This must be a tipping point. Many of us have spent time listening, learning, thinking. Now everyone in the ad business needs to work together to make this industry actively anti-racist, fairer, more equal, more diverse, more inclusive.
Some people have more power than others right now to push ahead yet we can see from the IPA’s latest census data that this isn’t happening.
And early evidence suggests that the furloughing and job losses resulting from coronavirus epidemic is exacerbating inequality. We’re working with Creative Equals to monitor this.
Active anti-racism is an urgent necessity. But when progress is so slow, we need to make it a business-critical issue. So how about marketers decide they are only prepared to work with agencies that can demonstrate an ongoing commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity. How about marketers make it a condition of doing business with an agency. How about they make it business critical for agencies to sort this out.
Some marketers already do this; how about it becomes the norm, written into every RFI, every contract. Regularly monitored.
I’d like to think agencies would do the same: only put their talent to work with marketers who can also demonstrate the same commitment. Does that sound naïve? Perhaps. But how powerful it would be if a great agency walked away from a pitch because the brand owner wasn’t truly committed, throughout its organisation and supply chain, to active anti-racism.
Perhaps all this sounds fanciful in the face of harsh economic realities. But the case has already and frequently been made that – besides (even perhaps because of) being more interesting, rewarding and fun to work in – diverse, inclusive teams deliver better business results. There is no disconnect between equality and success; they are united.
Claire Beale is global editor-in-chief at Campaign