The AICP Equity & Inclusion Committee has published a set of good engagement practices aimed at helping advertising agencies and brands overcome barriers in the way they bid and award production and post-production assignments. Assembled by an E&I subcommittee headed by Sophie Gold, founder and executive producer of ELEANOR, the best practices were developed in consultation with the heads of several advertising agencies. Document can be found here. The chair of the AICP Equity and Inclusion Committee is Tabitha Mason-Elliott, Partner and Production Manager at BARK BARK.
The Best Practices, which continue to evolve and will be updated, lead to several general recommendations designed to guide agencies and brands in their approach to diversifying their production and post-production pipelines. He then focuses on specific recommendations in the areas of tenders, crews, job data, casting and scripts, post-production and certification programs.
“As we work to create more opportunities for people of color in all aspects of the creative process, and to enable new perspectives and approaches that will benefit everyone, the areas covered in this document establish essential benchmarks for all. people involved in production and post-production, ”the document says. “We hope these best practices will be a constant benchmark and kind of ‘gut control’ as we all work to achieve the goals of diversity, inclusion and equity in our industry.”
“In the same way that we have guidelines and best practices that cover many areas of production and publication, our best practices for engagement offer the industry tools on how to examine relationships with producer partners when it comes to diversity, ”said Matt Miller, President and CEO of AICP.
The best practices were developed after the AICP hosted a series of roundtables with heads of agencies seeking to address the problem of hiring BIPOC talent, said Gold, who served as moderator for the BIPOCs. sessions. These roundtables brought together senior executives, including production managers, creative directors, executive creative directors, creative directors and producers. “It was important that we spoke with those in decision-making roles,” she explained. “Our goal was to explore areas where we could move forward as an industry, to take diversity and inclusion to the next level.”
Gold said one of the key principles driving AICP’s efforts is the idea that there is a difference between a lack of talent and a lack of opportunity. The talent is there; he just needs the opportunity to show what he can do on a bigger stage. With best practice guidance, we want to be able to increase diversity and representation, and not just in the applicant pool, but in those who produce or post-produce the work. “
Mason-Elliott participated in several roundtables and described their tone as open and honest. “We have built an environment of trust around the discussions,” she noted. “We have been very deliberate and have carefully avoided the pitfalls of blame or immersing ourselves in controversial discourse. It was more about, “We’re here to grow and make things better. How can we work together? ‘”
The roundtables, added Mason-Elliott, “allowed people to talk about what they were implementing that was working really well. We also focused on the barriers that exist to drive diversity and suggested ways for agencies and brands to help overcome them. “
Gold said it’s important to create best practice recommendations specifically for brands and agencies to ensure that when production companies take their own initiative, all parties can be on the same page. . “It’s everyone’s responsibility,” she said of the desire to diversify production and the ranks of salespeople, teams and artists. “These guidelines will help us defend black talent and BIPOC, and give them the opportunity to compete at the same level.”
“When we talk about making industry-wide changes, organizations like AICP are crucial,” said Mason-Elliott, “because our members work across the gamut of agencies, networks and brands. Establishing these types of guidelines is as important to AICP as the development of the submission form was. This is what we do – we set standards for widespread adoption, to move the industry forward effectively and, in this case, make changes that change the culture as well.
“When you read an AICP document like Best Practices for Engagement, what you see is a reflection of our collective experience,” continued Mason-Elliott. “This is why this document is so important; he points out to agencies and brands that there is a new way of working together around problems to be solved. “
Best Practices for Engagement is the latest initiative of the AICP E&I Committee. Most recently, the committee unveiled plans for the AICP Mentorship Program, which matches mentees in production and post positions with active professionals from within the ranks of AICP member companies. The committee has also launched programs such as Double the Line, which seeks to increase the employment of minorities in production and publishing projects, and has created a list of talent resources for those looking to find diverse talent. The full range of the association’s equity and inclusion programs, including its webinar series, is available here.