TAKUMI, Digilearning and MAD//Fest Join Forces to Tackle Inequality in Ad Industry with June Sarpong

by | Jun 23, 2021

Leading influencer marketing agency TAKUMI has teamed up with Digilearning, MAD//Fest London and broadcaster June Sarpong to support people who are under-represented in the advertising industry get their first big break.

The initiative, called Flourish, will provide opportunities for Digilearning’s cohort of young talent to hone their creative and professional skills at MAD//Fest London (7-8 July). Attendees will receive mentoring and have the chance to develop influencer marketing campaigns based on a brief provided by TAKUMI client NatWest.

Digilearning, an award-winning UK charity, supports young talent from diverse communities as well as those who experience additional challenges securing employment opportunities.

Leading broadcaster June Sarpong has signed up as a supporter of the initiative and will run workshops at MAD//Fest and join a panel to discuss how the industry can drive meaningful action on diversity and inclusion.

Following MAD//Fest, participants will also benefit from a mentoring matchmaking service, quarterly mentoring sessions and guaranteed interviews at TAKUMI and MAD//Fest for work placements and entry level roles.

Brands, agencies, publishers and tech firms can support young people and Flourish, Digilearning and new talent in a variety of ways, from signing up as mentors to offering work placements and providing guaranteed interviews for diverse talent.

Launched in 2018, MAD//Fest is the UK’s largest marketing festival and the 2021 event will be the first major festival to take place in the UK since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. 4,000 marketers are expected to attend the outdoor hybrid event, where speakers include BrewDog MD James Brown, S4 Capital Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sorrell, Facebook VP EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn CBE and Resi Founder Alexandra Depledge MBE. Other features include a House of Innovation where start-ups can pitch for £100k of pilots based on briefs provided by M&S, Diageo, Boots, Pizza Hut and Reckitt, a Dishoom café, a pop-up pub and Campari bar.

Mary Keane-Dawson, Global CEO, TAKUMI: ‘‘TAKUMI’s intent is to professionalize creators with influence through education, data science and ensuring they understand clients KPI’s. Gen Z have been born into the world with screens and consume digital differently. It’s important to provide them with the skill sets to take them into the world of work. This is our opportunity to develop, educate and make a change for the next generation in order to shift gears.“ 

June Sarpong OBE, Broadcaster: “We know that 60% of the jobs of the future haven’t even been created yet but what we do know is that those jobs will be tech related. Therefore it is imperative that we ensure that all children regardless of their background have the tools they need to thrive in the future. I am delighted that Digilearning has made this their mission.”

Lisa Goodchild, Chief Troublemaker, Digilearning: “We live in a society that judges someone’s intelligence on their accent and the school they attended. It’s a recipe for disaster and a vicious cycle, paths are limited and industries are losing phenomenal creative people, gamechangers. It’s time the advertising industry walked the talk… together we can build real inclusivity and pathways for our underserved and marginalised young people, it’s good for them and it’s also good for business. Let’s flip the script.”

Dan Brain, Co-founder, MAD//Fest: “The global pandemic has created additional challenges for young talent looking to get their first big break. We believe it’s more important than ever to support young people and ensure that our industry doesn’t go backwards on D&I. As an event start-up, we can’t wait to work with TAKUMI, Digilearning, June Sarpong as well as some incredible young talent to make the case for a better record on D&I in the creative industries.”


TAKUMI is a leading global influencer marketing agency which offers influencer-led creative solutions for brands, enabling them to connect with audiences across social media in depth and at scale.

TAKUMI specialises in providing unparalleled influencer marketing insights and knowledge from more than five years of partnering with leading brands across the globe including Clarins, Kellogg’s, Visa, Pernod Ricard and Mercedes.

Offering end-to-end client services and operating across multiple markets and platforms, TAKUMI is driven by creativity, talent, data, technology and strategic expertise.

TAKUMI has carried out more than 3,000 campaigns to date, working with thousands of curated content creators, and is trusted to manage influencer relationships and deliver compelling, innovative campaigns which spark meaningful conversations with audiences.

Founded in 2015, TAKUMI is headquartered in the UK, with offices in London, Berlin and New York and operations in a further five EU countries.

TAKUMI was named winner of The Drum Social Buzz Awards 2020 across four categories including Best Influencer Campaign and Best Social Event and winner at The Drum Experience Awards across three categories including the Grand Prix award.

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