Wednesday, August 15, 2018

14262: Investment Gender Gap…?

According to the website, “Ellevest Impact Portfolios help you reach your goals by investing up to half of your portfolio in companies that power positive social change by advancing women.” Wonder if the investments earn only 80% of what male-dominated investments earn.

14261: Mo Momentum Mumbo-Jumbo.

Adweek published divertsity daydreaming from Momentum North America President Donnalyn Smith, who declared it will require “a sincere commitment” to ignite change in the advertising industry. Sorry, but Smith’s lack of familiarity with the global dilemma puts her sincerity in question.

Smith shared her alleged commitment for diversity by stating, “In recent years, the advertising community has started to come to grips with the bold-faced truth that we haven’t really talked the ‘real’ talk, much less walked the walk. If you take a hard, honest look at the range of companies in our industry at the present time, they all too often reflect the workforce of 1978, not 2018.”

First of all, people who claim diversity has become a hot topic for adland “in recent years” have clearly been ignorant ignoring the problem, as heated conversations have been happening for scores of decades. The last serious protest took place in 2006 when the New York City Commission on Human Rights spanked Madison Avenue shops, and other diversity discussions date back to the early 1970s at least. Anyone holding even half a clue recognizes the current White-dominated workforce reflects 1958 versus 1978.

Smith is obviously a proponent for divertsity, not diversity. For her, enlightenment struck “in recent years” as the White women’s bandwagon leapfrogged racial and ethnic minorities in the battle for equality. Hell, Smith was actually named a 2017 Working Mother of the Year by She Runs It. Her divertsity dream involves creating a mentoring scheme styled after graduate school programs. Gee, Smith’s brainstorm sounds like a White women’s version of MAIP—which, incidentally, has been running for over 40 years. It’s always amazing how the pseudo-revolutionaries believe they’ve invented a breakthrough concept, when they’re ultimately exposing their corporate and cultural cluelessness by mimicking a long-standing tactic.

If Smith has truly turned Momentum into a multicultural Mecca, MultiCultClassics extends sincere apologies and requests that everyone please disregard this post. But progressiveness is unlikely, based on the patronizing pap penned by her boss, as well as the company website store selling MoMo Hammer Pants and dates with the MoMo IT guy—the latter sales item seeming quite inappropriate in these days of heightened sensitivity around sexual harassment.

Diversifying in Advertising Requires Creativity and a Drive to Instill Fairness

Company output won’t be inclusive if your workplace isn’t

By Donnalyn Smith

The fundamental idea is very simple, like all powerful notions. A marketer’s best work is only made possible through a diversity of talent applied to that company’s business. In recent years, the advertising community has started to come to grips with the bold-faced truth that we haven’t really talked the “real” talk, much less walked the walk. If you take a hard, honest look at the range of companies in our industry at the present time, they all too often reflect the workforce of 1978, not 2018.

It is unassailably clear that there is still much work to be done for our industry to mirror the demographic diversity emerging in the early 21st century in the U.S. and abroad. And with the tumultuous events of the past few years highlighted by the emergence of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements for women’s empowerment and anti-sexual harassment, the broader culture is intensely focused on the fight for respect and equality for diverse, often marginalized groups, particularly women and people of color.

While diversity as a centerpiece of social justice efforts is reaching a fever pitch, what can our industry leaders do to spark increased hiring and retention of talent from a mix of backgrounds and identities? While there have been nascent attempts in several quarters to infuse a broader range of cultural and social perspectives into both client and agency marketing teams, we as an industry are still a long way from critical mass. Clearly, there are still many organizations that haven’t prioritized diversity, or perhaps they have but are struggling for guidance for the most effective way to implement best practices.

A sincere commitment

If a marketer or an agency is truly devoted to staff diversity, they must apply sizable resources toward achieving it. This could take the form of investing in a fully integrated program offering entry-level immersion experiences that includes job rotations through a broad range of marketing disciplines over an extended period of time, up to a year if it makes sense.

Similar to a graduate school program, aspirants should be schooled across the wide palette of marketing and advertising disciplines including creative, media, client-side brand marketing and PR. If this sounds like a souped-up, deluxe version of your traditional agency internship program, that’s not where I’m leading. Rather, I envision something much deeper and impactful. The experience and mentoring with senior company executives—including the C-suite—could be much more focused and regimented and then lead into a more sophisticated and beneficial experience. As most of us know or have experienced, traditional company internship programs are often more rudimentary, and the curriculum or training is much more cursory and often administered by middle managers with limited senior-level or C-suite active participation.

