"As advertising budgets shrink, companies are increasingly targeting individual market segments--including people of color," Bush said. "But if agencies don't have people of color on their staffs, such actions can appear to border on exploitation."
A growing number of agencies agree with that assessment. And that's why one national ad group, the Washington-based American Advertising Federation, has recently hired a consultant to put together a program--on a national scale--similar to the Los Angeles project.
"It's not just a social issue anymore--it's an economic issue as well," said Beverly Steele, who helped set up the Los Angeles training program and is now consulting for the AAF. The national program will eventually attempt to interest minorities in the ad trade by sponsoring ad competitions for minority youths in middle schools and high schools.
Said Steele: "We at least want to make more minority kids aware that the career exists."
Briefly . . .
Space Marketing Inc., the Roswell, Ga.-based firm that put an ad for the film "Last Action Hero" on the side of a rocket, now says it is seeking a major advertiser to put its name on a mile-long billboard visible from space as it orbits Earth. . . . After a strained, two-year partnership, Paul Keye has left the Venice agency Livingston & Keye, where he was chairman, but will continue consulting on anti-smoking ads for the California Department of Health Services.