Students speak out: Publicis Media MCTP attendees talk agency futures and inclusion efforts

Publicis Media's annual Multicultural Talent Pipeline (MCTP) summit serves as an educational immersion for students from multicultural backgrounds to further their understanding of an ad industry that still has a way to go to properly include their viewpoints.

This year, 120 college students gathered from around the US to attend the conference. The event focused on potential careers in marketing and media, and the road being paved for a more inclusive industry.

Among those in attendance to help guide the young professionals as they considered their ad industry career options: Publicis Media agencies Moxie, Zenith, MRY, and Spark Foundry, as well as Verizon, Univision, Pandora Radio, the T Howard Foundation, and the Ad Club of New York. Miss America 2019, Nia Franklin, was also in attendance as a special guest.

The Drum spoke to a few industry prospects at MCTP to gather their perspective on where agencies are going and steps the industry can take to foster better inclusion practices.

Tyler Correa, Temple University, PA

Advertising agencies are lacking diversity. When I say diversity, I mean representation. Whether that be ethnic representation or female representation in C-suite positions. Advertising has been dominated by white males and there need to be steps taken to start integrating diversity more.

One way they can do this is by holding pipeline events such as the one that Publicis held for college students. More agencies need to stop talking the talk and actually start walking the walk — not only by holding programs to show the world they care about diversity and inclusion, but also by actually hiring a diverse group of people to help run their agencies. I’ve had the opportunity to attend other diversity events, but based on the one that Publicis held, I could tell that diversity is really at the heart of what they want for the future and more agencies need to show that and preach that.

Nathan Moore, Howard University, DC

I believe that, currently, the advertising industry ... is in a perfect predicament, because it has the opportunity to further its reach through advancements in technology, while also catering to a more diverse demographic. Through the developments in social media — particularly live streaming and in-post advertisements, innovation of augmented reality, and changes to the demographic landscape, advertisers have more opportunities to reach their consumers.

To be more inclusive, the industry should continue to support crowdsourcing. Not only do advertisers get free idea generation, but crowdsourcing also promotes diversity of thought.

Nudrat Kadir, Baruch College, NY

The advertising industry is in an interesting place. You see concepts such as AI enter the playing field at the same time that people are becoming more aware of the transparency and targeting coming to advertising.

As for inclusion, I think the biggest step agencies can take is being more aware of it — in terms of both gender makeup and ethnicity. Awareness feels like half the battle, and practicing the empathy to listen to others' concerns brings us closer to a more inclusive workplace.

Logan DiFranco, Appalachian State University, NC

The advertising industry is catching up with the rest of our world; however, it is still behind. Advertising has a great influence on change within a society, so if anything it should be more progressive.

There are many things I hope to see happen in “the business” in the coming years, such as using pronouns regularly and better displaying the diversity of the world we live in. I will admit, advertising is well on its way of being inclusive, but this industry sets standards and I hope it will continue to raise the standards for itself.