M&C’s Justin Tindall takes a kicking for diversity comment

Poor Justin Tindall (left), now CCO of M&C Saatchi after a long and distinguished stint at Leo Burnett, has written what can only be described as a grovel in Campaign (hope you can read this despite the paywall) for remarking in a Private View column that he was “bored of diversity being prioritised over talent.”

Diversity in this sense taken to mean women in adland, or that’s how Cheil creative director Caitlin Ryan took it as she led the charge against Tindall.

In truth, if you ask many people in London’s adland (including some women), they too are bored with some aspect6s of the diversity issue although, as Tindall has just discovered, it’s currently dangerous to say so.

Which is pretty ominous, if you think about it. Just because you’re bored with an issue – and certain publications have been beating the diversity drum to such an extent that one’s hearing started to suffer – doesn’t mean that you don’t think women deserve an equal share (don’t know anybody who thinks that) or that adland has, historically, been far too much of a boy’s club.

Should Tindall have responded to the criticism – which was a touch over the top in my view – in such a way?

Maybe he had no choice. But it’s rather worrying that we seem to be in an era where advertising has its own thought police.

PS. While we’re on diversity I see from Adweek that former JWT global boss Gustavo Martinez, who certainly isn’t top of the pro-diversity lobby’s love list, has surfaced as WPP’s country manager in Spain. This despite WPP’s claim in the ongoing suit against him brought by Erin Johnson (below), that he was working for the company “ad hoc.” Funny old world..

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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