- The ANA announced its Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) Monday, a group made up of industry leaders from African American, Hispanic, Asian and LGBT backgrounds. The announcement follows the organization's 2016 Multicultural Excellence Awards.
- Alliance goals include finding ways to discuss and deal with diversity in the advertising and marketing industry, drawing up best practices for multicultural marketing and developing a multicultural marketing knowledge center.
- For the first year, AIMM will be open by invitation only. ANA CEO Bob Liodice will co-chair the group with Michael Lacorazza, the EVP of brand and advertising integrated marketing at Wells Fargo, and it already includes brands like Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, NBC Universal and more.
A string of public controversies and discrimination lawsuits throughout the year — including against J. Walter Thompson and Saatchi & Saatchi — have illustrated how harmful and limiting a lack of diversity and multiculturalism can be for the advertising industry, and the ANA is clearly looking to tackle the problem head-on with AIMM and its ambitious set of goals.
Diversity shortcomings indeed extend far beyond isolated incidents at the executive level, and will take concentrated efforts like AIMM to correct: A couple of weeks ago, 4A’s released a report that found 74% of members believe diversity hiring practices are “mediocre or worse” at agencies, with 20% saying they're flat-out “terrible.” Another half of those surveyed claimed agencies are discriminatory.
While AIMM is invitation-only for now — not necessarily the most inclusive approach — it's already drawing on a large pool of major brands like Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch to facilitate its message and best practices.
"Our strategic intent is to reach out to all constituencies in order to collectively make a difference in realizing the potential of multicultural marketing," Liodice said in the release announcing the alliance.