DeBarros said there is a practical reason for the campaign. “A lot of People [of Color] simply don't know [about the creative industry],” he said, “I didn’t know before I started there. I knew about advertising, but I didn’t know about the other sides of the business. It’s just a matter of exposure.”
Social media was a logical choice, said Ghermay, for “meeting people where they are”—for the "We See You" campaign. “There’s a very intentional choice of picking a video-form platform,” she said, “and then be part of conversations. The way we think about work and career has blurred so much that, [for topics like] who we are, how we interact, it’s not compartmentalized anymore … We intentionally wanted to talk to and try to reach people who have all of the amazing raw skills needed to be successful in this industry, but may not have the practical experience or the knowledge … Instead of expecting them to find out about us, we’re trying to go to them.”
After acquiring talent from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, Mediabrands will implement mentorship programs to keep them. “[We want to] make sure there’s a support network, there’s education, formal and informal on the job, and there’s a sense of safety and belonging,” she said, to give people “access and visibility to navigate this industry."
Ghermay said that the "We See You" strategy was to show respective candidates that Mediabrands is focused on “both representation and inclusion," and live up to it. "Do we have the right culture that’s actually going to allow them to be successful? That’s an important part of the equation, and that’s the hard work. We got to look inside at individual leaders and organizations, and question our assumptions, norms, behaviors.
The Mediabrands campaign comes as agencies struggle to hire fresh talent that will allow for more diversity of thought.
“Across the board, recruiting is difficult in this day and age,” said Debra Sercy, managing partner at Grace Blue, who applauded the idea of using consumer marketing techniques to reach people without a traditional creative background. A campaign of this kind deserves a “huge ‘thank you’,” she said, “because the investment in this campaign will benefit the entire industry.”