Hadji Williams Explains The Perils Of Multicultural Advertising

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Hadji Williams’ Knock The Hustle is one of the best books about advertising ever written.
But for a free sample of how insightful a writer Hadji is, check out his guest column on Talent Zoo, in which he explains just how multicultural advertising goes so wrong sometimes. Here, Hadji talks about what often happens when multicultural agencies take on projects on behalf of “general market” agencies:

The agency (oftentimes begrudgingly) takes the gig, knowing full well the surest way to do hack work is to bite someone else’s idea, which is exactly what they’ve been asked to do. What often follows are a couple of frustrating meetings with the client/AOR where the targeted agency explains that the general market’s insights really don’t apply to their particular community and that they’d be better off doing fresh creative/fresh strategies all together, to which the AOR/client often responds, “Yes, but for the sake of synergy, let’s stay on message, okay guys? Thanks.”
Eventually, the ethnic agency spits out something and into the review process it goes. The AOR/Client sees it. They’re uncomfortable with some of the language and the imagery. It’s unfamiliar to them. Why? Because as with as least 80% of white Americans, The Client/AOR Folks live in virtually all white neighborhoods (according to the US Census Bureau as of 2003). These concepts are concepts are pretty foreign to them.

About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.