Unilever, Facebook, VCCP back BRiM scheme to boost black representation

The project is backed by the Advertising Association, brands and inclusion experts.

BRiM: launch event will be held on 5 May 2021
BRiM: launch event will be held on 5 May 2021

A new industry initiative backed by the Advertising Association hopes to drive change and improve representation in advertising for black people both on and off camera.

The industry alliance is called BRiM, which stands for black representation in marketing, and it is powered by advertisers, agency partners, leading members of the black community and industry diversity, equity and inclusion experts.

The initiative will provide a framework for change available for free to all companies in the industry via its website. Everyone is invited to review the framework and put plans into action to create impactful and long-lasting change.

The BRiM steering group, which shaped the direction of the initiative and aided the development of the framework, is made up of companies including BrainLabs, Deloitte, Dentsu, Droga5, Facebook, Omnicom Media Group, PepsiCo, Publicis, Shell, TUI Group, Unilever, Universal Pictures, VCCP and Wunderman Thompson.

This group was supported by an advisory panel made up of industry experts and leaders within the black community including Ali Hanan, chief executive at Creative Equals; Bejay Mulenga, founder at Supa Network; Ete Davies, chief executive at Engine and head of UK Chapter for Black & Brilliant Advocacy Network; Leila Siddiqi, associate director, diversity at the IPA; and Yemi Jackson, co-founder and CEO and Engage Transform.

Julian Douglas, chairman of VCCP, IPA president and BRiM's advisory board chair, said: "There is much work to be done in terms of black representation in marketing: on screen, in production companies, agencies and advertisers.

"I am committed to helping create tangible actions that lead to sustained and meaningful change for the long term. BRiM will continue to highlight this issue and accelerate progress in the area and I am incredibly honoured to be chair."

BRiM's ambition is to bring more black people into the marketing industry, remove barriers that privilege white people, enable black people to thrive in senior positions and ensure black people are fairly represented in marketing the sector produces. A launch event for the cross-industry initiative will be held on 5 May 2021. 

By joining the BRiM community, individuals are demonstrating their commitment to a long-term journey and will be asked to feed into regular research to measure the progress that they or their organisation are making in representing black people fairly. Learnings will be shared publicly, anonymising the input.

Nicola Mendelsohn, EMEA vice-president of Facebook and chair of the BRiM Steering Group, said: “If we want to increase black representation in our industry, we need to stop thinking it is someone else’s job. Creating long-term and meaningful change requires collective action. Our hope is for BRiM to be the catalyst for that action. 

“The BRiM framework provides practical steps that anyone can take, whether you’re a CMO or graduate starting out, to challenge the lack of black representation head-on. We all have a responsibility and opportunity to move the needle on this issue.”

In June the Advertising Association, along with the IPA and ISBA, will be holding the All In Summit where the results of the All In Census will be revealed along with an action plan to build a more inclusive workplace.

Pictured above are BRiM supporters (from top left): Ete Davies, chief executive, Engine Group; June Sarpong, director of creative diversity, BBC; Julian Douglas, vice-chairman of VCCP and president of the IPA; Deborah Womack, director of Deloitte Digital; Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association; and Mendelsohn of Facebook.