Diversity in advertising has been a reoccurring topic over the past few decades and numerous companies have adamantly proclaimed it to be a priority for their organization. And while many businesses are genuinely committed to creating a culture of inclusiveness, some are just starting the conversation and slow to implement strategies that will successfully set them on the path of inclusion for all. The American Advertising Federation’s Mosaic Center, the only resource of its kind for the national advertising industry, strongly advocates on behalf of future industry leaders to ensure they are getting the professional development and networking opportunities with industry decision makers, to solidify their chances for successful careers.
The AAF acts as the “Unifying Voice for Advertising.” Its membership consists of advertising agencies, brands, media, marketing and tech companies, as well as other businesses involved in the industry. As these industries continue to converge, it is the Mosaic Center’s mission to connect, showcase and promote companies and individuals who successfully embrace diversity and inclusion, as well as produce meaningful content which celebrates multicultural communities and their many facets.
Major advertising brands are demonstrating their commitment to diversity by requiring their advertising agencies to meet specific workforce diversity goals. These brands understand that to speak to today’s global community, corporate talent pools should be diverse and inclusive if they desire to inspire creative and innovative ideas.
Constance Cannon Frazier, Chief Operating Officer of the AAF, believes that diverse talent yields diverse points of views. “There is a distinct correlation between organizations internal diversity initiatives and the work they produce. Creating a culture of inclusion fosters non-monolithic perspectives and insights, resulting in work that embraces and fairly depicts the multicultural society in which we live.”
The Mosaic Center’s Most Promising Multicultural Student program bridges the gap between multicultural talent and organizations that are committed to a more inclusive workforce. In addition to workforce inclusion, the Mosaic Center also champions the equitable depiction of multicultural communities in advertising, entertainment and media. It’s Mosaic Awards and Mosaic Media Image Awards recognizes individuals, agencies and companies who have created cutting edge advertising and media content that offers a voice to all.
With public perception heavily influenced by images depicted in advertising and media, now, more than ever, it is vitally important that those images reflect a fair and unbiased portrayal of our multicultural communities. The responsibility to hold those in power of disseminating these images accountable, as well as celebrate those who get it right is at the core of the Mosaic Center’s principles.
As imagery is an important component of the Mosaic Center, the AAF and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, through its GET ENGAGED™ social action initiative, co-sponsored a series of “Watch Parties” focused on the impact of media images. During the “Watch Parties,” participants examined the state of African-American images in media, their effects on public perception and policy, and the role individuals can play in driving change. Following the “Watch Parties,” a series of national panels continued the conversation, resulting in the production of the white paper, “Reality TV: Entertaining, but No Laughing Matter” which explored connections between advertising and media industries and images displayed in ads and programming, as well as suggestions from participants on tackling problems of media misrepresentation.
The Mosaic Center’s core principles offer agencies and companies the recommendations needed to institute common diversity practices that are essential to addressing the demands of our consumers. The Center’s goals are to achieve greater workplace diversity within the advertising industry and to promote programs targeted towards multicultural markets that will prepare the industry’s future leaders.
And while companies have championed the need for diversity, many establishments have eliminated their Chief Diversity Officer positions, citing that it should be every employee’s job to promote diversity from within. However, if no one is at the helm of creating an inclusive workforce, no one is held accountable.