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Atlanta marketing leaders announce The A Pledge to hold agency leaders accountable for racial equality

by | Dec 3, 2020

As awareness of the inequities and systemic racism rise in our country, Atlanta marketing leaders have created The A Pledge to challenge agency and brand leaders to help create a path for systemic opportunity.

The pledge is asking local advertising and marketing agencies to match the diversity of their team to that of Atlanta by 2030.

As part of this effort, an alliance is being formed of local agency and corporate leaders who will work together to tackle this difficult, prevalent issue. In 2021, The A Pledge has committed to developing a citywide diversity, equity and inclusion plan with concrete actions that are highly specific and local to the ATL marketing and advertising community. Each participating agency will also be responsible for reporting internal demographic data as well as creating their own company-specific strategies and plans.

Currently, demographic studies show in 2020, Atlanta’s population is 62% POC, 38% White.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the ethnic makeup of the marketing industry in the U.S. is 86.1% white, 6.1% African American, 5.6% Asian American and 8.9% Hispanic American. In a city like Atlanta, with a creative, influential, and high-paying wage industry like advertising and marketing, it should be represented by a more diverse workforce.

“While our city’s demographics will inevitably shift over time, the point of this pursuit is to acknowledge the disparity in the advertising and marketing industry—and more importantly, to take real, measurable actions to correct it,” says Jeff Hilimire, Co-founder of The A Pledge and CEO of Dragon Army. “The agencies that join in taking this pledge will use our collective power to intentionally address the myriad of obstacles preventing systemic change from being a reality today.”

Atlanta was the home of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement. At the end of Dr. King’s life, the movement was just getting started, sharpening its focus on improving economic outcomes for historically marginalized people.The A Pledge leaders want to continue his march toward economic justice and believe our craft, advertising and marketing, is the ideal industry to drive meaningful change.

“While we know the actions necessary to secure the intended impact of the pledge will change our community and nation over time, we must always remember that everything we do will ladder up to our vision of inclusive opportunity across our industry,” says Shannon Watkins, SVP, Brand and Creative Services of Aflac. “We must be willing to commit to actionable, measurable progress against ambitious and worthy goals.”

The A Pledge is a holistic effort, and open to all Atlanta agency and brand leaders who share in the commitment to a more diverse, inclusive and equitable marketing and advertising community.

To learn about joining the effort, or for more information on The A Pledge visit https://theapledge.com/.

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