Madison Avenue Project
NEW YORK The effort to substantially increase African-American representation in the advertising industry has shifted to a client outreach phase, with the NAACP writing letters to the leaders of top-spending advertisers, including Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley. In a letter dated Monday ( READ LETTER), NAACP interim general counsel Angela Ciccolo asked Lafley to "instruct your advertising agencies to use diverse teams in creative and account management positions" and to address the relative paucity of African-Americans in advertising "as forcefully and effectively as its importance to your firm and the nation requires." The letter further suggests that P&G identify a senior executive to meet with the NAACP, which is partnering with civil rights law firm Mehri & Skalet on the diversity initiative, known as the Madison Avenue Project. The letter includes findings from a previously released report that quantifies what initiative leaders describe as wide gaps in representation, income levels and promotion opportunities between black and white employees that have existed for decades. The report asserts, for example, that entry-level black workers, on average, make 80 cents for every dollar earned by their white counterparts, and that based in part on black representation in other industries, African-Americans should comprise 9.6 percent of the industry's U.S workforce of 167,000, not the current 5.3 percent.