Industry creates history

MAA Pres qtcht

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Advertisers Association (MAA) is among many national advertiser associations from 22 countries around the world that have confirmed their participation in the world’s first-ever global census of the marketing and advertising industry launched by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

The census is designed to provide industry feedback from the marketing and advertising industry across all levels of employment.

The survey would assess where the local advertising and marketing industry is in relation to diversity, equity and inclusion by investigating workforce composition across the industry as well as people’s perception of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including their sense of belonging and their perception of progress.

Working alongside Campaign, Kantar, the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), the new global agencies association VoxComm, and national advertiser associations as well as with their agency counterparts, the goal is to generate the largest and most representative sample possible.MAA president Mohamed Kadri Mohamed Taib said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has magnified inequalities. Industry efforts to drive diversity and inclusion have taken a hit.

“Things only get properly done when they are properly measured. The industry, including in Malaysia, needs a global baseline on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“The global industry is coming together for the first time to measure the current status of diversity, equity and inclusion in its workforce across 27 countries. This is a historic moment for the industry.

“This is a collaboration between brands, agencies, media and tech and MAA is proud to be playing our part.

We urge MAA member to support by taking part in the census. The findings will be critical to informing a global action plan. We plan on rerunning this research in 18 months in order to measure progress.”

He added that brands must prioritise and accelerate the integration of diversity, equality and inclusion environment into their workforce instead of missing the mark. In the long run, this environment would resonate with a brand’s value and culture.

MAA was established in 1964 as the voice of Malaysian advertisers dedicated to marketing and brand-building.

The industry body represents 70 major advertisers with a collective annual ad spend of about RM5bil.

WFA and its diversity and inclusion task force believe that the strain and pressure from the pandemic have made it harder for many organisations to prioritise their diversity and inclusion efforts, while research has found that many women, in particular, have considered leaving the profession.

The initiative builds on work already carried out in the United Kingdom as part of the all In initiative as well as the many efforts led in the United States by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4AS) and in many other markets with the aim of establishing a tangible baseline for the global industry, which will help inform an action plan for improvement led by WFA’s taskforce.

The other participating markets in this census are Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Greece, the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), Hong Kong, China, India, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

While national associations and their agency counterparts would be driving the samples at local level with the support of Haymarket’s Campaign magazine in relevant markets, corporate members of WFA and agencies involved in the WFA Diversity and Inclusion Task Force would be driving the initiative top-down.

This will be done via their own employees, clients, partners and marketing supply chains.

Supporting organisations include Brand Advance, Diageo, Ferrero, Grupo Bimbo, GSK, Havas, Mars, Mondelez, m/SIX and Reckitt.

Stephan Loerke, WFA CEO said: “This is a historic moment for our industry. For all the talk of ‘we are in this together’, the pandemic has shown this to be simply untrue. Inequalities have been exacerbated by recent hardships.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests the industry is going backwards on diversity and inclusion. It is imperative we get a first-ever industry baseline so that we can draw a line in the sand and move forward together in improving the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry.

”The questionnaire will go live between June 21 and July 2, 2021. The results would be compiled and analysed by Kantar and the key findings will be published by Campaign’s global network of editions later in the year and presented at leading industry events in October 2021.

The results would also be used as the basis for an action plan devised handled by WFA’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

The WFA intends to team up with Kantar and Campaign again in 18 months’ time to measure progress.

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