Ashley Jones Ashley Jones

The DEI Pledge

A Repetition of Offenses

In a time where there is so much hatred and intolerance in the world, it’s important to take a stand and educate organizations on the importance of taking a DEI Pledge.

Recently, large corporations have been exposed for “blunders”. Swedish fashion brand, H&M, got 2018 off to a rough start when it found itself under heavy scrutiny by featuring a black child in a hoodie that read “coolest monkey in the jungle.” They later pulled the image and issued an apology. Soon after that, only a week into Black History Month, Gucci apologized for its $890 balaclava-styled black sweater that featured bright red lips that rung around an opening for a mouth, which covered half of a person’s face. If that imagery wasn’t enough, a store window displayed figurines that resembled black-face was featured by the Luxury Fashion House, Prada. ‘Pradamalia’, Prada’s line’s name, featured key chains, clutches, and clothing with monkey-like creatures, black faces, and oversize bright red lips.

So Many Questions

To call these instances blunders is a severe understatement. There is no need to go into detail or offer a history lesson behind the imagery. The racial epithets in these designs are resounding, which leads to so many vital questions. How do offenses as large as these keep happening? In separate companies, how could no one have seen the problem with these designs? If these high-powered fashion houses had a history lesson, would they still have made these abhorrent design decisions? Although knowing history is a great start, it is not and cannot be the only solution. An even better starting point is taking the DEI Pledge.

The Solution in the Statistics

Thanks to racial discrimination and bias, people of color continue to face difficulties finding their footing in the workforce. Recent statistics show that only 8.1% of agencies hire a diverse staff when they make up 13 percent overall population in America today. Furthermore, it is estimated that people of color occupy less than 2 percent of leadership roles. With this information in mind, it becomes clearer how major brands miss the mark in their advertising and marketing. The diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) pledge compel companies of all industries to be agents of change by putting POC voices at the forefront of conversations and company policies.

What is the DEI Pledge?

The Three’s a Crowd, a black creative collective, founded the “All In for 13” DEI pledge. What makes this pledge different from any other DEI initiative is its challenge to the advertising industry to raise POC leadership, not just employees, to 13 percent by 2023. Outside of preventing more racially charged mistakes, committing to increasing diversity in the cooperate world has been shown to improve innovation. A Boston Consulting Group study perceived companies with 19% higher revenues also have more diverse management teams.

Proactive Agents of Change

The AD Leaf is proud to announce its previous commitment to the All In For 13” DEI pledge without hesitation. At the time of the pledge, the AD Leaf exceeded the goal of 13 percent. It would be acceptable to say they have done their part and politely step away. Instead, the AD Leaf has chosen to take the pledge a step further. They are committed to increasing its DEI representation by an additional 13 percent. The AD Leaf is the largest marketing firm in Brevard County and currently has 22% of its leadership team being POC. They are fully committed to diversity and equity, as well as inclusion. They understand that it’s not just about numbers. It is ensuring a diverse set of perspectives so they can better serve their clients