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AD+D Culture: Addressing Diversity and Appropriation in

In mid-December 2020, the creative studio RAXO launched the AD+D Culture initiative to address the lack of diversity in the ad industry. The initiative features an online platform that educates the lack of diversity in agency leadership and is an information hub that is continually updated with new articles and interviews. The initiative is driven by the challenge for agencies to “represent the voices they are advertising to.”

The AD+D website is a compelling sequence of motion graphics directed by innovative navigation. That animation showcases the statistics supporting their messaging, gleaned from a number of studies and surveys. While the data indicates that agency executives are overwhelmingly white, companies with a diverse corporate culture are more likely to perform better. Additionally, studies indicate that the US public would like to see companies address racial and social inequity in their business practices.

AD+D also points out that the advertising produced by predominantly white agencies appropriate messaging comes from BIPOC culture, resulting in a voice that is inauthentic. Instead, the platform challenges agencies to let marginalized voices “dictate how it’s done.”

The platform’s information hub features profiles of minority-owned agencies, stories and discussions of diversified culture, and examples of representation done right. Visitors are encouraged to submit agencies to be considered for featuring on the hub.

The website and news hub are part of a larger plan RAXO has for AD+D. In a profile on Communication Arts, they state that the AD+D is calling on agencies and clients to take concrete action by allocating a portion of their budgets to the hiring of minority-owned agencies. This is in addition to diversifying their workforce and leadership. AdAge reports that AD+D is also creating a portal for brands to upload vetted requests for proposals to be connected with minority-owned agencies. AD+D will also roll out an incubator program for up-and-coming BIPOC agencies and will launch a podcast series.