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#SayHisName: George Floyd

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Advertising leaders commit to actions not words

#SayHisName: George Floyd
An open letter

Against a backdrop of uncertainty and struggle created by the pandemic, the past few months have seen a global explosion of hate crimes targeting black people. We have witnessed horrific images of African communities in China being subject to exclusion and violence; black key workers in the UK exposed to high-risk situations and even the physical assault of Belly Mujinga; in the US we have seen the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the violent death of George Floyd. This comes in the same week as a white woman made a ‘weaponised’ call to the police falsely accusing Christian Cooper of threatening her life in Central Park after he asked her to leash her dog.

While the brutality has brought widespread shock, the direct effect of this injustice and violence on black people cannot be overestimated. The UK Home Office reports that hate crimes have been steadily increasing over the last seven years. In 2018/19, there were 103,379 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales. The majority of these hate crimes were race hate crimes, accounting for around three-quarters of offences (76%; 78,991 offences). This marks an increase of 11 per cent from 2017/18. These were only the reported and recorded crimes: thousands more go unreported. As workers are increasingly expected to operate and have a presence online it is imperative that leaders of industry are aware of the dangers both online and offline.

As a creative sector, what we do and who we represent has a profound impact on culture, yet systemic inequality continues in our industry. UK IPA industry census data, published in April 2020, confirmed minimal gains have been made in diversifying the ethnic make-up of leadership. We have gone backwards at a leadership level, with 4.7% of executives being recorded as BAME in 2019, compared to 5.5% in 2018. It has never been more important to show up as an industry and face up to our own challenges as leaders. We need to drive equity in our organisations, the people we hire, the work we produce and how we engage with clients.

The advertising industry needs to create and maintain inclusive cultures sensitive to inequity and the pain of racism. We ask people across the industry to be conscious of the trauma that many black colleagues and their peers may be experiencing, as they process the news and fallout of the killing of George Floyd and other acts of violence. We call on those in positions of influence to harness the cultural power of advertising to bring authentic prominence to the crisis of racial injustice. 

It is not the sole responsibility of our black colleagues to address this imbalance, nor to educate us on the inequities that racism in our industry creates. As inequality is so ingrained within the fabric of society and our sector, this is a problem we need to take action on together to affect change. We can all self-educate. We can all challenge our prejudices and those of others. We are all able to prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion at this critical time.

As Heide Gardner, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer of Interpublic Group states: “The ultimate test of belonging is not when we support each other on issues we can personally identify with, or what we have in common. The ultimate test of belonging happens when we support each other when our experiences, needs, feelings, and even new ideas are different from the majority of our colleagues, and especially when we differ from those who have power over our careers. Only then will we achieve cultures of genuine belonging where people of colour don’t have to endure the daily calculus of how or if to disclose their feelings, respond to situations or feel implicitly responsible for the comfort of others over their own.”

We ask all industry leaders to be intentional in their support for black talent at this time. We ask our industry to take action and hold ourselves accountable in the following 10 ways:

1. Empower leaders and boards to drive representation and inclusivity by being a core part of the leadership team’s strategic priorities with clear KPIs, actions and objectives, transparently communicated. Deeply understand and monitor the data of your company and understand what goes on within it.

2. Senior leaders must step up, speak out and take action. All leaders need to acknowledge the escalating racism of the last few months in town halls and company wide gatherings, in order to open this conversation in their organisations. Leaders should use their company channels to share links, information, resources and black-driven research.

3. Enable employees to understand their own privileges (especially white privilege) and biases to help them become accountable allies and activists.

4. Call out racism whenever it is encountered. Everyone is responsible for this, from the CEO to all staff across your organisation. Implement an incident management plan or refer to your equality policy for guidance. Building trust creates solidarity in the workforce and provides a psychologically safe space to work. This can allow for issues such as micro-aggressions (subtle acts of discrimination) to be addressed.

5. Create safe and inclusive spaces to have open and frank conversations about racism with everyone in attendance. Use these to promote active advocacy and open dialogue for both black talent and allies. 

6. Use existing employee resource groups, such as WPP’s Roots, Publicis Group’s Embrace or for those without networks, assemble ad-hoc forums now such as Publicis Sapient’s ‘Brave Spaces’. 

7. ‘Check the make-up of your own circle and seek out different points of view,’ as recommended by WPP U.K. Country Manager & CEO GroupM UK, Karen Blackett OBE.

