AdAge, the same publication that first broke the news on Stan Richards, shared that of all the agencies across the United States doing national work, women-owned agencies comprise the .1 percent (no, that decimal is not misplaced). This means that, as a woman-owned marketing and creative agency, Langrand has a handful of peers across the country. Consider that I am Latina, and the statistic shrinks ever closer to zero.
Our industry and its creative output reflect the limitations of a very narrow perspective—the people who work at advertising agencies—who, like the tech industry, are disproportionately male, white and economically privileged.
Stan’s remarks also beg the bigger question of our work—and what we do in the service of that work. The purpose of advertising is to sell. That means finding out what motivates people to act (and buy), what they believe in and identify with, and, if you’re good—how to change their minds. And too often what we’ve done as an industry is reduced people to crude categories and served up stereotyped representations to sell. If you’d like to see the dark side of this—look no further than the current political climate and the advertising landscape in our most recent presidential election.
As people who work in advertising, we understand our power to shape how people think and feel. But, do we use our platform to move discourse forward, or are we finding new and creative ways to simply stay mired in the collective muck?