The Richards Group made headlines, again, last week for hiring a diversity consultant to help the agency get to a better place on the diversity, equity and inclusion front.
The fact that development made headlines is somewhat telling about the work ahead of Adland in making its workforce and culture more diverse and equitable.
Of course, also telling in that regard were the low diversity workforce numbers released last summer by most of the holding companies and many agencies. People of color and other minority groups are vastly underrepresented in the advertising workforce.
Once those numbers improve, you’ll see Adland doing a much better job of presenting realistic work that connects to more constituencies than brands even knew they had.
As you’ll recall, Richards learned the hard way a few months back that it needed a diversity overhaul, given comments from its founder about then-client Motel 6, the work being presented at a pitch meeting (“too Black”) and the client’s customer base, which Richards deemed racist and intolerant.
Offensive on so many levels. But it seems like the agency is trying to take steps to be anti-racist, the first big step being Stan Richards stepping down.
Other agencies are no doubt considering their own cultures and DEI efforts in the wake of all that has happened this year on that front in business and the broader society.
There have been so many false starts and paid lip service to DEI in this industry over the years. I’m hopeful this time will be different.