What I am advocating can only be accomplished through extensive training and 360-degree feedback modules that bring together the gamut of stakeholders in an ongoing, committed basis including the C-suite and evp/svp level, chief talent officers, recruiters and, of course, the diverse talent.

A program of this caliber, if executed properly, would rise to the level of postgraduate, master class work. Imagine, if every company in our ecosystem—large, medium and small—took this approach en masse. In this way, we would all be the catalysts for broader industry-wide transformation. For inspiration, one need turn no further than to Verizon, whose chief marketing officer, Diego Scotti, has been one of the pioneers on this front with his Ad Fellows program.

By launching something similar at your company, you will reap strategic benefits; this would not simply be an altruistic endeavor. You would in effect be creating a mechanism that would actively create and identify a healthy pool of diverse talent on an ongoing basis, which you can ultimately draw from to contribute to the greater success of your company and your partners. The goal could be to place all participants post-program within the industry.

Hopefully, these thoughts and ideas will work to inspire a wave of similar efforts from brands and agencies across the entire industry. There is a lot of work ahead to increase diversity in advertising and marketing, but companies should look at diversity as an opportunity not an obligation. Those corporate cultures that value innovation and progress have the opportunity to foster a competitive advantage that could transform the company in more ways that you could imagine. Cheap PR, like cotton candy, tastes nice but is ultimately unsatisfying. Elbow grease and creativity to support an unshakeable will to fairness and personal growth will actually be beneficial to the bottom line. It really is about progress and prosperity.

Donnalyn Smith is president, North America of Momentum Worldwide, based in New York.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

14260: Triple Entendres?

Given all the sensitivity surrounding sexism in advertising—and in advertising agencies—why did Mekanism think it would be cool to present three-way double entendres for HotelTonight? Does any woman find this this this even slightly amusing? Hell, does anybody?

Oh, and the spot titled “Mixing It Up” features two White chicks and a Black dude. How racy!

14259: Pharma Bullet Points.

In India, TriVogo for type 2 diabetes shows pharma advertising sucks worldwide. Wonder if the TriVogo side effects are as lethal as a bullet.

Monday, August 13, 2018

14258: Victors & Spoils & Losers.

Adweek published a way-too-long report on the closing of Victors & Spoils, an inevitable event that, ironically, failed to draw a crowd. Honestly, the only entity that bought into the enterprise (literally and figuratively) was Havas—and the lame holding company ultimately shut it all down.

Adweek had the stupidity write a headline that read, “End of an Era as Havas ‘Crowdsourcing Agency’ Victors & Spoils Closes Shop.” End of an era? End of a really bad idea would have been more accurate.

The official Havas statement announced, “We are reducing the V&S footprint and reallocating any continuing clients to our Havas Chicago office.” Giving remaining work to Havas Chicago is like crowdsourcing to Lloyd Christmas, Harry Dunne, Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp and Eric Trump.

“All in all, the experience of working with Havas as the global chief innovation officer was a good one,” said V&S Co-Founder John Winsor. “I had the honor to work with David Jones, who is one of the true visionaries of the industry, and had a chance to learn the complexities of working on a global basis.” Yeah, now Winsor is officially a world-class sycophant and huckster.

“I’m surprised V&S ended up closing their doors,” said former Havas CEO David Jones, who green-lighted the V&S acquisition in 2012. “I imagine losing their brilliant founder, John Winsor, was a fairly terminal blow, but I do think the huge success of other people-powered marketing businesses like Mofilm, Tongal, Vidmob and Vidsy that are built on the same people-powered principles as Uber and Airbnb would suggest their demise wasn’t due to the model.” Gee, guess the “true visionary” didn’t realize the ad game isn’t the same as chauffeuring with your own wheels or renting out a spare room. Then again, holding companies and crowdsourcing have helped ignite the commoditization of creativity—leading to generic mediocrity across the industry.

Idiots like Winsor and Jones don’t even realize their current situations prove how the advertising industry has degraded. That is, a “brilliant founder” and “true visionary” can get booted, and life churns on without them. Everyone is disposable and replaceable—especially Winsor and Jones.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

14257: Dentsu Dividing…?

Adweek reported Dentsu Inc. is considering a restructuring scheme that would divide the enterprise into a holding company and an operating company. So instead of being one shitty company, Dentsu would become two shitty companies. Seems like even the holding companies are starting to see the business model is flawed and increasingly outdated. It might be fitting that Dentsu is taking an initiative for change, as Japan has often been a leader—at least versus White-led companies—in the business world. Then again, Dentsu has the distinction of officially valuing an employee’s life at 500,000 yen, which is roughly $4,400.

