Agencies, Organizations Announce New DEI Initiatives

As the industry continues to develop diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives, three groups are revealing their most recent efforts.

Ready Set Rocket (RSR) is introducing new policies to expand the agency’s internal culture. This is the first time the digital agency has made an investment into DEI and is working with outside consultants on these efforts.

The first effort will focus on auditing “everything” as it relates to DEI, from how it presents itself online to how the agency does onboarding. Next, RSR will implement quarterly training workshops with the entire team, specifically on implicit bias and language use. And the agency will work with recruiters to expand the diverse talent within its workforce.

“We went from this culture of talking about mental health and then introducing all these policies and training,” says Mike Shannon, Head HR, RSR. “We're now in a place where yes, we all agree there's a social and business case for having a more diverse and inclusive team, especially in marketing where you need to be able to speak to diverse audiences.”



The Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) is building upon its DEI-focused “Commitment to Change” by announcing the Double The Line (DTL) initiative in which clients will agree to double up on selected crew positions in order that BIPOC candidates who would benefit from additional experience in the commercial production trenches can be hired to work alongside seasoned veterans in a paid training role.

The way it works is production and post production companies collaborate with the agency and/or client to identify which role or roles they suggest be doubled (the Line Producer or Post Producer, for example), based on potential candidates they know, the nature of the job or a predetermined financial commitment. In doing so, they agree to cover the costs to hire a BIPOC candidate who may lack experience and relationships in the commercials arena to work in partnership with the chosen role, which is labeled “Double the Line” on the budget.

For BIPOC crew members coming from outside the commercial space — such as film or television production, or music videos — DTL represents an opportunity for them to learn the nuances of advertising production alongside an experienced crew or team member, while doing so in a paid capacity.

“Many clients and agency friends reached out to ask about adding more mandates to the bid specs, but I felt that wouldn't make the sort of change that was needed fast enough,” says Prettybird’s Ali Brown who helped to spearhead this project. “Finding a way to have a real investment in talent that extended across the callsheet would not only increase access and opportunity, but would tie in well to other initiatives AICP has taken on that were focused on entry level positions and directors. Double the Line seemed like a simple philosophy that could be adopted widely, or on a per job basis.”

Wieden+Kennedy Portland, 72andSunny, Ford Motor Company and Deutsch have already promised support the initiative. Production consultancy APR has also pledged support.

Storyblocks is addressing the need for more diverse creative content by hiring Allison Jno-Baptiste as vice president of people to diversify its recruiting funnel and promote equitable representation across the organization. She also will ensure the creative stock media’s brand reflects its on-going mission to expand its library of diverse images, including advising the growth of the company’s recent campaign, Re:Stock.  As part of this effort, the rival to Shutterstock has been hiring filmmakers to capture footage of those underrepresented in stock to add to its library.

“While we’re actively working to integrate diversity and inclusion efforts into our product offerings, especially with an ongoing initiative like our Re:Stock collections, I truly believe that change comes from within,” says TJ Leonard, CEO, Storyblocks. “Allison’s fierce devotion to employee development and engagement will be key in fostering our company culture as we look to further expand our internal diversity and inclusion efforts.”


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