Dan Wieden, founder and head of Weiden + Kennedy, gave a thoughtful and impassioned pitch at the 4As conference on why diversity matters and why advertising agencies must get their act together.
My favorite quote: The issue of diversity "continues to gnaw at me because, like it or not, in this business I essentially hire a bunch of white, middle-class kids, pay them enormous, enormous sums of money to do what? To create messages to the inner-city kids who create the culture the white kids are trying like hell to emulate."
The imperative to create a more diverse agency culture is not something we should do because it is politically correct. It's something we must do to ensure the long-term success of our industry.
We are in the business of helping clients build their business through our unique ability to understand and connect with main street America. We've done this well over the years largely because we tended to mirror the face of America.
As the American landscape continues to become more diverse, so must we, or risk falling out of touch with consumers and becoming less capable of providing clients with fresh, relevant ideas.