Grey London has invited all its clients and suppliers to sign up to a new diversity charter.
The initiative aims to ensure greater diversity and increased equity, inclusion and representation across every aspect of the work they do.
The Charter has already been included in many of Grey’s agreements with its clients.
By declaring both parties’ joint commitment to diverse representation at every stage of a piece of work, it promises to fundamentally change the way advertising is thought about and created, having a huge impact on our audiences across the world.
The agency has been developing its new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Representation (DEIR) Charter for more than eight months through close dialogue with internal and external subject matter experts, partners, clients and suppliers.
Laura Jordan Bambach, President and CCO at Grey London, said: “This Charter is the first example of a big creative agency putting diversity, equity, inclusion and representation at the heart of everything it stands for, and at the start of client conversations.
“By incorporating the Charter into our client contracts and agreements, we’re changing the way diversity is considered within the creative industries – and in turn, what representation looks like for the rest of the world.
The Charter has been endorsed and signed by brands including Pringles, Saputo, Fidelity, Braun and Very to name a few.
The guiding mantra has been “progression over perfection”, recognising the importance of always moving forward towards our goal of building better equity and representation in all our work – in front of, behind and beyond the camera.
Jet Cooke, Head of UK Marketing – End Investor at Fidelity International, said: “Diversity is critical and at Fidelity, we focus on inclusion throughout our business.
“As part of that, we partner with our agencies to help shape the creative work we put into the world, making sure it is representative and inclusive.
“We fully support Grey’s DEIR Charter and are proud to work with them as a partner to drive real change in the industry and beyond.”
The Charter is made of three sections that lay out the ways diversity, equity, inclusion and representation are brought to life throughout the entire breadth of Grey’s creative process:
This focuses on challenging the norms firms expect to see in mainstream culture; working with designated community partners as key stakeholders on projects and telling stories of diverse groups.
This looks at ways firms can diversify the opportunities available to different demographics, by judging on aptitude more than experience; upskilling underrepresented people through production; blind casting that leads to more inclusive representation; and when representing a diverse group, making sure those actors are from that same demographic.
Grey London has also created a thorough Needs Form for all visitors, partners and shoots – covering everything from pronouns to the specific accessibility needs a person may have.
This is how firms tracks their output, through community testing with the demographics they represent; respecting CAP and ASA guidance on codes of conduct and gender stereotyping and gathering data to track the agency’s progress towards a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and representative future.
Bambach said: “The need is clear, as is the business case. At Grey, we know the collision of difference is how you get to truly great ideas.
“And so now, when our clients sign up to Grey’s Famously Effective Creativity, they sign up to our commitment to better diversity, equity, inclusion and representation in advertising too.”
While the move is part of Grey London’s ongoing efforts to build its commitments around diverse creativity, it’s also about driving real change within the industry.
The aim is to roll the DEIR Charter out beyond Grey London to the global group, and then to the entire industry as an open-source resource in the future.
Internally, Grey has ensured all of its employees have undergone training and taken part in an open Q&A forum around the Charter and how it now shapes each stage of creativity.
A toolbox has also been created that everyone has access to which includes statistics, articles and other sources to deepen their understanding and access to information around DEIR.
The Grey London initiative follows numerous studies highlighting the underrepresentation in advertising of numerous minority groups.
Just 19% of people represented in adverts are from a minority group of any kind, according to Lloyds Bank’s landmark Reflecting Modern Britain study.
Some 88% of consumers agree that not enough brands do a good enough job of representing them or their communities (Kantar Inclusive Advertising Playbook, 2021).
Meanwhile, 64% of people of colour in the UK would feel more positive about any brand that showcases diverse cultures, and progressive ads are 47% more likely to be effective in both the long and the short term when it comes to performance, 4Sales research found.