Patrón teams up with Marcus Graham Project to foster diverse creative talent
Patrón Tequila has entered into a new collaboration with the Marcus Graham Project to nurture diverse creative talent in an extension of its “More Than Tequila” initiative, which was launched last year to uphold the brand’s commitment to fostering diversity and racial equity.
Working with the Texan nonprofit’s iCR8 Boot Camp, a program that has been providing early career opportunities for Black ad land aspirants since 2009, Patrón will recruit 12 up-and-coming creatives from underrepresented backgrounds to gain hands-on experience alongside its core marketing team.
Slated to begin in April, the Boot Camp will see the dozen young creatives work on sustainability and product messaging for the Bacardi-owned tequila brand, with the stated objective of bringing the bulk of participants on board after the program concludes.
“Our goal is to create a pipeline of full-time hires,” says Adrian Parker, Patrón’s global VP of marketing. “This is the launch of what will be a long-term commitment.”
“The journey to equality is as much an organizational journey as it is an individual one,” he adds, nothing that the brand has long stood for translating its values into change-making actions.
Thinking back 20 years to the early days of his marketing career, Parker, who is Black, says he remembers often being the only person of color working on a shoot or assigned to a campaign—a much-too-low figure he hopes Patrón can help make obsolete for future generations of marketers.
“There’s no shortage of Black talent in the ad industry,” he reiterates; just a lack of business leaders who are willing to put in the effort to recruit, and retain, a diverse creative workforce.
“We were excited to learn that Adrian was once in the same shoes as the young leaders that we serve and train through our program, and he reached out to learn more about how he could support our efforts,” says Larry L. Yarrell II, the Marcus Graham Project’s co-founder and chief operating officer.
“Particularly with the type of year that we experienced in 2020,” which saw countless brands and agencies take stock of their in-house diversity, or lack thereof, “it is necessary that we not only continue with our program, but that we remain bullish about our mission and reach,” he adds.
On average, the annual iCR8 Boot Camp—which has netted a roster of corporate sponsors over the years including Apple, Facebook, Google and Beats by Dre—has a top-notch track record, with 96% of program graduates landing jobs upon completion.
Applicants interested in this year’s Patrón-sponsored Boot Camp can apply via the Marcus Graham Project’s website until Feb. 14.