Wieden's 4As Return: The need for racial diversity and equality in the US advertising agency business 

Geoffrey Precourt
WARC Online

Geoffrey Precourt, WARC Online's US editor, reports from the 4A's 2009 Leadership Conference in San Francisco. For his full coverage of the event, visit WARC Online's conference blog .


The visit of Dan Wieden, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) most celebrated non-member, to its 2009 Leadership Conference only lasted an hour. But his session was just long enough to endorse one of the 4As' primary initiatives.

The subject of his remarks was racial imbalance in the agency business. Specifically, he told the story of a period of forced retreat he took from Wieden+Kennedy, the Portland, OR agency he co-founded 27 years ago, to pursue oceanographic studies. "After three weeks of counting waves and knowing every seagull by name, I thought, 'This is not going to work.' I couldn't get back to the city quickly enough.