Our Commitment to Anti-Racism and Racial Equity


The Ad Council’s mission has always been not just to respond to culture, but to drive it—to find insights that can change minds, spark new behaviors and move the country forward. At times we have succeeded at this, and at times we have fallen short, but the singular value that unifies each of us at the Ad Council is the persistent desire to continuously improve ourselves and our society. Our commitment to racial equity is no different.

The Ad Council is firmly and unequivocally committed to fighting systemic racism, injustice and anti-Blackness, within our walls and in the work we create, not just today, but every day.

We know we have not done enough and are conscious of our own failures at becoming an actively anti-racist organization. We hold ourselves accountable to do more to simultaneously accelerate our existing initiatives and to add new actions, programs and processes to fight systemic racism and inequity. As we work toward these commitments, we are dedicated to further educating ourselves and amplifying those voices who’ve been working in this space tirelessly.


Our Commitments

Increase BIPOC Representation

Improve Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) representation at all levels of the Ad Council, especially within senior positions

  • As the first of many major steps to drive change, we have hired a Chief Equity Officer (CEqO) to join our executive team and help advance equitable policies and practices across the organization. Elise James DeCruise will start on Monday, April 5th

  • Re-envision our senior leadership team to ensure a wider range of voices and points of view at all levels of our organization provide input and consultation on Ad Council business decisions

  • Set specific and time-bound goals to increase BIPOC representation on all internal teams. We are in the process of identifying our baseline and benchmarks to understand where we’d like to see more representation throughout the company

  • Invest in additional management and leadership training. Beginning April 2021, our leadership team will go through a three-part series training intensive for Race, Equity and Inclusion led by Redshift

  • Curate mentorship, sponsorship and other career development programs for BIPOC employees

Conduct External Audit

Conduct an external audit of current policies, processes and culture and provide recommendations. To ensure greater equity and accountability going forward, the audit will include but is not limited to:

  • Promotions and retention practices concerning BIPOC staff

  • Pay equity transparency

  • Optimal methods for tying DEI goals to compensation

  • Hiring and recruiting practices

Actively Foster Inclusion

Create an environment where all people and perspectives are included, supported and valued

  • Conduct ongoing anti-racism training(s) for our staff focusing on topics like microaggressions, promoting psychological safety and allyship

  • Implement regular engagement surveys to anonymously track employees’ sense of belonging, psychological safety and inclusivity and assess how results vary by race and other demographic markers starting April 2021

  • We have instituted two new, paid company holidays moving forward—Juneteenth and general Election Day

Ensure Equitable Hiring

Review and refresh recruitment and hiring practices to ensure inclusivity, avoid bias and better recruit BIPOC talent

  • Consider candidates with relevant, transferable skills who may not have taken a traditional educational path or received a college degree

  • We have expanded our hiring policies to include fully remote hiring

  • Post all open positions on intersectional job boards and continue to post on BIPOC-related job boards

  • Use our Ambassador program to expand outreach to a more diverse representation of colleges (including two-year and trade) to recruit from new talent pools and strengthen our candidate pipeline

Establish Accountability Measures

Institute accountability and transparency standards for the organization that are actionable and measurable

  • Share our internal employee staffing data, which includes hiring, retention and promotion numbers (broken down by demographics) every year beginning Q2, 2021

  • Tie employee fiscal year goals to annual incentive compensation for every Ad Council employee, beginning 2021

  • Share our existing compensation philosophy, process and structure with the entire organization

Diversify Partners & Advisors

Diversify our advisors and increase BIPOC representation across external partners and the entire Ad Council ecosystem

  • Increase BIPOC representation on all Ad Council Committees that inform our work (Creative Review Committees, Advisory Committee, Research Committee, UX Committee, etc.)

  • Reassess diversity goals for our Board of Directors

  • Review all vendor, consultant, freelancer and agency relationships and set goals for increasing diverse representation and number of BIPOC-owned vendors considered and employed for all work

Diversify Our Creative Process

Produce content that supports our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts and breaks stereotypes

  • Ensure that all campaigns with a BIPOC target audience are tested among that target to make sure they resonate and challenge stereotypes

  • Ensure all agency partners on campaigns specifically designed to reach people within BIPOC communities will be created by agencies and/or teams owned and/led by people representative of those communities, and with a demonstrated expertise at reaching them effectively

  • Require all lead agencies be transparent with their staff demographics and their organizational commitments to racial equity

  • Ensure that at least 30% of Ad Council’s major productions include BIPOC behind the camera

  • Conduct quarterly reviews of Ad Council campaigns with external multicultural experts to assess content and ways to continue to improve on an ongoing basis

Amplify BIPOC Organizations & Initiatives

Leverage our platform to take a proactive approach in supporting external organizations dedicated to dismantling systemic racism

  • Identify and curate content from racial justice organizations and nonprofits that drive individual and collective action to fight systemic racism. All content will be vetted and guided by external experts including other BIPOC-focused nonprofits

  • Give priority to content that provides a bold, measurable call to action that aims to drive systemic and widespread change

  • Develop a plan and editorial calendar for turning a greater spotlight on BIPOC voices and relevant, external racial justice organizations across our brand channels by August 15, 2020

  • Host conversations on the topic of racism and racial justice at key industry convenings such as Davos, Cannes, SXSW, CES, ANA, 4As and NewFronts, and work to ensure that all Ad Council panels include diverse representation

Reimagine Love Has No Labels

Review and refine the Ad Council’s Diversity & Inclusion campaign (“Love Has No Labels”) to ensure an updated, proactive approach to eroding bias that includes a particular lens of racism

  • Audit, assess and pivot campaign guidelines, call-to-actions and fulfillments with new internal team and external experts to increase focus on racial bias and prejudice

  • Implement new requirements for corporate partner campaign sponsorship with a DEI lens (similar to Human Rights Campaign’s scorecard on LGBTQ)

  • Set new KPIs to specifically focus on measurable changes around racial bias and prejudice

Launch & Sustain Racial Justice Work

Launch a long-term Ad Council-led campaign effort that will drive measurable change in public attitudes and behaviors around racial injustice

  • Consult with external BIPOC experts in the field of racial justice to help prioritize and create an agenda and platform for campaign development, including determining areas of focus and a concrete action plan

  • Review Ad Council future content pillars to ensure all issues we consider exploring on a deeper level have an equity lens and give priority to addressing disparities and systemic issues

If we are asking the country to be anti-racist, then we must be as well. We have a lot of work to do on this front. We know that fully correcting our past mistakes and building new processes for the future will take time—but that doesn’t take away from the urgency of our action. We know that the only way to end the cycle of systemic inequity and create a more just world for BIPOC individuals within our company, our industry and our country, is to act every single day.

Our strategy will definitely evolve, but our mission won’t.

Our commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization is unwavering. Because if the fight isn’t over for some of us, it’s not over for any of us.

Please note we will continue to update this page with reports on our progress.