The Ad Council is firmly and unequivocally committed to fighting systemic racism, injustice and anti-Blackness, within our walls and in the work we create, not just today, but every day.
We know we have not done enough and are conscious of our own failures at becoming an actively anti-racist organization. We hold ourselves accountable to do more to simultaneously accelerate our existing initiatives and to add new actions, programs and processes to fight systemic prejudice and inequity.
As we work toward these commitments, we are dedicated to further educating ourselves and amplifying those voices who’ve been working in this space tirelessly.
If we are asking the country to be anti-racist, then we must be as well. We have a lot of work to do on this front. We know that fully correcting our past mistakes and building new processes for the future will take time—but that doesn’t take away from the urgency of our action. We know that the only way to end the cycle of systemic inequity and create a more just world for Black, Indigenous, and people of color individuals within our company, our industry and our country, is to act every single day.
Increase BIPOC Representation
Improve Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) representation at all levels of the Ad Council, especially within senior positions
• Re-envision our senior leadership team to ensure a wider range of voices at all levels of our organization. As a first step, our new Chief Equity Officer (CEqO) Elise James-DeCruise joined us on April 5, 2021.
• Set specific time-bound goals to increase BIPOC representation on all teams.
• Invest in additional training. Beginning April 2021, our leadership team will take part in a three-part series on race, equity and Inclusion led by Redshift.
• Curate career development programs for BIPOC employees.
Conduct External Audit
Conduct an external audit of current policies, processes and culture and provide recommendations. To ensure greater equity and accountability going forward, the audit will include but is not limited to:
• Promotions and retention practices concerning BIPOC staff.
• Pay equity transparency.
• Optimal methods for tying DEI goals to compensation.
• Hiring and recruiting practices.
Actively Foster Inclusion
Create an environment where all people and perspectives are included, supported and valued
• Conduct ongoing anti-racism training(s) for our staff focusing on topics like microaggressions, promoting psychological safety and allyship.
• Implement regular engagement surveys to anonymously track employees’ sense of belonging, psychological safety and inclusivity and assess how results vary by race and other demographic markers starting April 2021.
• We have instituted two new, paid company holidays moving forward—Juneteenth and general Election Day.
Ensure Equitable Hiring
Review and refresh recruitment and hiring practices to ensure inclusivity, avoid bias and better recruit BIPOC talent
• Consider candidates with relevant, transferable skills who may not have taken a traditional educational path or received a college degree.
• We have expanded our hiring policies to include fully remote hiring.
• Post all open positions on intersectional job boards and continue to post on BIPOC-related job boards.
• Use our Ambassador program to expand outreach to a more diverse representation of colleges (including two-year and trade) to recruit from new talent pools and strengthen our candidate pipeline.
Establish Accountability Measures
Institute accountability and transparency standards for the organization that are actionable and measurable
• Share our internal employee staffing data, which includes hiring, retention and promotion numbers (broken down by demographics) every year beginning Q2, 2021.
• Tie employee fiscal year goals to annual incentive compensation for every Ad Council employee, beginning 2021.
• Share our existing compensation philosophy, process and structure with the entire organization.
Diversify Partners & Advisors
Diversify our advisors and increase BIPOC representation across external partners and the entire Ad Council ecosystem
• Increase BIPOC representation on all Ad Council Committees that inform our work (Creative Review Committees, Advisory Committee, Research Committee, UX Committee, etc.).
• Reassess diversity goals for our Board of Directors.
• Review all vendor, consultant, freelancer and agency relationships and set goals for increasing diverse representation and number of BIPOC-owned vendors considered and employed for all work.
Diversify Our Creative Process
Produce content that supports our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts and breaks stereotypes
• Produce content that supports our DEI efforts and breaks stereotypes.
• Ensure all campaigns targeting a BIPOC audience are tested among that audience.
• Ensure all agency work specifically designed to reach people within BIPOC communities is created by teams led by people representative of those communities.
• Require all lead agencies share staff demographics and organizational commitments to racial equity.
• Ensure at least 30% of Ad Council’s major productions include BIPOC behind the camera.
• Conduct quarterly campaign reviews with external experts.
Amplify BIPOC Organizations & Initiatives
Leverage our platform to take a proactive approach in supporting external organizations dedicated to dismantling systemic racism
• Leverage our brand channels to support organizations dedicated to dismantling systemic racism.
• Amplify content from racial justice organizations and nonprofits that drive measurable action to fight systemic racism.
• Host conversations on racism and racial justice at key industry convenings such as Davos, Cannes, SXSW, CES, ANA, 4As and NewFronts, and ensure all Ad Council panels include diverse representation.
Reimagine Love Has No Labels
Review and refine the Ad Council’s Diversity & Inclusion campaign (“Love Has No Labels”) to ensure an updated, proactive approach to eroding bias that includes a particular lens of racism
• Audit, assess and pivot campaign guidelines, call-to-actions and fulfillments with new internal team and external experts to increase focus on racial bias and prejudice.
• Implement new requirements for corporate partner campaign sponsorship with a DEI lens (similar to Human Rights Campaign’s scorecard on LGBTQ). • Set new KPIs to specifically focus on measurable changes around racial bias and prejudice.
Launch & Sustain Racial Justice Work
Launch a long-term Ad Council-led campaign effort that will drive measurable change in public attitudes and behaviors around racial injustice
• Consult with external BIPOC experts in the field of racial justice to help prioritize and create an agenda and platform for campaign development, including determining areas of focus and a concrete action plan.
• Review Ad Council future content pillars to ensure all issues we consider exploring on a deeper level have an equity lens and give priority to addressing disparities and systemic issues.
Our strategy will definitely evolve, but our mission won’t.
Our commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization is unwavering. Because if the fight isn’t over for some of us, it’s not over for any of us.
Please note we will continue to update this page with reports on our progress.