In September 2006, the Commission successfully negotiated agreements with the
CEOs of 16 of the City’s largest advertising agencies to boost minority representation
in their creative and managerial positions, and make their firms more reflective of the
City’s diversity. These groundbreaking agreements provide the framework for the hiring,
retention and promotion of minorities and require the agencies to establish recruitment goals and report those goals at the beginning of each year.
Additionally, the agencies are required to report their demographics, and provide data
detailing staff promotions and separations. Should the agencies fail to achieve their goals
in any year, they must hire consultants to assist them in the following year.
The agencies that signed agreements are: Arnold Worldwide and Euro RSCG
Worldwide (HAVAS); BBDO, DDB, Merkley + Partners, and PHD USA (OMNICOM);
Avrett, Free & Ginsberg, Draft New York, FCB New York, and Gotham, Inc (IPG); Grey
Direct, Grey Interactive, Ogilvy & Mather, and Young & Rubicam (WPP); Kaplan Thaler Group, LTD and Saatchi & Saatchi (PUBLICIS GROUPE).
The Commission conducted a two and one-half-year investigation into 16 of the
city’s largest advertising agencies’ hiring, promotion and retention practices following
complaints that minority employment levels in the advertising industry in New York City
had not kept up with other industries and did not reflect the City’s diversity.
Commissioner Patricia L. Gatling (front-center) and her executive staff’s collective efforts resulted in the landmark
diversity agreements with City’s top advertising agencies. (l-r, front) Deputy Commissioner of Community Relations Lee
Hudson, Commissioner Gatling, Director of Communications Betsy Herzog, (l-r, back) Deputy Commissioner/General
Counsel Cliff Mulqueen, Assistant Commissioner of Human Resources Nimer Basha, and Deputy Commissioner of Law Enforcement Avery Mehlman.
The Commission’s investigation revealed that the number of minorities, particularly
African-Americans, had barely increased since the 1960s, when the Commission
held hearings on the same issue. Of 8,000 employees working at the 16 ad firms the
Commission examined, approximately twenty-two percent earned more than $100,000
and only 2.5% of that group were African-American. African-Americans make up one
quarter of New York City’s population.
As a result of the 16 historic diversity agreements, the Commission cancelled public hearings on the issue scheduled for September 25, 2006.