Shaq Becomes Founder and Investor In Diversity- Focused Ad Agency Majority

Shaquille O’Neal is becoming a founding partner and investor in Majority, a new ad agency focused on serving up talent of diverse backgrounds. The agency arrives as Madison Avenue grapples with a history of inequity amid the nation’s renewed call for social justice, large agencies increasingly take measures to diversify their ranks, and some marketers press agencies to increase the diversity of the teams that work on their accounts.

Co-Founder and CEO of Majority Omid Farhang and Shaquille O’Neal

The agency plans to hire a diverse pool of talent defined by “black and brown people, women and LGBTQ,” said Omid Farhang, co-founder and chief executive of Majority.  “The goal for our company is to show how creative output changes when you flip that ratio,” Mr. Farhang said. “It’s as much about social equity as a shrewd business decision. Diversity is a competitive advantage. Diversity leads to different kinds of ideas that create different types of cultural discussions.”

O’Neal has worked with brands for decades, through both endorsement and investment deals. He owns many Papa John’s Pizza and Auntie Anne’s pretzel franchises.

He is also looking to purchase Reebok with Authentic Brands Group, where he is a partner, from Adidas AG to revive the brand, he said. In December, Adidas said it is exploring a sale of the U.S. fitness brand.

“I’m just motivated to do this in a way to create new opportunities,” said O’Neal. “A lot of people talk about it. I’m tired of talking about it. I want to do something about it. I just want to make progress.”