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'It needs to be sustainable, not reactive': WeTransfer on doing more for black creatives

The Drum 10 Jun 2020 07:00
WeTransfer’s commitment as benevolent ally to the black creative community

Following the death of George Floyd and widespread protests against institutional racism, WeTransfer, the file sharing service beloved by creators, has pledged to strengthen support for black creatives. Chief creative officer Damian Bradfield tells The Drum how the platform plans to make a lasting difference, and not just become another purveyor of hollow words.

The George Floyd protests have shone a spotlight on cases of racial discrimination in the US and across the world. Amid the deluge of brands queuing up to declare their support for Black Lives Matter, WeTransfer‘s co-founder and chief creative officer Damian Bradfield says he doesn‘t want the platform to be reactive, but to put more emphasis, time and money into work that can make a lasting difference.

“To be frank, we have a responsibility to do more. What we‘re trying to figure out at the moment is how do we do it intelligently,“ admits Bradfield. “It has to be sustainable if it is to keep going for 10 or 20 years.“

Ad space takeover

Brand responses to the protests have been tepid thus far.

Beauty giant L’Oréal Paris came under fire when Munroe Bergdorf, formerly dropped by the brand due to her political activism, accused it of hypocrisy. Crossfit, meanwhile, lost the support of Reebok and other brands following a widely condemned remark referring to the protests made by its founder and chief executive on Twitter.

This weekend (6 June), WeTransfer ran a takeover in the US. It donated 100% of its wallpaper ad space to Black Lives Matter causes, including a non-profit organisation designed to combat mass incarceration, Black Future Lab, an organisation that works to make black people powerful in politics, and the Movement For Black Lives – a petition to defund police and to invest the money back into the black community.

WeTransfer has been connected to the prolific muso since 2016 when Peterson, in pursuit of brand support for Worldwide FM, ended up with the role of creative director. Four years later, and his input into the tech brand’s creative strategy has remained consistent. And, in recent weeks, Peterson has been helping to point the brand in the right direction.

Editorial for good

"We act as editors, as opposed to creatives. We're not filming or shooting stuff ourselves," Bradfield admits. "Given that our reach is so big, our main job is making sure that each month we are actively making sure that the work that we commission or showcase is diverse."

“We have a fantastic vehicle to tell some very important stories,” he explains. Earlier this year, WePresent partnered with actor and rapper Riz Ahmed for a harrowing short film titled The Long Goodbye, directed by Aneil Karia.

Twigs previously worked with WeTransfer on a documentary called the Baltimore Dance Project, where the musician sent out a series of tweets calling out for dancers to attend a dance workshop with her in Baltimore.

Outside of its plans to make a lasting difference to black creatives, today (10 June) WeTransfer has joined the 3,300 other ethical businesses in achieving B Corp certification.

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George FloydDamian BradfieldBradfieldWeTransferWeTransfers co
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