‘It’s all been plan, plan, plan mode:’ Agencies have big ideas for greater diversity, but more action is needed

Digiday 15 Sep 2020 04:01
September 15, 2020 by Seb Joseph and Kristina Monllos

In the past four months, talk of reform and proposed structural changes to combat racism at agencies has started to shift the pendulum — but more action is required.

While those criticisms have been leveled at other industries since the killing of George Floyd in May, few have given their critics as much cause for concern as agencies. These are businesses that have a knack for empathizing with people in a way that others can’t, and yet their recent commitment to so-called “tangible actions” has left some non-white execs cold.

Otherwise, more might have felt safe enough to talk openly about the progress made by their agency for this article instead of doing so anonymously. Digiday spoke to four non-white agency executives for the piece to chart their perception of how their companies are performing of the diversity and inclusions pledges.

At the outset, it’s not to say change isn’t afoot at these agencies. The fact that diversity execs aren’t just preaching to the converted internally now is evidence of this. But this isn’t the first time those stakeholders have shown an interest in diversity. Agencies made similar moves two years ago in the wake of the Me Too movement. And just as that moment of introspection faded there’s a worry this one will too. 

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