Dentsu Inc. Considers Restructuring Operational Model to ‘Maintain and Enhance Growth’

President and CEO made the announcement at board meeting today

By Erik Oster

Dentsu Inc., parent company of Dentsu Aegis Network and agencies like mcgarrybowen, Carat, 360i, Merkle and Isobar, is considering a restructuring plan which would see it split into an operating company and a holding company.

Dentsu Inc. president and CEO Toshihiro Yamamoto announced the proposition today during a meeting of the company’s board of directors. Implementation of the changes would be dependent on approval of shareholders at a meeting scheduled for March 2019.

“Analyses of specific schemes will be based on a concept where the currently-existing Dentsu Inc. will be split into an operating company and a pure holding company,” according to a release. “The pure holding company will hold the shares of the post-split operating company and the existing operating companies in Japan, and the shares of Dentsu Aegis Network.”

More details will be provided following further analysis.

According to the release, the decision to analyze the potential restructuring was prompted by a desire to “maintain and enhance” growth, as a response to “radical changes in the business environment resulting from the evolution and enlargement of business areas” and to “Establish governance that enables expeditious decision-making from medium and long-term viewpoints.”

Dentsu Inc. maintains that due to global development and rapid growth, “it has become increasingly important for the Group to make more unified and cross-sectional decisions within a set of shared values,” leading to a need to “establish a governance structure that is not restricted by the current framework of each operating company and enables expeditious decision-making from a medium and long-term perspective.”

Beyond the Dentsu Aegis Network, the larger company also operates a number of Japanese subsidiaries; this move would combine all Dentsu businesses under one umbrella, hence the “pure holding company” designation.

The announcement accompanies Dentsu Inc.’s earnings report for the second quarter and first half of 2018.

Dentsu Inc. reported organic growth of 4 percent for the first half of the year and 5.9 percent for the second quarter, its fourth consecutive quarter of increased organic growth. Dentsu Aegis Network reported organic growth of 3.4 percent, due in part to new business wins in the second half of 2017. In Japan, organic growth was reported at 4.7 percent for the first half of the year, also attributed in part to new business wins.

Dentsu Inc. reported that underlying operating profit on constant currency basis declined 1.8 percent for the first half of 2018. For Dentsu Aegis Network, profit decline was explained as a reflection of planned investments in global platforms and systems. In Japan, profits grew but were partially offset by planned investments in working environment reforms.

Dentsu Inc. was fined 500,000 yen (approximately $4,400) for violating labor laws last October. The “suicide due to overwork” death of 24-year-old digital account manager Matsuri Takahashi in 2015 led to the resignation of CEO Tadashi Ishii in December, 2016.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

14256: Going Nowhere Fast.

Need another reason to hate project briefings and internal reviews? Now useless account planners and moronic account directors can ride stationary bikes while failing to offer strategic insights or constructive feedback. Thanks, FlexiSpot!

Friday, August 10, 2018

14255: TIME’S UP Pays Up…?

Advertising Age reported Diet Madison Avenue announced TIME’S UP is providing legal assistance to help the DMA crew deal with the lawsuit filed by former CP+B CCO Ralph Watson. However, when Ad Age probed for confirmation, a TIME’S UP spokeswoman would only say, “The [TIME’S UP] Legal Defense Fund is supportive of individuals coming forward and speaking out about sex harassment at work and in their careers; we aren’t prepared to talk about funding at this time.” Does this mean the 180 adwomen who launched TIME’S UP Advertising openly support Diet Madison Avenue? They certainly weren’t offering much of their own money for the DMA GoFundMe donation drive. And given the fact that IPG and its Chairman and CEO Michael Roth encouraged leading women executives to sign up for TIME’S UP Advertising, is it logical to conclude the White holding company would also support Diet Madison Avenue? Hey, Roth just coughed up $2.3 billion for Acxiom’s marketing services unit. Surely IPG—as a recognized leader in divertsity and inclusion—could afford to cover the DMA crew’s legal bills. Think of it as partial restitution for the Joe Alexander fiasco.

