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Destroy This Brief: new initiative to tackle diversity & inclusion in ad industry


By Danielle Long | Acting APAC Editor

September 21, 2022 | 7 min read

The Australian ad industry is invited to throw its creative genius behind an initiative to tackle the diversity and inclusion challenges within the sector.

Only One In The Room

Only One In The Room launches Destroy This Brief initiative to tackle diversity challenges in ad industry

The Destroy This Brief initiative has issued a clarion call to the industry to think of ways to create a more diverse advertising community with the opportunity to have their ideas brought to life.

The initiative has been launched by Only One In The Room, a collective created by BMF ECD Pia Chaudhuri, Cocogun creative partner and co-founder Ant Melder, and Dentsu Creative CCO Avish Gordhan, which aims to tackle the industry’s prevalent diversity and inclusion challenges.

While the initiative is limited to the Australian market, it has garnered support from industry heavyweights, including MakeLoveNotPorn founder & CEO Cindy Gallop, former Airbnb & Coke CMO Jonathan Mildenhall, and The Marketing Academy & London International Awards Global Chair Terry Savage.

Gallop said: “It's about time that an industry that claims to want equality, diversity and inclusion but is spectacularly failing to deliver on those claims, brings the full force of its creativity to bear on how to make change happen a damn sight faster. At its very best, what we do is transformative. I can't wait to see our industry use all of the extraordinary creative brilliance our top talent possesses, to transform ourselves.”

Only One In The Room co-founder and BMF ECD Pia Chaudhuri told The Drum, “The first brief is around attracting diverse talent into the industry in the first place, because we think obviously, there's a huge talent shortage in general, across many industries at the moment, but when you then also start to look for diverse talent within that it becomes an extremely small pool of people.”

Chaudhuri says a number of factors contribute to the industry's lack of diversity, including its propensity to 'fish in the same pond' for talent” and a lack of awareness among diverse communities about the available career opportunities within the industry.

“A lot of people don't actually know what the advertising industry can offer in terms of a job. I, for one, didn't know that I could be an art director in advertising until after I finished my degree. I think there's a huge knowledge gap, and finding ways to reach those diverse communities is a challenge.

“We realise there's no silver bullet answer to this. We're not claiming that we will solve it but we believe that as we get as many people as possible, engaging and helping in some way towards the same goal, that we will get there faster.”

“The overarching objective is that we don’t need Destroy The Brief and that Only One In The Room doesn’t have to exist. The ultimate goal is that diversity isn't an issue anymore. And it sounds lofty and potentially a bit idealistic, but ultimately, not having to do this stuff would be a really great outcome for everyone,” says Chaudhuri.

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The initiative follows a landmark industry report earlier this year, revealing that one-fifth of advertising industry employees will leave the sector due to discrimination and exclusion.

Destroy This Brief is open to agencies, creatives, teams, students, directors, and production companies, with two briefs to be released every year addressing specific areas such as attracting and hiring diverse talent at all levels, preventing diverse talent from leaving the industry, and inclusivity and authenticity in advertising.

The initiative aims to encourage people to think beyond traditional advertising and tap into creative responses to instigate real change.

The submissions, which close on 31 October, will be judged by Mischief USA founder & CCO Greg Hahn, Gloster Advisory, non-executive director Sunita Gloster and NAB head of group brand Faycal Benabdellaziz.

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