8. Check-in with black employees - particularly if you are a leader or line manager. 

9. Represent at every level and most importantly, on your leadership team: welcome, promote, champion, and celebrate black employees. Commit to amplifying and elevating black talent, working with black-owned businesses and supply chains.

10. Examine your preferred supplier’s list. Ensure your advertising isn’t funding white supremacy or racist content.


We, the signatories of this letter, commit to taking deep, lasting action. Today, we say George Floyd’s name and stand with all black talent in our industry. 


Resources: 


If you are an industry leader and would like to add your signature and support this open letter to our industry, email hello@creativeequals.org

We have received an overwhelming response to support this before today. We will update the list of signatories on a regular basis. 
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Signatories

Advertising Association: Stephen Woodford, CEO

ACCESS: VFX

adam&eveddb: Mat Goff, Joint CEO

AKQA: Ron Peterson, MD

AMVBDDO: Sarah Douglas, CEO

AnalogFolk: Simon Richings, ECD

And Rising: Jonathan Trimble, CEO

Anomaly: Camilla Harrisson, Partner & CEO

Axicom: Kate Stevens, President

BBH: Karen Martin, MD

BCW: Rebecca Grant, CEO

BIMA: Holly Hall, MD

BITE, Creativebrief: Nicola Kemp, Managing Editor

Bloom UK: Sally Keane, President

Blue State: Samir Patel, Chief Innovation Strategist

Bookmark: Simon Hobbs, CEO

Brand Advance: Christopher Kenna, CEO & Founder

Brands with Values: Adrian Walcott, MD

Buchanan UK: Richard Oldworth, Executive Chairman

Channel 4: Alex Mahon, CEO

Channel 4 / 4creative: Zaid Al-Qassab, CMO and Inclusion & Diversity Lead

Clarion: Amanda Meyrick, CEO

Clear: Damian Symons, CEO

ClearChannel: Caroline Forbes, Specialist Partner

Code Computerlove: Louis Georgiou, MD

Cognifide: Leigh Gammons, CEO

Coley Porter Bell: Vicky Bullen, CEO

Conscious Advertising Network: Anna Kennedy, Director of Comms

Creative Equals: Ali Hanan, CEO

Creative Mentor Network: Isabel Farchy, CEO & Founder

Creativebrief: Charlie Carpenter, CEO

Creature: Dan Cullen-Shute, CEO & Co-Founder

Critical Mass: Andrea Lennon, Managing Director

DEFT: Ian Crocombe, Founder and CEO

Design Bridge: Hannah Carvosso, MD

DIVA magazine: Linda Riley, CEO

Engine Creative: Ete Davies, CEO

Engine Group: Jim Moffat, CEO

Essence: Tim Irwin, CEO

Facebook: Carolyn Everson, VP, Global Marketing Solutions

Finecast UK: Harry Harcus, MD

FUTURES Network: Laura Vipond, Co-Founder

Gain Theory: Alan Bloodworth, EMEA CEO

Geometry: Michelle Whelan, CEO

Goodstuff: Andrew Stephens, Co-Founder

Gravity Road: Mark Eaves, Co-Founder

Grey: Anna Pańczyk, CEO

Grey Consulting: Leo Rayman, CEO

Grey Europe: Eduardo Maruri, CEO

Group M: Dominic Grainger, EMEA CEO

GTB: Paul Confrey, President

Gyro: Emma Rush, President

H&K Strategies: Simon Whitehead, UK CEO

Havas: Xavier Rees, CEO

Hearts & Science: Garrett O’Reilly, Managing Director

Hogarth Worldwide: Richard Glasson, CEO

Huge: Alex Pym, MD

IAB: Jon Mew, CEO

Interact Branding Limited: Patrick Donovan, Managing Director

IPA: Paul Bainsfair, Director General

IPG Mediabrands: Richard Morris, CEO

Iris Worldwide: Ian Millner, Global CEO

ISBA: Phil Smith, Director General

ITV: Carolyn McCall DBE, CEO

Kantar: Jackie Blackler, MD EMEA

Karmarama: Ben Bilboul, CEO

Ketchum: Jo-Ann Robertson, CEO

Kinetic: Ali MacCullum, CEO

Landor: Charlotte Morrison, General Mgr

