The Madison Avenue Project was formed by the NAACP and Mehri & Skalet, PLLC to reverse the widespread, entrenched discrimination against African American professionals employed in the advertising industry. For more than forty years, the advertising industry has been investigated and charged by government agencies for discriminatory employment practices which resulted in a deficiency of African American new hires and promotions. The industry has fallen far short in adequately addressing these disparities. The Madison Avenue Project seeks to redress the historical discrimination against African American advertising professionals and to create systematic changes in the culture, policies, and practices of the advertising agencies to promote diversity and equality.
- African-American advertising employees are underpaid in the advertising industry
- Black college graduates working in advertising earn $.80 for every dollar earned by their equally-qualified White counterparts
- Black managers and professionals are only one-tenth as likely as their White counterparts to earn $100,000 a year
- African-Americans are under-hired in the advertising industry
- African-Americans should be 9.6% of the managers and professionals (based on national demographic data), but in 2008, only 5.3% of managers and professionals were African-American – a difference of 7,200 African-Americans “missing” from the professional and managerial ranks at advertising agencies
- About 16% of large advertising firms employ no Black managers or professionals, a rate 60% higher than in the overall labor market
- African-American employees are under-utilized in the advertising industry
- Blacks are only 62% as likely as their White counterparts to work in the powerful “creative” and “client contact” functions in agencies
- African-Americans are often excluded from “general market” agencies and find work only in agencies specializing in “ethnic markets”
Since the Madison Avenue Project was launched—at a press conference
in New York City on January 8, 2009—the Project has received an enormous outpouring of support. We greatly appreciate your support and especially those who have been willing to share their stories. To change the advertising industry, it will require the collaboration of the civil rights leaders, attorneys, and industry activists who created the Project and you. If you are employed in the advertising industry and believe that you may have been discriminated against, please contact us.