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General Mill pitch: agencies must have 50% women and 20% people of color in creative department

The General Mill general review is still on, and Ad Age reports that there's an unusual demand on the competing agencies: General Mills is requiring that participating agencies are staffed with at least 50% women and 20% people of color within the creative department.

While a lot of agencies actually meet that requirement in the agency as a whole -- if you venture out from the creative department to production, art buying, traffic and accounts -- it's not all that common with literally 50-50 male female in the creative department. In fact, Robert Senior, worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi made a statement when Kevin Roberts was in hot water bragging about their 65%: "Indeed, I’m very proud to be able to say that 65 per cent of our staff are female, and it is to our great benefit that we have women in senior leadership roles across our business."

General Mills Chief Marketing Officer Ann Simonds, is running the review with Chief Creative Officer Michael Fanuele. Regarding the diversity requirement Simonds says: "we are very excited about that. If you are going to put people you serve first, the most important thing is to live up to it and make it a key criteria." Mr. Fanuele said the company also made sure to specify that there is diversity not just in the agency but within its creative department. "Agencies are fairly diverse in account and strategic planning, but not with the people who are making the work," he said.

"It feels like a first" in the industry, Ms. Simonds said. "I think it's rare and it is important."

The demographics of the United states are 50.8 percent female and 49.2 percent male. African americans are the largest racial minority group in the united states making up 13.2%, while the largest ethnic minority is hispanics and latino americans with 17% of the US population, and they include all races. Asians Americans are 4.8% of the entire population. The term "people of color" encompasses all non-white groups, who make up 27.6% of the entire US population.

General Mill is proceeding the review with some shops not currently on its roster, including Deutsch and Mother, one of the agencies is colloquially known as "white bread" in Los angeles. Incumbents included in the second round are the bromance agency 72andsunny - famous for their sex-obsessed Carl's Jr work and doing anything that includes celebrities - McCann Erickson, and a holding company solution from Publicis Groupe instead of Saatchi itself.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces the law which makes it illegal discriminate against someone on the basis of race, sex color, religion, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.

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