Dave Buonaguidi replies to 'This is bullshit', an open letter to adland by a working mum

Dave Buonaguidi and Sarah Shepherd, who was a offered placement at Crispin Porter & Bogusky London as part of Creative Equals’ Returnship scheme
Dave Buonaguidi and Sarah Shepherd, who was a offered placement at Crispin Porter & Bogusky London as part of Creative Equals’ Returnship scheme

Dave Buonaguidi, the chief creative officer at Crispin Porter & Bogusky London, replies to the letter writer who took a swipe at the returner scheme his agency has signed up to.

Dear Anon,

I am sad that you got so angry when you read the article.

I have known Ali at Creative Equals for over ten years and I think getting mums back into business is a really good idea, and so it was something that we at CPB got behind.

I have spent over 30 years in this business and am totally stunned that we are still in the dark ages. There are several hundred reasons why adland is still so old fashioned, the main one being that the people who run the business are predominantly white, middle-class, heterosexual males, a group that tend to be quite old-fashioned and mercenary in their views and behaviours.

The only way to change things is to stop talking about stuff and actually do something.

But still, all I see is bullshit headshots of the great and the good of adland moaning about a lack of diversity and not enough action. (This week has been an exception, where it seems everyone is doing great work in the area, but I suspect that’s just positive press.)

What the Creative Equals initiative is doing is a great start, and if it helps encourage mums back into this archaic industry, brilliant, and if one mum can get an opportunity and then convert it, then it has been a huge success.

Sarah is a very good writer. She accepted a paid opportunity to work full time in our creative team developing and pitching ideas, something she hadn’t done a lot of for a long time. For her to have an opportunity to retrain on the job with live briefs made a lot of sense to me. Her six weeks has turned into nearly five months to date as testament to her talent. Initially we paid her as a 'Returner', taking into account her seniority and expertise, not an 'Intern'. And after the official returnship period, she has stayed with us at an industry standard freelance rate.

I can’t think of any business on earth where you could take a ten-year break and then return on the same salary.

If there is one, tell me, I might try it.

I am very passionate about changing this industry and I find it as frustrating as you seem to.

But I have always put my money where my mouth is. In the mid 90’s I co-founded St Luke’s, a co-operative ad agency where everyone, even mums, were equal shareholders. I wonder why has no one followed suite and done that again? I also founded Karmarama in 2000, an agency based on doing the right thing, with a no wanker hiring policy, (that included mums,) and employed a mum of four and made her an equal shareholder.

CPB has the same values that I do. We only want to employ great people, irrespective of colour, sex, religion or status, and as I stated previously the Creative Equals initiative is a great step in the right direction.

It sounds like you need a new home, not a new challenge.

Try CPB.

You might enjoy it.

We are pretty modern.

We are not a sweatshop.

We are an arsehole-free zone.

We happily work with mums and embrace the way they want to work.

And we won’t even call you a "suit".

Besides, who even does that anymore?

Feel free to get in touch direct, and save paying the headhunters fees.


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