It’s difficult to create a diverse awards judging panel in advertising when so much of the senior leadership in the industry looks the same.
That’s why for this year’s International ANDY awards, nonprofit organization The Advertising Club of New York is combining its judging process with a mentorship program that will pair jurors with talent from underrepresented communities.
The initiative is part of The Ad Club’s Face the Future platform, launched in December to develop a more diverse talent pool in the creativity industry. The ANDY’s, which often identifies work that goes on to win at Cannes Lions and other creative award shows, typically has a jury of the most prestigious creative talent in the business.
The program will add five mid-level judges from underrepresented groups into the judging panel and match the 31 judges with mentees from nontraditional backgrounds. Mentors and mentees will check in monthly with the opportunity to continue their relationship organically.
Bringing in people from outside the typical leadership circles will not only infuse new thinking into the jury, but also help talent develop their careers and prepare them for similar opportunities in the future, said PJ Pereira, ANDY Awards chair and creative chairman and cofounder at Pereira O’Dell.
“We need to not just hire [diverse people], but accelerate their growth,” he explained. “As an industry, that's one of the biggest challenges we have.”
To announce the program, The Ad Club and Pereira O’Dell released a video that uses AI and deepfake technology to demonstrate how the face and voice of the ANDY’s jury has evolved over time.
“By amalgamating these faces, we create a moving infographic to allow people to see how the jury was, what it's becoming and where it’s going to go,” Pereira said.
“Pereira O’Dell has put a call to action for the entire community to face the future,” added Gina Grillo, CEO and president of The Ad Club. “This is an invitation to young people at the cusp of taking that bigger step to become creative leadership.”
The video demonstrates how the face of the ANDY’s judging panel has evolved in its 50-plus year history. In 1992 for example, the jury was 9% gender diverse and had zero racial diversity. That’s compared to the 2021 jury, which is 50% gender diverse and 69% racially diverse.
But the organization, acknowledging there is still a lot of work to be done, is committed to running this new program annually.
“This isn't a one and done,” Grillo said. “It’s about supporting the talent pipeline so the industry continues to evolve, because we know it needs to.”