Because diversity, equity and inclusion matter.

We believe in creativity for all, which is why we're committed to shaping a happy, diverse, inclusive and equal industry for everyone. Join us to create maximum awareness and stimulate behavioral change in our creative industry. Now is the time to show commitment and keep an eye on yourself and others.

Download our industry guidelines here. #OpenToChange

AN INTERVIEW WITH BARBARA VANGHELUWE & ANTOINETTE RIBAS (BBDO BELGIUM)

#OpenToChange: the road towards an inclusive, diverse, equal and booming industry

We’ve got a beautiful thing going on in our advertising scene, yet we can always do better. Does our industry mirror the composition of our society? Not enough, to say the least. It’s probably a bit too male, a bit too uniform, not quite as diverse as it could or should be. That’s why a pack of industry networks and organizations (Creative Belgium, ACCBAMUBA, and UMA) are launching a new campaign, created by BBDO Belgium: #OpenToChange. Barbara Vangheluwe (CEO) and Antoinette Ribas (creative director) of BBDO Belgium tell you all about it.

First things first: what is #OpenToChange?

A/ #OpenToChange is a new campaign that focuses on diversity, inclusion and equity within the industry of marketing and communication. Under the guidance of the Inclusive Marketing Agency, Allyens we’ve put together a set of DE&I guidelines - initiated by the ACC Board of Directors - that can help us approach these themes in the real world. You can download the guidelines here. The campaign also holds a visual aspect. If you endorse these guidelines, you can tell the world by wearing our pin on your clothes. Those pins depict eyes, to show you’re keeping an eye on yourself and others. With this campaign, we hope to be the voice of our industry (buy your pin here).

B/ These guidelines are more than just a practical set of rules. In four chapters: What, Why, How and Terminology we try to explain the problems and build awareness. It shows that we believe in creativity for all. We want to shape a happy, diverse, inclusive and equal industry for all. We want to motivate agencies and organizations to join us and to show commitment to these themes.

 

Why do we need this campaign?

B/ Our society still has a long way to go towards diversity, inclusion and equity. The same goes for our industry. Perhaps we’re not making enough effort towards the goal of attracting and recruiting motivated and talented people from all genders, sexual orientations, different cultural backgrounds… That needs to change. That’s the big goal.

A/ As advertisers, we’re trying to reach all kinds of people. But which profiles are dominant in our industry? They’re often around 30 years old, white, male native Dutch speakers. I think there’s a clear gap between who we are and who we’re trying to reach. We need more representation. Barbara and I are women in high creative positions, but we’re exceptions to the rule. We’d like to see our industry evolve to a place in which that’s not the case.

 

Would a more balanced creative industry deliver different work, different campaigns?

A/ Most definitely. We shouldn’t focus on publicity, but on communication. For instance, when you’re creating campaigns for a large supermarket, you should be addressing everyone who might go there. You should aim for the hearts of all Belgians, by appealing to all lives. We can’t afford to work from an ivory tower. A broader representation of our diverse society can help us do that.

B/ Exactly, we shouldn’t talk about our audience, we should have conversations with them. That way, you’ll reduce the possibility of misunderstandings. We hope #OpenToChange can be a starting point to stimulate diversity, inclusion and equity. Because it doesn’t just make us better humans, it makes us better advertisers as well.

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