Diet Madison Avenue says it’s working with Time’s Up for legal representation

By Megan Graham

Days after a judge signed an order allowing subpoenas to unmask anonymous Instagram account Diet Madison Avenue, the account said it has closed down its GoFundMe page. The reason: DMA says it has representation from Time’s Up, the organization dedicated to addressing inequality and injustice in the workplace.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Monica Bachner signed an order last week allowing the legal team for former Crispin Porter & Bogusky Boulder Chief Creative Officer Ralph Watson to serve business record subpoenas to Instagram, its parent Facebook and Gmail (part of Alphabet-owned Google) to provide identifying information about the anonymous individuals behind Diet Madison Avenue. Watson has sued his former agency and its holding company MDC Partners in a separate lawsuit.

The judge’s action was the latest development in a suit filed by Watson in May, claiming defamatory statements posted to the account led to his wrongful termination from the agency. DMA has taken aim at some of the biggest names in advertising with a goal of exposing sexual harassment and discrimination at ad agencies.

Diet Madison Avenue began a GoFundMe page on May 25 to seek $100,000 to “defend our team members and volunteers against false accusations,” according to the site. The page said all funds would be used for legal assistance, with any left over being donated to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. As of Monday, the account had collected $1,970. The page indicates the last donation was made around two months ago.

On its Instagram page Saturday, Diet Madison Avenue displayed a message from someone who said they had attempted to donate to the group’s legal fund unsuccessfully and it explained that the fundraising account was no longer active.

In a temporary Instagram Story, the account said “Hi fam, we actually closed it down a while ago because we have awesome representation via Times Up Now. We are all well doing great. All funds donated will actually be refunded by GoFundMe and whatever you choose not to get back will be donated to the Times Up Legal Defense Fund. For the time being we do not funds (sic) because we have a great team in place. But thanks for the love.”

In a later post, it corrected that to say “for the time being we do NOT need any funds.”

DMA did not return a direct message asking for comment at press time.

The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund — which is housed within and administered by the National Women’s Law Center Fund — connects those who have experienced sexual misconduct to attorneys who agree to take on their cases, according to its website. The organization helps defray legal and public relations costs in certain cases based on criteria and availability of funds. Only attorneys can apply for those funds, though some attorneys will also accept reduced fees or take on cases pro bono.

Asked whether the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund would confirm whether it is working with Diet Madison Avenue on this particular lawsuit, a spokeswoman for the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund said: “The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is supportive of individuals coming forward and speaking out about sex harassment at work and in their careers; we aren’t prepared to talk about funding at this time.”

Brooklyn Law School professor Jonathan Askin, a founder and director at the Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic, said in an email that Watson’s attorneys could attempt to subpoena the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and the organizations funding and supporting it if they couldn’t otherwise ascertain the names of those behind Diet Madison Avenue.

“I imagine the judge would be reluctant to allow subpoenas to issue to third-party legal defense funds, opening up a hornets’ nest of potentially profound Constitutional and judicial process issues, without a compelling chance of success on the merits of the underlying claims,” wrote Askin. “Instagram would still seem the more likely source to obtain the names of those behind Diet Madison Avenue.”

The Los Angeles Superior Court order last week said the court had determined the plaintiff had demonstrated a “prima facie case of defamation necessary at this stage in the proceedings to compel disclosure of the identities of the anonymous individuals behind Diet Madison Avenue.” Last year, a California state appeals court handed down its decision that Yelp needed to turn over documents that could identify an anonymous user who was accused of defaming an accountant in a review on its website. The appellate court in that case said plaintiffs seeking to unveil anonymous posters needed to make a “prima facie” case that shows anonymous statements are libelous and that the plaintiff can’t pursue claims without establishing a poster’s identity.

Paul Alan Levy, a lawyer at Public Citizen Litigation Group in Washington, D.C., said generally speaking if a client has retained counsel for the purpose of protecting their identity, the identity of the client would be subject to attorney-client privilege. But he said Watson’s camp could argue that identity isn’t covered by attorney-client privilege. Levy said he wasn’t sure whether the California state courts had decided that issue yet, in which case it could be a decision made by a trial judge.

Levy added that when it comes to subpoenas, much will depend on how the accounts were set up and maintained, and whether the users created throwaway or fake accounts to set up its accounts.

In the long run, the individuals behind Diet Madison Avenue could well be identified, Levy said. He said the individuals will need to make judgments with advice from their lawyers about how likely they are to be identified using these means and whether they have an interest in opposing these subpoenas.

“Or do they want to play hard to get?” he said.

14254: Bootcamp Blues.

