Madison Avenue Project

The Madison Avenue Project was born from remarkable research commissioned about the lack of African-American executives in the advertising industry. In 2009, we discovered that racial discrimination is 38% worse in the advertising industry than in the overall U.S. labor market, and that the “discrimination divide” between advertising and other U.S. industries is more than twice as bad now as it was 30 years ago. The study found that African-Americans suffered a shortfall of 7,200 jobs in the industry and were paid 20% less on average than their white counterparts with comparable experience and education.

The study generated significant press coverage and buzz in the advertising industry, and in 2010 led to our filing EEOC charges against ad companies on behalf of several affected individuals.

The Project has also shed light on the advertising industry’s most coveted media spots – Super Bowl commercials. We found that of the 52 professionally produced industry ads that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl, all of the creative directors were white, and only 6% were women. Clearly, the American advertising world has been dominated by an insider network of white men. The Madison Avenue Project will continue to expose this systemic injustice and work to overcome it.

Madison Avenue Project Media Coverage