Rainbow PUSH urges Burger King to re-hire black and Hispanic ad agencies
from TMN) The Chicago-based Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC), headed by the Rev Jesse L. Jackson, issued a statement last week asking Burger King to reconsider its plan as quoted in news accounts dropping advertising assignments to it African-American and Hispanic ad agencies of record.
The PUSH demand comes after the New York Times quoted Burger King's top marketing executives as saying they believe the expertise of ethnic ad shops is not necessary because "younger African-American and Hispanic consumers don't necessarily see the world as ethnically divided, but rather as "a melting pot."
Janice L. Mathis, RPC vice president and counsel, said "the remarks attributed to Burger King's chief marketing officer Mike Kapitt are so inappropriate that we believe there must be a better explanation of the company's recent advertising decisions."
While saying that the fast food operator has done a "descent job" in applying diversity and equal opportunity to other aspects of its business, Mathis said "we think this move to end the relationships with minority ad agencies is a mistake."
Rainbow PUSH is asking Burger King to complete its diversity and inclusion survey to determine exactly what the company's business relationship is with the minority community. It is also requesting a meeting to discuss the agency firings.
In addition to announcing that it was cutting its ad assignments to UniWorld Group and LatinWorks, Burger King said it intended to have African-American ads to be created by Wunderman and its Hispanic advertising done by Crispin Porter & Bogusky.
Mathis responded, "There is something deeply troubling about the assumption that white agencies can communicate with everyone and black and brown agencies can communicate only with racial and ethnic minority customers. If there was going to be a change, minority-owned agencies should have been invited to compete for the general market business.
"There is also something grotesquely unfair," Mathis continued, "about relegating black and brown consumers to the role of customers in the apparent belief that whites are most competent to serve as advertising consultants to everyone."