D&AD pushes industry diversity in New Blood program

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 20 November 2014

Global association for creative and design D&AD has criticised the lack of diversity in advertising and has resolved to rewind the industry’s “white, middle class and male” norm.

Speaking to AdNews on a trip to Australia, UK-based D&AD CEO Tim Lindsay said the organisation will be building diversity mechanisms into its New Blood Program, which provides training and workshops for young creatives.

While it is a long way off, Lindsay said it would “absolutely” be rolling that focus into its Australian events.

As part of its new diversity push, D&AD will be piloting a pop-up school in London’s disadvantaged Hackney district, a for school-aged creatives, with the intention of bringing it to a similar borough in New York and Australia down the line.

Lindsay said while the advertising monoculture is more obvious in the US, it was still apparent in the UK and Australia, and impacts the work emerging from the industry more broadly.

“I’m being very honest here, there is a lack of diversity in the advertising and design business around the world; it tends to be very white, middle class and male,” Lindsay said. “What we’re doing in the UK and we will do with other New Blood programmes as it expands, is to build in diversity mechanisms, getting into underprivileged and ethnic communities and telling them about career opportunities.”

Its not the only organisation to see diversity as a blind spot in the industry. IPG Mediabrands recently announced that it would be launching a specialist multicultural communications company, Identity, to take advantage of this missing piece of the marketing landscape.

In comparison to the UK, Lindsay said the Australian advertising landscape is more “similar than different” when it comes to diversity, but added that the size of Australia and the cost of travel to city centres can be an extra hurdle for young people trying to crack the industry. He said the point of difference with the D&AD program is that it is free, giving it better scope to target people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“It’s a pretty important ambition of ours. Other programmes, just by charging, deter people for whom money is an issue,” Lindsay said.

D&AD recently held its first New Blood program in Sydney, hosted by The Glue Society. While Lindsay would not be drawn on specific details on its further roll-out in Australia, he said there would be more New Blood activity in 2015.

While the structure in London will serve as a model, Lindsay said the scope of the Australian programme might be different, due to both resources, nuances in the Australian landscape and challenges with aligning the course with the academic year. In addition he said agencies in New Zealand have already approached D&AD about rolling it out locally.

Lindsay also said its “ideal situation” in the Australian marketplace would be to partner with like-minded organisations and is currently undergoing discussions with The Australasian Writers and Art Directors Association.

“We’ve been around for about 53 years so it’s got this huge reputation here in Australia - it’s our third most important market,” Lindsay said. “I’m quite happy to say there is a real appetite for D&AD here. We want to expand that.”

This article appeared in the 14 November issue of AdNews in print. You can subscribe to the print mag  here or get it on iPad here.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day. Need a job? Visit adnewsjobs.com.au.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus