The Model Has Little Room for Agencies Whose Expertise Is Much Needed

Advertising has a new darling concept for everyone to toss around to show how much they get the need to reach an ever expanding and varied target audience. I’m talking about “Total Market,” which was being touted at the ANA Multicultural Conference this year as the solution for addressing the growth of Hispanics and Asians in the U.S. population, and cashing in on the undeniable influence that African Americans exert as trend setters.

I didn’t attend the conference. I was enjoying a badly needed vacation during the same time. But I am very skeptical. The underlying premise is that ethnic agencies are largely unneeded, that the current multicultural marketing model — where general-market and ethnic agencies work in tandem to engage the total population — is not working.

This is true. It’s not working. But the model was never given a fair shot at success. Ethnic agencies have operated on minuscule budgets compared to general-market agencies. And they have had to spend much of their energy providing rationales over and over…

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