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Rebranding Diversity
July 25, 2012 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Colorblind Racism Inside the U.S. Advertising Industry. A dissertation by Chris Boulton. [15:13 Vimeo]

Boulton examines the structure of internships in the advertising industry, finding that while the industry claims it is a way to get diversity in advertising, it actually serves as a way to uphold patterns of systemic discrimination. Boulton offers examples, stories and vignettes gathered through research, and presents best practices for the industry to implement.
posted by cashman (14 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Has he actually worked in advertising? Not snarking, just asking. And whee--Powerpoint.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:40 PM on July 25, 2012


Well, its a PPT, but done in a very analytic style and not embellished with stupid tricks to distract from any deficiency . If anything, I thought he could have included more data.

Didn't get the impression that he had worked in the industry actually, but I don't see that as important. In fact, it probably is a plus as he seemed to be able to approach the subject with less bias from any experience whether it be negative or positive. Any industry specific ideas were easily digested and incorporated into the study.

Very interesting. I am going to have to watch it again before commenting further. If just to get used to the terminology.
posted by lampshade at 9:38 PM on July 25, 2012


Ideefixe: "Has he actually worked in advertising? Not snarking, just asking. And whee--Powerpoint."

Powerpoint is a tool. Not sure why his choice of a popular tool for the task at hand diminishes the importance of his message, except to that hipster sector that revels in hating on the uncoolness of popular paths.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:41 PM on July 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Not sure why his choice of a popular tool for the task at hand diminishes the importance of his message
The medium is the message, and all. You wouldn't take something seriously if it were written in crayon. Visuals can help with a presentation when they are actually showing visual information, like graphs or photographs that can't effectively be described.

The problem with powerpoint is explained here, and these slides are very much in line with the worst kind of poor uses of powerpoint.

Of course, there is always the possibility that the people you are communicating with expect power point and so you kind of have to use it.
posted by delmoi at 11:02 PM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I feel like I'd be fine with the powerpoint presentation, but the audio made it sound like a fella in a noisy computer-filled room. I'd love to see this presentation with a bit more professionalism, cut down by about 10 minutes and using actual clips of his examples.

Not meaning to snark, merely saying that this is difficult to send to the people who could most benefit from the data.
posted by revmitcz at 12:32 AM on July 26, 2012


as a follow-up to my comment, here's an amazing example of great presentation regarding race issues : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Ti-gkJiXc
posted by revmitcz at 12:51 AM on July 26, 2012


Damnit, forgot to actually link the video in question
posted by revmitcz at 12:52 AM on July 26, 2012


I thought his argument was interesting, but he slightly buried his lede: his main arguments are that internships are the way in to the industry, cronyism for internships is extremely prevalent, and for the few non-whites that get through the process low pay for new starters biases against those without private incomes.

Overall though, the most telling finding that comes through - anecdotally, is the many and various ways people in the industry don't see it as a problem.

And seriously? We're snarking at the guy's use of powerpoint? Sure, it lacked visuals, but the message was clearly delivered with a strong underlying narrative. He's presenting a summary of a text heavy dissertation to a panel. We have no idea what protocols they ask for. Also, for all his notability in data visualisation, Tufte is categorically no expert on powerpoint. His criticisms of it and examples in The Cognitive Style.. date from the mid nineties, when nearly all pp presentations were crap. His criticisms were well out of date by the time he published in 2003.

That said, personally I'd have liked to see this presentation done in the style of Robert Crumb, but with less cartoons, and four and a half minutes long. And in Serbo Croat.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:49 AM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


the audio made it sound like a fella in a noisy computer-filled room.

At the end he thanks his committee and mentions that they're facing him, so I think that's exactly what it was.

I agree with lampshade that he could have included more data. With what little he gave, it almost felt like he was jumping to a lot of conclusions. I'm not saying that he did, nor am I saying that those conclusions are necessarily unfounded, just that it could have used more supporting material. But I guess that's what's in the actual full dissertation.
posted by JaredSeth at 3:48 AM on July 26, 2012


I know of one or two agencies in Chicago that could improve the diversity of their employees by just not hiring from the same Big 10 schools all the damn time.

Seriously- you can't get anything done for almost the entire month of march
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:26 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


For data, it was nice to have a hard number on the "must hires."
posted by RobotHero at 8:12 AM on July 26, 2012


delmoi: The medium is the message, and all. You wouldn't take something seriously if it were written in crayon. Visuals can help with a presentation when they are actually showing visual information, like graphs or photographs that can't effectively be described.
I'd think anyone an idiot who dissed a well-communicated presentation just because crayons were involved - we engineers regularly diagram important ideas with anything at hand on napkins & backs of discarded paper.
The problem with powerpoint is explained here, and these slides are very much in line with the worst kind of poor uses of powerpoint.
So, Tufte's point is that if a Powerpoint presentation is cluttered, or the presenter does nothing more than read off bullet points, the presentation would suck. He's right; it would. But not because it's in Powerpoint; simply because the presentation style sucked. Tufte misses his very own point by a mile, so I can see now why you think Powerpoint is bad.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:22 AM on July 26, 2012


How can we even have this discussion properly in this font?
posted by srboisvert at 4:47 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]



I thought his argument was interesting, but he slightly buried his lede: his main arguments are that internships are the way in to the industry, cronyism for internships is extremely prevalent, and for the few non-whites that get through the process low pay for new starters biases against those without private incomes.


So it's like publishing, then. (Editorial side, not, like, accounting side.)
posted by subdee at 7:16 AM on July 27, 2012


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