AAAA Launches Initiative to Increase Diversity Representation in Advertising Industry

AAAA Launches Initiative to Increase Diversity Representation in Advertising Industry


New York, NY–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–September 22, 2004–The American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), with the endorsement of chief executive officers from six of the industry’s world-wide communications firms, today launched “Operation Success,” a program to increase ethnic diversity and inclusiveness in key operational areas of the advertising business.

“For years we have recognized and worked to address the issue of increasing minority representation in our industry,” said O. Burtch Drake, president and chief executive officer, AAAA. “Operation Success provides the framework, the high level of executive involvement and the comprehensive plan to produce improved results.”

Endorsing the initiative are: David Bell, chairman and chief executive officer, Interpublic; Maurice Levy, chairman and chief executive officer, Publicis Groupe; Edward Meyer, president and chief executive officer, Grey Global Group; Alain de Pouzilhac, chairman and chief executive, Havas; Martin Sorrell, chief executive, WPP; John Wren, president and chief executive officer, Omnicom Group.

Operation Success is designed to build on earlier initiatives developed by the advertising industry to introduce ethnically and racially diverse students to the advertising industry. Through successful programs such as the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) and through generous scholarship support from the AAAA Foundation and others, scores of African-American, Latino and Asian-American young professionals have joined the advertising industry in both creative and account management positions. Operation Success seeks to go beyond these successful programs to provide a comprehensive set of opportunities across all levels of the industry with a commitment for improvement coming from senior advertising executives.

Operation Success will focus on three areas:

— Employee recruitment and retention

Firms with expertise in diversity will be identified. Contacts with core professional organizations in each ethnic market will be expanded. Minority-owned recruiting firms will be retained to identify candidates for employment to develop a diverse slate of candidates. A database of established professionals will be developed.

— Training and development

A mentoring program will support the existing formal, internal mentoring programs such as MAIP. The development of senior-level mentoring programs at each agency and across agencies will be encouraged. Industry-wide networking initiatives will be supported. Measurements and tracking mechanisms will be defined.

Training programs will include an AAAA coordinated program in conjunction with CUNY/Medgar Evers College and historically black colleges and universities and other educational institutions with strong minority enrollment to provide information, training, and education on advertising and careers in the advertising industry. Advertising agency executives will be encouraged to serve as instructors, mentors and resources for students in the program.

— Vendor and supplier relationships

Participating agencies in consultation with their clients will make coordinated efforts to increase the use of minority subcontractors. In addition, the AAAA will publish a resource directory and convene a supplier trade show to facilitate the use of minority suppliers to the advertising industry.

This program encourages and supports the utilization of minority vendors and suppliers throughout the business. Toward that end, the program encourages agencies to partner with such organizations as the New York-New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council, which has a solid record of leadership in the area of minority supplier development.

The program is also designed to:

— engage industry insiders and other resources to assist in developing best practices to increase diversity; and,

— build a process that is inclusive of key organizations and individuals that impact local advertising communities.

About the AAAA

The American Association of Advertising Agencies is the national trade association of the dvertising agency business. The 1,196 member agency offices it serves in the United States employ 65,000 people, offer a wide range of marketing communications services, and place 80 percent of all national advertising. The management-oriented association helps its members build their businesses, and acts as the industry’s spokesperson with government, media, and the public sector.




Kipp Cheng




Cecilia Carter


AAAA Launches Initiative to Increase Diversity Representation in Advertising Industry