Leo Burnett: Charlie Rudd, CEO

m/Six: Jack Swayne, CEO

M&C Saatchi: Sereena Abbassi, Worldwide Head of Culture & Inclusion

M&C Saatchi Sports & Entertainment: Jamie Wynne-Morgan, UK CEO

M&C Saatchi Talk: Jane Boardman, CEO

Mando: Becky Munday, CEO

Manning Gottlieb OMD: Natalie Bell, Managing Director

McCann Worldwide: Sufia Parkar, Regional Director, Diversity & Engagement EMEA

MediaCom: Sue Unerman, Chief Transformation Officer

MediaCom UK: Kate Rowlinson, CEO

MediaMonks London: Martin Verdult, Managing Director

MeFA: Naren Patel, Founder

Metro Production Group: Mary Metcalfe, MD

Mindshare: Jem Lloyd-Williams, CEO

Mirum: Chris Daplyn, CEO

Monumental Marketing: Jamie Love, CEO & Founder

Mr President: Laura Jordan Bambach, Co-Founder

Mullenlowe Group UK: Jeremy Hine, CEO

NABS: Diana Tickell, CEO

News UK: Dominic Carter, Group Chief Commercial Officer

Now: Larissa Vince, CEO

Nudge: Gustaf Stenlund, VP of Growth

Ogilvy: Michael Frohlich, CEO

Ogilvy Roots: Amie Snow, Co-Founder

OMD Group UK: Tim Pearson, CEO

OMG: Dan Clays, CEO

OUTtv: Marc Putman, CEO & Founder

Outvertising: Mark Runacus MBE, Chair

PHD UK: Veriça Djurdjevic, CEO

POCC: Kevin Morosky , Co-founder

Potato: Scott Ewings, CEO

Prism: Jamie Copas, CEO

Publicis Groupe UK: Annette King, CEO

Publicis Poke: Nick Farnhill, CEO

Publicis Sapient: Nancy Rowe, Head of Inclusion & Diversity, EMEA

R/GA: Sean Lyons, Global CEO

R/GA London: Rebecca Bezzina, SVP Managing Director

Rabin Martin: Afua Basoah, Vice President

Raconteur: Will Brookes, MD

RAPP UK: Chris Freeland, Executive Chairman

Red Brick Road: David Miller, CEO

Rufus Leonard: Laurence Parkes, CEO

S4 Capital: Sir Martin Sorrell, Executive Chair

Saatchi & Saatchi London: Magnus Djaba, CEO

Snapchat: Ed Couchman, General Manager

Solarflare Studio: Jay Short, Co-Founder & Client Services Director

Sudler: Tara Page, MD

Superunion: Holly Maguire, MD

Surfboard Digital: Shamilee Ilango, Founder & CEO

TBS: Dino Myers

TBWA: Sara Tate, CEO

The Creative Agency by VICE: Rob Newlan, CEO

The Diversity Standards Collective: Rich Miles, CEO & Co-Founder

The Dots: Pip Jamieson, CEO & Founder

The Drum: Diane Young, CEO

The Fawnbrake Collective: Sera Holland, Co-Founder

The FQ: Shelley Zalis, CEO

The Store WPP: David Roth, CEO

The Unmistakables: Asad Dhunna, Founder

The&Partnership: Sarah Golding, CEO & Partner

the7stars: Jenny Biggam, Owner

Thinkbox: Tess Alps, Chair

ThisAbility Limited: Sulaiman Khan, Founder and Chief Purpose Officer

Threepwood, Ltd: Tom Jenen, CEO

Tribal Worldwide: Victoria Buchanan, Executive Creative Director

Turner Duckworth: Moira Riddell, MD

UM UK: Rachel Forde, CEO

Uncommon: Natalie Graeme, Founder

Unilever: Aline Santos, EVP Global Marketing and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

VaynerMedia: Sarah Baumann, MD

VCCP: Julian Douglas, Vice Chairman

VMLY&R: Justin Pahl, CEO

WACL: Lisa Thomas, President

Wavemaker: Anna Hickey, Global Client President

Wavemaker UK: Paul Hutchison, CEO

WPP: Karen Blackett OBE, WPP UK Country Manager & GroupM UK CEO

WPP & Group M: Nancy Lengthorn, Head of Inclusion and Belonging

WPP Corporate Practice: Aisling Ryan, Managing Partner

WPP Health Practice: Claire Gillis, CEO

WPP Specialist Communications: Laurence Mellman, COO

Wunderman Thompson: Pip Hulbert, CEO

Xeim Advise / Oystercatchers / Econsultancy: Richard Robinson, Managing Director

Zone Digital: Roy Capon, CEO

lbbonline.com, Wed, 03 Jun 2020 12:56:32 GMT