Adweek reported on the Multicultural Alliance Bootcamp held by She Runs It, presenting four “key takeaways” that are mostly standard clich├ęd con jobs concepts for diversity and inclusion. On the one hand, any effort designed to eliminate exclusivity deserves appreciation. Then again, the Multicultural Alliance Bootcamp warrants a few comments too. First of all, She Runs It is still more focused on promoting White women than racial and ethnic minorities. Secondly, the lead “key takeaway” regarding the Inclusion Diversity Accountability Consortium gives off an aroma of bullshit. Now there’s yet another optional measuring tool whereby White advertising agencies may sign up to possibly be deemed winners for executing what should be common practices. Finally, photos taken at the event (see below) display at least three issues: 1) attendance was low; 2) attendees were predominately female and; 3) attendees included lots of women of color. Why would women of color need to participate in a multicultural bootcamp? Talk about preaching to the choir. It feels like a clear example of delegating diversity versus engaging the culturally clueless people with hiring authority who desperately require enlightenment. It’s time to send the folks suffering from unconscious bias, conscious ignorance and blatant racism to bootcamp.

4 Key Takeaways on Bringing Diversity to the Field From the Multicultural Alliance Bootcamp

Industry panelists discussed multiculturalism at She Runs It event

By Alissa Fleck

She Runs It, formerly known as Advertising Women of New York (AWNY), held a Multicultural Alliance Bootcamp yesterday to discuss the state of diversity in the marketing and media world. According to the organization, its Multicultural Alliance “works to foster a sense of community among members with multicultural expertise and interests and to infuse multiculturalism into She Runs It’s existing programs and initiatives.”

Among the reasons diversity is so important in the advertising world is that advertising reflects our culture and society, and without inclusion, advertising will continue to perpetuate stereotypes about people of color and other under-represented groups, explained God-Is Rivera, director of inclusion and cultural resonance at VML. “We cringe at ads from the past,” she said. “We have a chance to change that now.”

And, while there should be more of an opportunity to tell these varied stories with all the digital venues and platforms available today, “diversity is probably what it always was, proportionate to the number of channels we have,” said actor, producer and activist Malik Yoba.

These are some of our takeaways from the bootcamp:

There is now a quantifiable way to measure a company’s diversity inclusiveness.

Companies need to incorporate diversity “because it’s right and not just because it’s trendy,” said Rivera. She Runs It has developed a way to benchmark improvements in diversity inclusiveness.

The organization just announced the winners of a new initiative it launched in coordination with Diversity Best Practices called the Inclusion Diversity Accountability Consortium (IDAC), which “seeks to ignite quantitative action that will make the marketing and media industry more diverse in its make-up and sensibility,” according to its website.

Along with Working Mother Media and Diversity Best Practices, She Runs It posted the first round of measurements and winning companies on social media with the hashtag #DBPInclusionIndex. IDAC measures companies’ success at recruiting, training and retaining a diverse workforce based on three main criteria.

These criteria are: Best practices in recruitment, retention and advancement of people from under-represented groups; creating an inclusive culture through leadership, accountability, communications and employee engagement; and transparency in willingness to share workforce demographic data.

While the organization has released stats on select companies, it will present this information more comprehensively during Advertising Week in October.

In promoting diversity, you need to think about your own circle first.

On a panel called “Champions on the Front Line,” Patty Kim, director of talent acquisition at Conductor, talked about the importance of starting with yourself and your own innate biases before trying to advocate for diversity. You need to think about your own circle, the group of people you go to for ideas, support and growth.

When Kim first did this exercise, she realized her circle was fairly homogenous in thought—it did not represent a diverse community. “You need people who really challenge your ideas,” she said. “Inclusiveness starts with yourself—then you bring it to the workplace.”

“Diversity looks different to different people,” added Ed Frankel, svp and director of talent acquisition at Omnicom Health Group.

You don’t have to be at the top to make a difference.

While it certainly helps to have an ally in a leadership position, “if you have a seat at the table, you can have influence,” said Frankel, adding that you should never give up, even if that means slowly chipping away at established ideas.

One of the best ways to do this is to tell your own story, said Francine Tamakloe, associate in the AMP development program at Spotify. “Being in the room and telling your own story inspires others and saves others,” Tamakloe said in a panel called “Women on Fire.” And while it can be easy to be inspired by others around you, it can sometimes be hard to “see the warrior in yourself,” she added.

“Define what a champion looks like to you, and be it for someone else,” Frankel said.

But don’t just be a champion for people underneath you—people above you need support as well. “It can be so lonely at the top,” said Judy Jackson, global chief talent officer at Wunderman. “You can champion people at every level.”

Small interactions can go a long way toward effecting change in the workplace.

