One-word answers addressing social injustice and inequality with TBWA Diversity Chief Officer Doug Melville

He also shares the top organizations and movements he believes the industry should tap into because they best focus on amplifying black voices.

At the end of April, Campaign US had TBWA’s Doug Melville on a Pillow Talk episode to talk about how the industry can ensure that D&I efforts are stronger than ever in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we’ve invited the chief diversity officer to dive into social injustices and inequality as protests continue to take place in every state across America.

On May 25, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed while being arrested and manhandled by white police officers. The act of violence and discrimination has led to #BlackLivesMatter rallies and marches around the country, as well as a social movement this week dubbed #BlackOutTuesday, which was supported by various marketers and agencies across adland.

Campaign US asked Melville to share his answers around how companies can get involved in this movement authentically and what not to do.

He also shares the top organizations and movements he believes the industry should tap into because they best focus on amplifying black voices. See his answers below.


What can brands and agencies do regarding social injustices and inequality? Acknowledge. 

On the flip side, what's the absolute worst thing they can do? Wokewashing. 

Tell us what you hope brands and agencies learn going forward from these tumultuous times. Awareness. 

What trait is most important for brands and agencies to possess in challenging situations? Leadership. 

In terms of diversity, the industry needs less… sizzle… and more… steak. 

What do you say to companies that claim it's hard to find diverse talent? Assumption.

Give a word of advice to young people of color looking to enter adland. Hustle. 

Blackout posts: People/brands/agencies who got it right did this one thing. Pivoted

And people/brands/agencies who got it wrong did this. BAU (Business as usual).

For this one, we'll let you break the "one word" rule because this is important. Name every single diversity tool or organization that companies should have in their diversity armories. Focusing on places that amplify black voices - I would pick five.

OneSandbox - Search diverse creative businesses, news and events. Updated daily. (Vendors/News).

ADCOLOR - Support and grow the community. Participate in their forums and chats. (Donations).

AAF - Most Promising - Great group of students. Great feeder program. (Donations).

Black Health Now - Ongoing series of conversations about black health. Amazing. On IG (Content) #blackhealthnow.

Daily Diversity News - Diversity Doug gives a 10-minute rundown daily of the best in diversity news. On LinkedIn. (Content). 

- Black Lives Matter IG - Know what's mobilizing and happening on the ground - across the globe (Awareness)

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