Work & Wellbeing Agency Models Turkey

Here’s how ad agencies are supporting the Turkish-Syrian earthquake relief effort

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By Sam Bradley, Journalist

February 10, 2023 | 6 min read

As the relief effort to locate and recover survivors of Monday’s earthquake in Turkey and Syria continues, agencies operating in the country have offered support.

Turkish flag on a pole

WPP, Dentsu and IPG each have offices in Turkey / Unsplash

Ad agency holding companies WPP, Publicis Groupe, Interpublic Group (IPG) and Dentsu have pledged cash donations and support for staff affected by the deadly earthquake in Syria and Turkey earlier this week.

The most recent reports estimate the death toll of the disaster at 21,000. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that, without significant relief efforts, many more could die from exposure to harsh winter conditions.

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While much of the Turkish advertising industry is centered around Istanbul, WPP said it had established an emergency fund to aid staff with families living in the provinces affected. All of its 1,400 staff in Turkey were safe, a company spokesperson confirmed.

A WPP spokesperson told The Drum: ”We are in ongoing contact with local leadership and working with them to ensure that our people and their families receive the support they need.

”We have provided an emergency relief fund and our colleagues in the country are coordinating efforts across our agencies to provide help to those with family members in the affected region, such as organizing transport to get them to safety and receive additional aid, including access to counseling services.”

The company said it had also donated to the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN’s refugee support organization. ”We have made a donation to the UNHCR who are providing humanitarian support on the ground, and we are match-funding donations from our people.”

Dentsu, which also has a significant presence in the country, is also helping to fundraise for the relief effort. Giulio Malegori, EMEA chief executive officer, said: ”It’s with relief that we can confirm all Dentsu people based in Turkey are reported to be safe. Our thoughts are with everyone whose lives have been profoundly impacted. We are working closely with our team in Turkey to raise funds for charitable efforts and on-the-ground support for impacted communities.”

Meanwhile, Publicis Groupe, which owns agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Zenith, has provided a mental health hotline and directly helped to deliver supplies and resources to organizations involved in relief efforts.

A spokesperson for Publicis said: ”Following the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, we are in touch with our teams in Turkey to ensure their security and well-being. Our alert system is in place and also a mental well-being support line. Our teams are providing support packages for the affected regions, including critical supplies such as blankets, hygiene products, boots, gloves and food, delivering these materials to IBB, Yenikapi Logistics center, working in coordination with AFAD.

”Harnessing the power of our global network, we launched a fundraiser page via Marcel in support of on-the-ground charities providing aid. We continue to monitor the situation and keep in close contact with our people as events unfold. Our thoughts are with all the victims of this tragic event, their families and their loved ones.”

In a statement to its own staff, IPG, the parent company of agencies Mullenlowe and Mediabrands, said that it was donating to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in order to fund heavy equipment for debris removal, medical care and search and rescue efforts.

The statement read: ”In an effort to provide assistance to the victims, IPG will donate on behalf of our employees to the International Rescue Committee and we encourage you to do the same if you are able to.

”At this time, all of our employees in the surrounding areas and those who were traveling nearby are safe. We appreciate the inquiries about their well-being that we received from so many of you.”

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Omnicom, which also has agency operations within Turkey, has been contacted for comment.

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