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Beyond the Rainbow: WPP Health Practice's First Pride



Rick Evans, senior digital strategist at Ogilvy Health, explains why the march and the message is so important

Beyond the Rainbow: WPP Health Practice's First Pride

WPP Health Practice just made its debut at the iconic Pride in London Parade. The company’s involvement was led by members of the LGBTQ community within the organisation. Rick Evans, senior digital strategist at Ogilvy Health, explains why the march and the message is so important.

Q> This was the first time that WPP Health Practice joined the official Parade. Why was getting involved so important?

Rick Evans> Pride is a massive global movement and it’s come such a long way. But 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, we still see violence towards LGBTQ people and there are still inequalities that need to be fought. Pride gives our community a voice and provides a great opportunity to be seen and heard. The core values of Pride – unity, diversity, visibility and creativity – really reflect the values in our business. We’re proud, as individuals, of who we are and we’re proud to wear the WPP Health Practice t-shirt.

Q> How did your involvement all come about?

Rick> The idea of participating was driven by our LGBTQ community. It’s been brilliantly spearheaded by senior copywriter Natasher Beecher – who also leads our ethnicity culture and inclusion group, WPP Health Roots – but it’s also involved people from all corners of the business. We pitched the idea to senior management and were delighted they agreed to support it. We then worked with HR to develop a communication to the whole company, asking people to let us know if they wanted to get involved. The response was fantastic – not just from those who identify as LGBTQ, but also from those who simply believe in the cause. It’s one of the first activities that’s involved all the different operating companies in the WPP Health Practice – and it’s helped build a real sense of togetherness that’s truly intersectional.

Q> What did you do?

Rick> 35 of us marched through London, proudly carrying our placards, accessorised with face paint and glitter… and blazing our health-themed playlist. Gloria Estefan’s ‘Dr. Beat’ might sound a bit cheesy, but our message was a serious one. We put a health spin on the Pride message – prescribing ‘acceptance’ and encouraging a daily dose of equality. We also focused on mental health. Ultimately, happiness is healthy; we certainly had fun, but it was all about staying true to those core values of equality, diversity and creativity.

Q> What can the communications community learn from Pride?

Rick> We all know it’s important to have a diverse workforce, but diversity is also vital for creativity. We all have different experiences and come from different cultures and backgrounds. When it comes to brainstorming creative ideas, it helps to have that wide set of experiences and views. We saw that diversity on parade at Pride. Thankfully, we see it every day at WPP Health Practice too.

Q> Finally, how do you feel about making your parade debut?

Rick> It was really exciting – a great opportunity for us to fly the flag of who we are what we represent. We involved people from all over the company; from designing the slogans and the T Shirts, to the creative ideas about how to bring health into the mix. It was such a joy to work on.

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Categories: LGBTQ+, Corporate, Social and PSAs

VMLY&Rx, Mon, 08 Jul 2019 16:14:14 GMT