ANA Acknowledges 'Systemic Bias' Throughout Industry, Pledges Change

The ANA and its diversity initiative, the Alliance for Inclusive & Multicultural Marketing (AIMM), today acknowledged limited progress in all aspects of diversity and inclusion – including diverse leadership, cultural relevance in advertising and growth in multicultural marketing. 

In a letter to their boards of directors and full memberships, the organizations called for sweeping changes to accelerate progress and effect real, dynamic change.  They each pledged “to do everything in our individual and collective power to end systemic racism and achieve equality and justice” in the marketing and advertising industries. 

“As marketers and industry leaders, we commit to unflinchingly examine our own history and current practices to shine the light on systemic and institutional bias that exists within the industry,” the letter stated.  “We can no longer accept the failings of many of our diversity and inclusion initiatives and commit to examine why they fail and what action is needed to advance. And we commit to interventions that will have an immediate and sustained impact on equality, inclusion, and systemic change in our ecosystem and in our society.” 



The letter recommended several steps marketers can take to address D&I including annual progress reports, conducting workshops, increasing spending on multicultural marketing and work with measurement companies to obtain accurate multicultural data to more effectively connect diverse audiences. 

Also the letter committed to eliminating bias through accurate portrayal of race, identity and culture in advertising campaigns and to improve the diversity of ad and marketing-related supply chains (producers, agencies, media outlets and more). 

The letter asks recipients to participate by adding their signatures to copies of the letter that appear on the ANA and AIMM websites.  The letter is also scheduled to be published in the next few days in USA TodayThe New York Times and other publications. 

“The inequalities that exist in our nation are also, abundantly and unfortunately, readily apparent in our own industries,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice.  “The ANA and AIMM are fully committed to revisiting and revising our diversity and inclusion efforts and develop new plans that bring real, permanent, and long-overdue changes to the advertising and marketing sectors.”


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