Tuesday, October 20, 2015

12899: UK Solves Diversity Dilemma.

Campaign reported the Marketing Agencies Association (MAA) teamed up with Google and youth marketing agency Livity to launch a diversity internship programme in the UK. The UK advertising industry mirrors the US when it comes to exclusivity, so it’s not surprising that the country would also mimic the contrived and clich├ęd “solutions” for the problem. Hell, this particular smokescreen isn’t even original, as the programme—named Digify—was first created in South Africa in 2014. “Digify is a tangible, proven and scaleable way to bring talent, digital skills and diversity to our sector and it’s this combination that will inspire and inject innovation into the participating agencies and their work,” said Livity Co-Founder and CEO Michelle Morgan. “It’s rooted in business benefits to agencies and social benefit to young people. We know agencies have the willing to attract diverse, brilliant talent to the sector and in Digify we now have the solution.” Notice Morgan said “scaleable” (sic) versus measurable. When the programme is applied to the broader advertising industry, the inevitable lackluster results will completely and wildly throw any scale off balance. MAA Managing Director Scott Knox—the man who helped invent the UK’s first LGBT Award—gushed, “Bringing the excellence of Google, Livity and the MAA together for this unique programme will deliver real change to the agency sector. Through this we will see young people regardless of background be trained and developed in a way that the industry has never seen before.” Um, take a peek over the Atlantic and you’ll see it’s been seen before.

MAA launches diversity internships in UK with Google and Livity

By Omar Oakes

Google and Livity, the youth marketing agency, have partnered with the Marketing Agencies Association to launch an internship programme to tackle the lack of diversity in the creative sector.

Named Digify UK, the programme aims to address a lack of diversity and digital skills among marketing and advertising agencies, with 5.4 per cent of the creative sector being made up of individuals from black and minority ethnic groups.

The programme is being announced this afternoon by Grant Shapps, the minister of state for international development, at an event hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Digify was founded in South Africa in 2014, as a partnership between Livity Africa and Google, with about 80 per cent of those completing the programme securing full-time work in the creative sector after their internship.

Starting next month, the programme will launch with a pilot, including 10 people aged between 18 and 24, who will enroll on a two-month digital and marketing skills boot camp at Livity.

The aim is for interns to participate in day-to-day agency life, working on real digital campaigns, social media and content creation, with personal mentoring and coaching sessions, provided by the MAA.

Michelle Morgan, the co-founder and chief executive of Livity, said: “Digify is a tangible, proven and scaleable way to bring talent, digital skills and diversity to our sector and it’s this combination that will inspire and inject innovation into the participating agencies and their work. It’s rooted in business benefits to agencies and social benefit to young people.

“We know agencies have the willing to attract diverse, brilliant talent to the sector and in Digify we now have the solution.”

Morgan became chair of youth and diversity for the MAA three years ago and has driven the organisation’s #doingdifferent agenda, which aims to deliver real and meaningful change in the make up of the agency sector’s talent.

Scott Knox, the managing director of the MAA, said: “Bringing the excellence of Google, Livity and the MAA together for this unique programme will deliver real change to the agency sector.

“Through this we will see young people regardless of background be trained and developed in a way that the industry has never seen before.”

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

White ad agencies and holding companies feeling pressure about their lack of diversity love to pitch in on go-nowhere teenage training schemes like these.

First, it's a great PR stunt. You can show your very white agency team surrounded by lots of smiling minority teenagers and it makes for a great visual in annual reports and news blasts to clients. As long as shareholders and clients don't ask deep questions (like, how many of these teens were hired on graduation in your agency?), it's all good.

Second, you never have to show any hard numbers. You can shut down the programme before any of the kids graduate, and you've done your good deed in the press. If your programme DOES last a few years, you still don't ever have to show hiring numbers. You just vaguely quote "X number of students have benefited from our agency's commitment to diversity since 201X!" and be done with it.

This is a win-win situation for agencies, and a losing proposition for minority students who get a pep talk now and then from agency insiders when the cameras are rolling or shooting for PR purposes, but are never let in the agency door for full time work when push comes to shove.

Anonymous said...

There's a Tumblr page saluting every time there's an all-male panel somewhere on planet earth.

There needs to be one for every time a white ad agency person takes a photo surrounded by smiling brown / inner city / teenage / etc. trainees.

http://allmalepanels.tumblr.com/