower group. This city also does not produce new black agencies which are able to maintain their staff for more than five years. The programs for diversifying industry are quite unsuccessful and very few of the blacks get jobs in the advertising industry. There was an article on October 14th, 1996 in Minority Business Times with the title of "Marketing to Minorities" on this subject. This is a bad joke, as the author did not consult a single African-American advertising agency for their views and examples.

All the overt and subtle issues faced everyday by a black consumer cannot be understood by a white-owned agency. The white owned agencies do not like to work with the blacks, except when they are forced into it. They call in the black owned firms as sub-agencies to help them win the contract. After they are able to win the contract, they just pass on a few token orders to the black agency. Today, there is a lot of noise being made about affirmative action for the minorities in advertising agencies, but there is no enforcement of this in the agency world. (Bynum. Solutions to the lack of blacks in the advertising industry)

In the city of Phoenix, the volume of advertising done by the black owned agencies are a pittance according to Ray Arvizu, who is the owner of the fifth largest agency and the biggest agency owned by the blacks. The other black owned companies are relatively of recent origin and comparatively small firms like Southwest Dimensions, AMMI and Turbo Advertising. These firms are mostly attending to ethnic marketing. On the other side, one must remember that the city of Phoenix has a one-third population of minorities, and the representation of blacks in advertising is much smaller than proper in relation to their population. This deficiency has been attributed to the lack of mentors and role models by Renetta McCann, CEO of Starcom NA, and they are one of the largest media companies in the country.

The black agencies also do not have informal networks and when they are successful on some projects, their success is not played up. In addition, for the city of Phoenix, there is no endorsement of the black agencies by the prominent minority cult figures or sportsmen. This could help them in local advertising. They also do not do enough of sub-contracting within themselves, and have not built up an organization to solve their own problems. The black agencies have to use the available information and trends to improve their own decision making regarding advertising. They have to attract better customers, and for this purpose, the agencies must be diversified. The stereotypes and prejudices have to be overcome by using the trends in sales and marketing. (Meridith. My View, Diversity in advertising fights prejudice, attracts buyers)

It is clear that the position of black Americans in advertising needs to be corrected. For this action is required from both the clients and the black community. To achieve this, the first step is the signing of regular, ongoing and retainer-based contracts with the black agencies by the clients as is signed with the white agencies. Unless the clients give a long-term commitment, the agency will not find it possible to hire and train people, do pro bono work or have any long-range plans. The second action to be taken by the clients is that they must have more faith in the black agency and treat it to be just as valid and carrying equal weight of the advice given by the white agency, as long as the person is qualified and the advice is supported by adequate research. Another contribution towards development may be the passing on… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Affirmative Action in Hiring.  (2003, November 9).  Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/affirmative-action-hiring/7988031

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"Affirmative Action in Hiring."  Essaytown.com.  November 9, 2003.  Accessed April 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/affirmative-action-hiring/7988031.