BBDO NY latest DEI initiative is a partnership with the NYC Department of Education called ADiverse.
The program is designed to spark passion for advertising and marketing within diverse talent at NYC public high schools serving large BIPOC populations.
The pilot launches with the High School for Art and Design and includes six sessions to be led by school staff and BBDO staffers. Seminars will focus on the impact of advertising utilizing BBDO client case studies from brands that students will recognize and culminate with a BBDO executive leadership panel focused on breaking into the industry.
The initial classes are being hosted as webinars, open to all students, with the goal of raising broad awareness and building interest in the advertising industry. Students will then have the option to enroll in smaller classroom courses focused on skillset building and development in the Fall.
In addition, BBDO NY will offer networking and mentoring opportunities, an externship program for school staff, and internships to student candidates.
BBDO decided to age down when developing its diversity program in order to help bolster early awareness when teens are still thinking about potential paths.
“The lack of diversity in the Advertising industry is a problem that needs to be addressed at every level, beginning during the formative high school years,” said Jason Rosario, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer of BBDO. “Not only will this partnership help us establish unique trust-based relationships with emerging talent, but it’s a tangible way that BBDO, as narrators of culture and history, can take action to help shift talent demographics long term within our industry.”
Rosario spearheaded this project with his friend, Kevin Lopez, an instructor at Art & Design High School. “Since starting at BBDO, it’s been a priority of mine to find new avenues for recruiting diverse talent into the industry, from the ground up,” he states. “Together we were able to create this new curriculum to be co-led by teachers and BBDOers.”
Although the program is still newly hatched, Rosario is pleasantly surprised by the “fairly seamless process.” He adds the initial response from students has been “overwhelmingly positive” with many asking how to “gear-up for the interview process.”
ADiverse will expand to other high schools including Edward R. Murrow, next school year. Looking forward, the agency is open to launching similar programs across
its U.S. network.
“BBDO is headquartered in New York, so it made sense to start here, particularly since NYC is such an epicenter for diverse talent with a remarkable network of specialized schools,” says Rosario. “Once we see how the pilot performs and get feedback from our prime prospects, the students, we’re definitely open to expanding across our other agencies where it makes sense.