Advertising Week 2020: Disrupting Bias at Scale

Overview of the session:

Snap Inc.’s VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Baroness Oona King talked to UK General Manager, Ed Couchman, about ways we can all be catalysts for meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion in the world’s most influential sectors — tech and media.

Key takeaways:

  1. Right now, is a pivotal moment to try and drive forward meaningful change. Everyone should have their fair shot in life. This year has highlighted this is not the case due to disproportionate systemic issues that repeatedly hold marginalised groups back. People with privilege need to use their position to bring about long-term impactful change.
  2. Baroness Oona King believes there are 3 fundamental pillars that can bring about meaningful change within a workplace: Leadership, Accountability and Inspiration. The need to lead by example, be accountable with transparent goals and inspire employees to be part of the change.
  3. Data and Tech could play a big part in the future of detecting bias. This has been done in the Movie/TV sector by analysing films at scale to identify gender/age/race bias. What would happen if we did the same in the advertising sector? Would there be an opportunity to eradicate lazy stereotypes, whilst raising the bar for more inclusive advertising as standard?

Disrupting Bias at scale was a powerful session that highlighted key themes I’m personally passionate about. Being in the D&I team at OMD UK, we have spent that past 2 years developing critical workstreams to make our workplace and culture more inclusive for everyone. Our leadership team have recently made their own pledges in this space and we have clear D&I targets that the agency is responsible for delivering on.

It was interesting to hear Baroness Oona King talk about the need to inspire employees to be part of the change and show them how they can be involved. At OMD UK, some of our brave BAME employees recently shared examples of prejudice they’d experienced in their lifetime, which resulted in a big surge in OMD-ers wanting to join the D&I team to bring about actionable change.

At OMD UK,  we are working with our own proprietary tech to identify more inclusive means of media planning, eradicating bias and easy stereotypes, to elevate the work we deliver for our clients.

Diversity and Inclusivity is not a fleeting trend but here to stay. Clients have the power to scrutinise creative and media output to make sure that inclusivity sits at the heart of the work and becomes a key measure of success.

Memorable quote:

“Now is the moment to try and drive forward meaningful change.”

– Baroness Oona King


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