Monday, February 18, 2019

14530: OneSandbox Sounds Like A Litter Box Filled With Crumbs.

Advertising Age reported on a patronizing program from TBWA: OneSandbox—the amazingly exclusive search platform designed to help White advertising agencies connect with minority vendors. The pseudo inclusive invention sounds like digitally delegating diversity and drumming up divertsity, as well as integrating institutionalized discrimination, selective segregation and shameless self-promotion.

First, the site is only available to ten shops within the Omnicom stable. Why wouldn’t such a resource be open to all the White advertising agencies occupying the network? Surely a shop such as DDB could benefit from gaining access—otherwise, DDB Global President and CEO Wendy Clark won’t realize her restless ambition for diversity, and she’ll be forced to continue tapping vendors like Ted Royer. One would think Omnicom SVP Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany R. Warren might insist on making OneSandbox a mandatory tool across the entire company. It’s also unclear if any of Omnicom’s minority shops are involved. If not, why not? Minority shops typically have greater experience in connecting with minority vendors.

Second, the database is comprised of minority vendors that have worked with—and met the approval of—Omnicom shops. Um, isn’t this exactly the type of exclusivity that fuels discrimination? Will vendors who don’t win favor essentially be blacklisted? And won’t it increase the difficulty minority vendors already face when trying to catch a break and/or get their foot in the door?

Third, somebody tell the OneSandbox creators that Omnicom already boasts having a robust Supplier Diversity Database—which is a standard smokescreen for holding companies feigning interest in inclusion. And it’s especially expected for an enterprise claiming to be “committed to diversity” for over a decade and led by a Pioneer of Diversity. The invention of OneSandbox seems to indicate Omnicom has not been diligent, vigilant and honest in promoting and employing minority vendors.

Sorry, but OneSandbox sounds like a litter box filled with crumbs.

TBWA devises tool to connect agencies with diverse vendors

‘OneSandbox’ search platform aims to find diverse and women-owned creative companies

By Megan Graham

Ad agencies have come under scrutiny in recent years for their diversity levels (or lack thereof) in their employee and leadership pools. But a less talked-about topic has been diversity among creative vendors that agencies work with.

Omnicom’s TBWA/Worldwide has created a new resource aimed at making it a lot easier for agencies and brands to find minority suppliers in the advertising world. The goal is to give those businesses a leg up as agencies build more inclusive supply chains.

The new site, OneSandbox, is a membership-based search platform that allows agencies to connect with diverse and women-owned creative vendors that can bid on projects. Agencies or brands seeking to work with women-, multicultural-, Hispanic-, LGBT- or veteran-owned businesses, for instance, will be able to use the site to identify vendors to help with anything from casting and set design to translation or animatronics.

OneSandbox is launching with ten “charter” agencies — which include TBWA\Chiat\Day, The Integer Group, GMR Marketing, Eventive, TBWA\Media Arts Lab, The Collective, TBWA\Worldhealth, Nissan United, 180LA, Designory and Engage. Eventually TBWA plans to roll out the platform for all Omnicom agencies, then open up membership to agencies outside of the holding company.

Doug Melville, TBWA North America’s chief diversity officer, says the resource is meant to support diversity in the industry beyond the agency’s own walls. Though the site is meant to be a living and ever-widening resource, TBWA started by going through the minority-owned vendors it had worked with in the last two years that the agency wanted to recommend to others.

“We’ve used them, we know they’re good — or great — and we want them to have more opportunities,” he says. Melville says making the information about vetted, high-quality resources available and easy to navigate removes some of the barriers to hiring these diverse suppliers.

The site also includes information about diversity and inclusion-themed conferences, awards shows and news.

Creative consultancy Bravely helped TBWA build the OneSandbox website. Bravely’s president and chief experience officer Shane Santiago says this kind of resource can give shops like his own an in with agencies.

“Smaller agencies like ourselves really need a pipeline to showcase our talent,” he says. “Oftentimes once you get that first project or two, it can turn into a long-term relationship.”

OneSandbox joins a number of platforms and communities seeking to help minority suppliers gain new business. Free the Bid, for instance, was launched to encourage the industry to give women directors more consideration when it comes to ad work. Agency Spotter also has a filter for minority-owned or women-owned businesses. Santiago says a platform that is tightly focused on the ad industry is especially useful for shops like his since it’s likely to be more focused and specific — some platforms send out requests for proposals for work across many industries.

Rob Schwartz, CEO of TBWA/Chiat/Day New York, says hiring diverse suppliers isn’t just a feel-good decision — it’s good business. “These are fresh eyes and fresh voices,” he says, adding that casting a wider net for vendors is likely to mean agencies and brands are “going to wind up with something fresh with their creative product.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All of these agency diversity search platforms work exactly the same way. They're designed to charge brands a fee to access a search engine that, if you dig through the numbers, just shows that most of the minority spend goes to white women and white LGBT businesses anyway.

Because no one ever bothers to pin the agencies down to ask them precise numbers of their minority spend, agencies can and do get away with putting out press releases about how they've spent millions of dollars with minority owned businesses, when the reality is that 95% of it went to white women and men.

(Oh and another variation is for agencies to use a huge tech supplier based in Hong Kong or Mumbai for an app design or media buy. Then the agency trumpets how many millions they've spent with Asian American businesses, because nobody ever asks to see the real details or talks with the owners of that company who turn out to be foreign owned, not minorities at all)

In the end, black businesses get a handful of crumbs once a year in the run up to Black History Month, just enough to cover the cost of a stock photo for a magazine ad.

But hey the agencies get great publicity that makes it look like they support diversity when they announce search platforms like this, and that's obviously more important to them than any actual diversity. Maybe some day someone in the press will bother to ask them to break down their numbers and show who benefits other than white friends of the agency.