Advertising Veteran Slams Industry in New Book


Thirteen year advertising industry veteran Hadji Williams has published a book, Knock the Hustle: How to Save Your Job And Your Life From Corporate America, which takes a look inside corporate America, focusing on the ad industry, and calls the whole thing a scam with calling diversity a joke and, by design, keeping the ad industry as lily-white as ever; claiming Madison Avenue a place with no morals; calling he agency/client relationship a pimp and ho relationship; citing focus groups and time sheets useless because of continuous cover your ass antics; ridiculing corporate hierarchies with too many bosses and not enough leaders and naming marketers as pied pipers who need to look in the mirror before criticizing pop culture.

While we haven't read the book, our own experience in the industry, while perhaps not as negative as Williams' seems to have been, certainly leads us to believe Williams may not be too far off the mark.

by Steve Hall    Aug- 9-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Publishing   

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That's not even mentioning ad agencies segregate Hispanics, blacks, Asians and other minority groups into their own agencies. In baseball they did something similar, it was called the Negro Leagues.

That leaves a lot of room for mostly preppy boys with little sense of reality to make your commercials.

Posted by: anonymous on August 9, 2005 12:12 PM

FYI, unless I am reading the title wrong from the image, it is "Knock" the Hustle..., not "Know" the Hustle... talk about a call to action.

Posted by: Ben Thoma on August 9, 2005 2:07 PM

Where's the insight?
Why write a book that "illuminates" something that's already blindingly obvious?

Posted by: KRank on August 9, 2005 3:07 PM

I don't know gang, I think advertising is fun, which is why I work in the industry. Our agency has more international flavour than a sweet and sour curry burrito.

Doesn't sound like any of us have read the book - I'll go look for it, sounds interesting - but on the note about Hispanic agencies, etc. It makes sense to keep all the skills in one shop. But like it or not, different cultural groups speak different languages, literally and symbolically. Niche agencies like those have evolved that KICK THE ASSES of the "traditional" shops because they're better in their part of the game. Think about how competition among agencies works. In many cases, it's better to specialize.

Posted by: Sean MacPhedran on August 9, 2005 6:29 PM

I'm with Sean - Ad work is fun and challenging; filled with creative open minded interesting people.

Does the process have flaws? Hell yes. Evolution baby! Like gravity, it's all around us and unstoppable.

It sounds like Hadji Williams is now at the back of the train pushing. That's cool - some push and some pull. Depending on the terrain pushing can work better than pulling.

Posted by: Bruce DeBoer on August 10, 2005 10:02 AM

I sure hope that all marketers don't get tagged as badly as the article seems to imply.We must also keep in mind that marketers are the truest form of entrepreneur known.It is the marketer that puts the sizzle in our burger and the flavor in our fries.

Posted by: wayne on August 12, 2005 8:58 PM

Hadji here... Glad to see some folks are interested. You can visit and download excerpts of the book and read for your self about some of the issues I raised.

I have to admit that it's a pretty aggressive and confrontational title, but as you'll see when you give it a read, the book's pretty well thought out in terms of stating the problems.

And in case you're wondering, yes, every single chapter, including those that deal with race, diversity and culture, are jam-packed with solutions that everyone regardless of their place on the flowchart can impliment.

hopefully this is the beginning of a much needed conversation...

Oh, by the way, when it comes to what are known as "genral market" agencies (those run by and targeting mainstream, ie. white consumers) and "targeted agencies" (those run by/targeting consumers of color--blacks, hispanics and asians) there are huge discrepancies in not only hiring, but in how accounts are awarded.

Can anyone explain to me, for example, why "targeted agenices" are not allowed to pitch general market accounts when they come up for review? According to Adweek, marketers spent $145 billion in 2004 on marketing and advertising, yet less than 4% was spent with agencies and vendors of color.

Conversely, general market agencies do a poor job of recruiting professionals of color.

Personally, I've been blessed in that i've worked pretty steady at a variety of agencies over the last 13 years, but in many cases, to be perfectly honest, i was brought in to fill a quota despite my high-claiber of work.

From all my research and experiences that have been relayed to me by other professionals--hispanic, asian, black and even a few whites--the ad/marketing industry really doesn't take minority recruitment or diversity serious outside of PR efforts and the occassional lip service moves.

Anyway, KNOCK THE HUSTLE is about more than just race and diversity. It's filled with solutions to issues everyone struggles with such as timesheets, creativity, branding in a highly-competive marketplace, balancing work and personal life, etc.

check out the excerpts and lemme kow what you think.

thanks for the time...


Posted by: hadji on August 13, 2005 6:06 PM

Ironically, I just got a piece of spam hawking this guy's book. So much for taking the high road.

Posted by: KW on August 17, 2005 3:02 PM


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