As the country, and the world, has become more connected, the fact is that we are truly becoming a multi-cultural society. Through the ease of communication and travel, and as minority groups have begun to grow in numbers, the old notions and tactics of general-market advertising agencies have become less relevant by the day. Unfortunately, it seems as though no one has given these agencies the memo.
Minority populations, generally defined as African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans, have grown to account for close to 35% of the overall population in the United States, and many predict that these groups will account for close to 50% of the population within half of a century. With this data, it's quite clear that these groups should be catered to in terms of advertising; but they're not.
Although there are more and more advertising agencies which focus strictly on multi-cultural advertising, many general-market agencies are still refusing to take such agencies on board. Most of these multi-cultural agencies are overlooked when a company is seeking an Agency of Record for a general-market campaign, and this divide often leads to an uneven playing field. The smaller, newer multi-cultural agencies are often dismissed as "specialty" agencies, and in turn, they are rarely chosen or even given a chance when it comes to leading general-market assignments.
The problem in this, however, is that multi-cultural agencies often produce material which resonates with general markets in addition to ethnic groups. This essentially means that a company seeking an ad agency would be able to get the best of both worlds by seeking out a multi-cultural agency.
As time goes on, and as minority groups continue to grow and break free from the term "minority," it seems clear that companies seeking ads will eventually see the benefit in partnering with a multi-cultural agency. Will general-market agencies see this benefit? Possibly in time, but by then, it may be too late.
Read more at Forbes.