Stop making bad decisions about agency partners - get early access to the Agency Scoreboard »

Brands Increase Pressure On Agencies To Support Diversity, Is Your Agency Compliant?

Diversity & InclusionOver the last year we have seen more conversations around the topic of Diversity and Inclusion increase in the boardroom, conference room and now it is moving to the negotiation table. Brands of all sizes are making more commitments and investments to have a more diverse workforce and conduct themselves with more inclusive actions.

Diversity and Inclusion initiatives can be a game changer to your company

There are several reasons why your organization would want to embrace diversity, a very obvious one would the opportunity to open more markets around the globe and increase your customer base.

We are starting to see more brands put pressure on the agencies to accountable and transparent about their gender equality practices. Earlier in the year Syl Saller, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Diageo, took a big step forward and contacted the brand’s agency partners asking them to provide details about their respective percentage of women in the creative leadership teams and in their overall management, information on their gender pay gap and their plans to address any gender imbalances in their organization. As of the time of writing Diageo’s agency partners include VMLY& R, Anomaly, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, 72andSunny and Carat.

Agencies who embrace Diversity and Inclusion will grow in 2019, others will fail

Diageo is not the first brand to put the pressure on their agency about its gender initiatives. We can expect many other brands to take a strong stand and push for industry wide change.

As part of her letter to agencies Syl had the following to say:

“I am writing to you looking for your support in addressing an important issue facing our business and our industry – gender balance in advertising. We believe that diversity is a key enabler of making better creative and more effective work, and want to make sure we are putting this right at the forefront of our marketing and creative development work.

“Despite all of our collective efforts as an industry, the pace of substantive change has been too slow in how women are portrayed in content, how qualified women are represented at a senior level in creative development and how women are selected to be creative directors on content.

“We need to make faster progress and the time for action is now. We can all benefit from more diverse teams which leverage the talent in our industry – fostering a better culture and producing better work. And we can only do this by supporting each other to move forward together.”

Over the last few months Diageo has taken some big steps to address diversity in its marketing including:

  • Reviewing its creative work globally to see where it needs to improve on progressive gender portrayals
  • Signing up early to the Free the Bid initiative to play a role in increasing the number of female directors
  • Developing a comprehensive framework covering representation, agency, perspective and characterisation of gender and sharing it with other companies
  • Training its 1,200 marketers and its agencies to embed this framework into Diageo work
  • Figuring out which measures it will use to track its progress
  • Becoming one of the founding members of the United Nations UNStereotype Alliance

Do you work for an organization who is taking steps forward to embrace Diversity and Inclusion? Would you like to see more change? We want to hear from you.