Minnesota based General Mills is looking for an ad agency committed to diversity. In its recent advertising bid, General Mills “wants the creative departments in agencies bidding for its business to be staffed at least half by women and 20 percent by people of color.” Although it is unclear whether the final five firms looking to win the contract meet these requirements, it is clear General Mills is looking to push the conversation forward.
Advertising, technology, manufacturing, and other industries have had a rough history when it comes to female and minority representation. Recent comments from high ranking officers have only added to the stereotype that the ad industry doesn’t see value in promoting women or minorities to high level positions. Despite these outward industry appearances, much is being done to change things. Organizations like BrandLab (“which seeks to double the percentage of minorities in advertising in Minnesota’s Twin Cities by next year”), and the 3% Conference, (“a national group seeking to raise the number of women in creative director positions at ad agencies”) are looking to push the ceiling of representation higher.
Inserting these requirements on a $700 million contract definitely puts the industry on notice, and I guarantee that if other companies follow suit, many changes will be made at an astronomical rate. The US population is becoming increasingly diverse, and corporations are taking notice.