MediaCom leads project to track representation in advertising

MediaCom: working with ISBA, the Advertising Association and the IPA
MediaCom: working with ISBA, the Advertising Association and the IPA

It will work with existing trade bodies.

MediaCom UK, ISBA, the Advertising Association and the IPA are developing a tool to track representation in the ad industry.

Looking at the people both in front of and behind the camera in TV ads, the tool aims to benchmark current diversity levels and help measure the effectiveness of future diversity and inclusion programmes in the industry. It seeks to be the advertising equivalent of Project Diamond, a system that gathers diversity data in UK TV productions. 

The tool will work with existing trade bodies that certify ads, including Clearcast. When a spot is submitted, an automated response will ask the agency to share a list of personnel involved in the ad. Initially, the process will be voluntary.

The project is being led by MediaCom’s Glass Wall Network, a group of female leaders from brands including Bayer, Betfair and TUI that focuses on workplace equality.

Sue Unerman, chief transformation officer at MediaCom, said: “Real change needs to be driven by real data; if we can’t measure our efforts, then they end up being meaningless. While we know there is room for improvement in advertising representation, we simply don’t know the extent of the problem. This tool aims to change that.

“Although there are already some studies looking at on-screen representations – notably from Channel 4 and Lloyds Banking Group – this will be an industry-first; a systematic overview of all sides of the industry, from creative to development to production.”

Currently, the tool is set to roll out at the end of 2020, with the first report on the data to be released in April 2021. MediaCom plans to extend the scheme to other media channels – including digital, press and radio – in the future.

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