Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. If you classify as a woman, as part of a minority group, or a person with a disability you’ve seen these words over and over again. In the most recent killings of black men and women across the U.S., the business community has responded by adding minority percentage goals to their staff, donating to resource centers in the fight for equity, implementing diversity programs, and by creating diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) positions.
In the advertising world, this seems to be much of the same strategy. Only a few weeks ago, but still highly relevant, a whistleblower brought to light the racist and discriminatory practices of The Richards Group. From one comment, the agency lost long-standing clients and more importantly, they lost their reputation. This recent incident raised some questions. How many other agencies have a similar problem, but their employees are too afraid to speak up? Is there a way or space for employees to speak openly about the issues of discrimination? And after employees speak out what happens next? What is the solution?
The Richards Group lost clients because of what was said. Sure, this is a direct reaction to shocking news, but this still leaves the agency, the leadership, and the clients in a tough position. Somewhere along the line, this behavior was accepted not only by the agency, but by all parties involved. This means that there is a systemic issue that needs a nuanced solution. The problem will still exist even if you take away one person. Now, we turn and ask the question to our readers. What are some solutions to discrimination and racism in the advertising industry? Are the strategies currently being implemented for diversity, equity and inclusion working? Or has the industry completely missed the mark?
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