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Creative professionals unite to promote diversity in adland via new #onlyoneintheroom collective

Sydney, Australia – Professionals across the advertising industry in Australia, representing more than 20 cultural backgrounds, have joined forces to launch #onlyoneintheroom collective – a platform designed to create a more diverse advertising community.

Australia deems to be the most diverse country in the world, with 30% of people born overseas. However, this is not reflected in the adland, as only 16% of people in advertising are culturally diverse and often, they are the only ones in the room.

The #onlyoneintheroom aims to showcase homogeneity of the ad industry and rally industry professionals, advertising and media agencies, and industry bodies, as well as brands and clients, to partner on initiatives to tackle the diversity issue. 

Additionally, the collective comes with a fashion parody film featuring real diverse industry talents modeling a line of merch branded #onlyoneintheroom, highlighting the statement ‘It’s a trend we want to end’. The film directs to onlyoneintheroom.co, where people can join the movement, find out more about current initiatives, and buy the merch, with all proceeds going towards funding future projects.

“Our industry can’t correct imbalances overnight, but changemakers are emerging. This is a rallying cry for those who want to act,” said Ant Melder, creative partner and founder of Cocoa Coffee Gunpowder, and co-founder of #onlyoneintheroom.

Meanwhile, Avish Gordhan, executive creative director at M&C Saatchi, and co-founder of #onlyoneintheroom, shared that whether it’s by offering a voice, recognizing the diverse people that are already in the industry, collectively bringing more young diverse talent in, or even working on eliminating biases that can hold diverse people back, they are looking to partner with like-minded professionals and brands seeking tangible action.

BMF’s Group Creative Director and #onlyoneintheroom’s Co-Founder Pia Chaudhuri said that with the support of other like-minded folks, they are hopeful there will be real change in the near future. 

“Ultimately, a truly representative advertising community can only enrich our work and workplaces, and speak more effectively to a diverse Australian audience,” added Chaudhuri.

The #onlyoneintheroom has already garnered support and secured two partnerships. With marketing consulting company TrinityP3, the collective is developing a DE&I Index, which is designed to give agencies an indication of their own equity and inclusion practices by benchmarking against the general population. Drawing on expertise and knowledge from industry and academia, the index will help organizations focus on initiatives and programs to improve their results.