Atlanta Ad Agencies Play Up Diversity With New Coalition

Four Atlanta-based advertising agencies are joining forces in the Advertising for Change coalition, which aims to boost diversity in the advertising world’s ranks. The agencies are working closely with 4A’s on a program looking to draw a diverse set of interns to the city.

One of the things that Atlanta’s advertising sector would tell you the city has going for it is its rich history of diversity.

That history is driving four of Atlanta’s ad agencies—JWT Atlanta, 22squared, Fitzgerald & Co., and Moxie—to launch the Advertising for Change (AFC) coalition, which aims to better leverage that legacy within the industry and beyond.

“We have as much responsibility to reflect our community as we do our clients’ brands and our own bottom lines,” JWT Atlanta CEO Spence Kramer said in a news release. “Atlanta is one of the most diverse cities in the world, so it’s incumbent on us to attract and retain the best talent for the city. This isn’t about ‘making a number’ or reaching a goal. It’s about doing what’s best for our business.”

The AFC coalition comes at a time when diversity is a hot topic in the advertising space. Last year, a controversy involving former Saatchi & Saatchi Executive Chairman Kevin Roberts brought the issue into sharp relief, as it highlighted sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the industry. Meanwhile, the Association of National Advertisers,  through its Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing, has been working on improving diversity in the marketing messages that reach consumers.

The AFC coalition has teamed up with the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) to bring a diverse class of interns to work at the agencies this summer. In addition to their tasks at their respective agencies, the interns will be grouped into two teams to work on a project for a local nonprofit. At the end of the program, one intern will receive job offers from each of the four agencies in the coalition.

“It’s a unique opportunity. Each agency will agree on the recipient and extend the intern the same offer,” noted Fitzgerald & Co. Chief Talent Officer Liza Ramos in the release. “This empowers the AFC scholar to pick the agency he or she wants to work with, and it upholds our goal of attracting and retaining the best diverse talent in the city of Atlanta—even if the choice is a friendly competitor.”

Singleton Beato, 4A’s executive vice president of diversity and inclusion strategy and talent development, welcomed the collaborative approach, calling it “the type of change that can break down the systemic challenges of our past.”

“When we collaborate to achieve a common goal, like building and maintaining an authentically inclusive workforce, the potential to maximize creativity and innovation in the agency culture, and the work we produce for clients, becomes limitless,” Beato said.

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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