AAAA's initiative to increase diversity in US ad industry

MUMBAI: The American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), with the endorsement of chief executive officers from six of the industry's worldwide communications firms has launched Operation Success.

The programme is aimed at increasing the ethnic diversity and inclusiveness in key operational areas of the advertising business.



The move has been endorsed by some of the biggest names in advertising. They include WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell and Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Maurice Levy.

AAAA president and CEO O Burtch Drake added, "For years we have recognised and worked to address the issue of increasing minority representation in our industry. Operation Success provides the framework, the high level of executive involvement and the comprehensive plan to produce improved results."



Operation Success will focus on three areas:

Employee recruitment and retention: Firms with expertise in diversity will be identified. Contacts with core professional organisations in each ethnic market will be expanded. Minority-owned recruiting firms will be retained to identify candidates for employment to develop a diverse slate of candidates. A database of established professionals will be developed.

Training and development: A mentoring programme will support the existing formal, internal mentoring programmes such as MAIP. The development of senior-level mentoring programmes at each agency and across agencies will be encouraged. Industry-wide networking initiatives will be supported. Measurements and tracking mechanisms will be defined.



The training programmes will include an AAAA coordinated program in conjunction with CUNY/Medgar Evers College and historically black colleges and universities and other educational institutions with strong minority enrollment to provide information, training, and education on advertising and careers in the advertising industry. Advertising agency executives will be encouraged to serve as instructors, mentors and resources for students in the programme.

Vendor and supplier relationships: Participating agencies in consultation with their clients will make coordinated efforts to increase the use of minority subcontractors. In addition, the AAAA will publish a resource directory and convene a supplier trade show to facilitate the use of minority suppliers to the advertising industry.

This programme encourages and supports the utilisation of minority vendors and suppliers throughout the business. Toward that end, the programme encourages agencies to partner with such organisations as the New York- New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council, which has a record of leadership in the area of minority supplier development.

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