Sometimes change comes from micro-actions, said Jackson, recounting an incident in her office when someone who wasn’t from the U.S. asked her African-American assistant about the semantics of the N-word. While initially an awkward situation, it became a positive learning experience, Jackson said, as her assistant explained the word’s history and why it was not okay for the coworker to use the term.

“She was curious, but that was a sign of change. I was proud of that moment,” Jackson said. “Change comes from being able to ask people of color about their lives.”

Hiring managers are not the ones currently out there pushing diversity, explained Frankel, highlighting that we need to think about aspects like where we post jobs. Inclusiveness might mean creating new positions in the workplace, added Rivera. “Organizations should invest in their women,” said Yai Vargas, founder of The Latinista. “They should pay to send them to conferences like this one.”

And to usher in a new generation of diverse storytellers and marketers, educators should show young people of color that there are options for kids in advertising, Jackson added, saying, “Agencies should go talk to kids.”

Thursday, August 09, 2018

14253: Little Gender Exclusive…?

Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly was originally called Little Brothers of the Poor when founded in France in 1946. Maybe it’s time to update the name again, especially if advertising and promotions feature so many little sisters.

14252: Back-To-School Ravings.

Campaign reported on the Brixton Finishing School, another diversity and inclusion initiative designed to train young people of color on the intricacies of working in adland. According to Campaign, the project allows students “who do not have the privilege of a university education” to experience “a free, 12-week course in digital, advertising and marketing skills” under the guidance of seasoned experts.

Okay, the folks behind such endeavors are undoubtedly caring and progressive, deserving respect and appreciation. At the same time, this common diversity and inclusion tactic inspires key questions.

First, why qualify students “who do not have the privilege of a university education” for this program? For starters, the word “privilege” leads to acknowledging White privilege, which is the primary advantage—waaaaay more important than a university education—that the majority of candidates utilize to get into the field. Besides, landing a creative position in an advertising agency doesn’t require a degree. And if agencies do mandate degrees, why not target minorities in universities?

Second, why presume people of color need extra schooling to succeed in advertising? There are plenty of examples of untrained and unqualified White youth entering the field via nepotism and next-generational cronyism. Why not create a 12-week course for all the Caucasian daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, neighbors and mistresses currently receiving free passes into adland?

Third, why not simply hire people of color and, if necessary, provide on-the-job mentoring and training? Isn’t that what healthy, ethical and professional companies do? These particular questions, incidentally, go to the heart of the true problem. That is, most minorities don’t need special training; rather, most leaders with hiring authority must undergo reprogramming. Specifically, hiring managers must be schooled to actually evaluate candidates on potential versus pigmentation. Skills versus skin tones. Talent versus tint.

Fourth, how will this program address the dearth of mid- and senior-level minorities? It will be difficult to retain Brixton Finishing School graduates if they find themselves alone in the field. The existing exclusive majority could use training in fostering inclusive workplaces too.

If minorities have to enroll for special training, similar prerequisites should be placed on hiring managers to ensure they have the cultural competence to do their jobs.

Industry-funded school challenges adland’s diversity problem

Digital guru Ally Owen has founded Brixton Finishing School, a free, 12-week course in digital, advertising and marketing skills for young people from BAME/unrepresented backgrounds.

By Georgina Brazier

Owen has recruited 21 students, aged 18 to 25, who do not have the privilege of a university education and given them the opportunity to learn from the employees of companies such as Google, WPP and McCann London.

The Institute of Practitioners of Advertising revealed a significant lack of diversity in the industry in its latest annual survey on the subject. This inspired Owen tackle the issue by setting up the school with industry backing.

Owen said: “We believe that while talent is distributed equally among the youth of London, opportunities are not.

“The SCA 2.0 [School of Communication Arts] and Brixton Finishing School partnership will create and widen runways into our industry to support our ambition for all talent, whatever their background, to have the seat they’ve earned at the table.

“For our GDP to thrive post-Brexit, we need to focus on building a meritocracy that ensures the best people are in the right jobs.”

The students come a variety of backgrounds and range from school leavers to those who have already experienced the world of work.

Brixton Finishing School student Tremayne Bailey said he was not aware of the creative industries until he undertook an apprenticeship at a charity.

He said: “We target adults but what we need to be doing is actually starting young — teaching young people who still aren’t being taught about the opportunities in the creative industries.”

The students will graduate on 5 October and many will then take up entry-level, digitally focused roles created for the school by Clear Channel, Kinetic, PrettyGreen, Brand Advance and McCann London.