Friday, April 8, 2022

Rock of Ageism.

Maybe it was growing up during Vietnam, when the anti-war movement--which was really an anti-lie movement--did it to me.

Maybe it was seeing Nixon and Agnew truthed-out-of-office by an investigative press.

Maybe it was something else. Accounts of torture and barbarity by American contractors in the Middle East. Slavery conditions in America's prisons. Attica. Love Canal. Unsafe at any speed.

Whatever it was that did it to me, I've always believed in a fact-based adversarial press and I've always believed in the need for and the power of true investigative journalism. In fact, in years gone by, there was even investigative journalism among the small core of reporters who covered the advertising industry.

Today, with so much malfeasance (and probably criminality) going on, there is no institution like the press wagging a finger at the big holding companies and their miscreance, lies and illegalities.

Two years ago, every holding company chieftain pledged HIS (it's all older white men) dedication to diversity. You can read a post about it here. What's been done? Why is there no accounting? As a creative, I constantly had my feet held to the fire--I had to get things done. I had to get results. Where is the similar scrutiny against the people making 300-500 times what their median worker gets paid?

What's more, if there were an honest but adversarial press--the traditional press role as gadfly, maybe there'd be someone with the courage to say, "You spend $20 million annually on awards shows. Are you willing to commit half of that, $10 million/year to diversity efforts?"

Where is the press when once again, WPP issues an annual report, downloadable here, where they show the world on page 75 that only nine-percent of their employees are fifty and older and only a total of 27-percent are over 40. 

By the way, data show that people 60+ are unrepresented in WPP by 700-percent. People over 60 14-percent of the world's population. And just 2-percent of WPP's. My statistics are based on worldwide figures. WPP does the bulk of its business in North America and Europe where more than 25-percent of the population is over 60. So people 60+ are underrepresented on the order of 1200-percent.

Reporting from Agency Spy.

Again, you won't read about this anywhere. The so-called trade press is off reprinting press-releases and calling it news. 

Of course, there's Cindy Gallop who's covered this topic. And Bob Hoffman. And myself. 

But no one seems to be listening. If similar there were similar mis-representation that afflicted people of color or women or virtually any group--these holding companies would be fired by their clients, banned from Rose-fueled Bacchanals like Cannes and would be cast as pariahs--shunned by anyone who has a scintilla of interest in upholding their reputation.

What bothers me most, isn't, really the discrimination. It's the lying about it and getting away with it. It's the trade press' absence, and therefore endorsement of serial deceivers that is most pernicious.

Late last week, I did a little research. It's not hard. It took me 15 minutes.

I had read in WPP's Annual Report that they call themselves a "Creative Transformation Company." I tried to ignore the fact that I have no idea what a creative transformation company does. I know what the M&M people do. They make candy. I wouldn't be so sure what they did if they called themselves a "snack-time sucrose-infusion company."


In any event, like I said I did some research. And I found this evidence of 'creative transformation.' It seems that between about 2015 and today, WPP has creatively transformed its workforce by getting rid of one out of every two employees. They've gone from an aggregate of 200,000 employees to just under 100,000.


As above, they're building better futures for their people by getting rid of them.

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