A guest columnist at TalentZoo examines the relationship between clients, major advertising agencies, and smaller, ethnically focused agencies in an article entitled "Lost in Translation: Why so much multicultural advertising is still so bad".
When large agencies use "targeted" agencies as "boycott repellent," the article states, but don't allow them to propose new ideas or changes to the campaign because of fear of going off-message, the result is ethnic campaigns that are stereotypical and even offensive. The reason?
"Synergy, kids. Synergy. The images of ethnic folks presented by the targeted agency must be consistent with the preconceived notions of said ethnic folks held by the client/AOR/General Market consumer base. Otherwise, it's liable to make all involved think a little too hard about things other than the USP."
Adrants offers a solution: trust. If the large agencies can trust that a smaller, focused agency can contribute something valuable - if they can trust that campaigns can and should be changed so to appeal to different groups - both advertisers and consumers will benefit.