WARC and Cannes Lions have joined forces with the ANA Educational Foundation (AEF), 4A’s Foundation and Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) in a partnership with the HBCU Business Deans Roundtable that will support future Black marketers.

This initiative will provide students at over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs) in the United States with access to WARC’s digital platform, which houses over 100,000 pieces of content focused on marketing effectiveness.

Students at these institutions will also have free access to The Work, a digital hub containing 200,000 pieces of creative work and 1,600 talks from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. (WARC and Cannes Lions are both owned by Ascential, the information company.)

“This partnership will provide HBCUs with practical educational tools to assist in enhancing our marketing programs,” said Van B. Sapp, dean of the Saint Augustine’s University School of Business, Management and Technology, and president of the HBCU Business Deans Roundtable, which works to enhance the position of business schools, and their students, at HCBUs.

“Our curriculum today requires business case studies and other current marketplace resources for student success. It is my hope that this initiative and others will help improve the access of our students to marketing careers across the industry.”

The commitment to provide these online resources to HCBUs is valued at over $1 million a year, and reflects a desire to address the enduring lack of representation and inclusion in the marketing sector.

“Without diversity in the industry, how can we possibly understand our end markets and, in turn, deliver creatively relevant and effective marketing?” asked Paul Coxhill, managing director/WARC & Lions Intelligence.

“It’s our duty to act from both an industry and moral standpoint to help advance diversity and inclusion in our industry.”

The AEF, a unit of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the industry group for client-side brands, the ARF, a trade body for the research sector, and the 4A’s Foundation, an offshoot of the trade body for agencies, have all been pushing for enhanced representation.

And their roles in the partnership with the HBCU Business Deans Roundtable will incorporate providing guidance to all parties on working together in developing a useful, practical curriculum for marketing students at HBCUs.

Simon Fenwick, evp/talent, equity and inclusion at the 4A’s, said: “It is through partnerships like these that we will transform our industry and build teams that truly represent the societies we serve.”

Gord McLean, president/CEO of the AEF, added that a “long-term, sustained commitment” of this kind can make a difference on campuses that can ultimately feed through to the upper ranks of agencies and clients alike.

“This knowledge can only help to inspire talented HBCU students to choose careers in our industry and to become our marketers and agency leaders of tomorrow,” he said.

In helping businesses achieve this aim, the new program can benefit students, but also help businesses, as Scott McDonald, president/CEO of the ARF, noted.

“Research has shown that more diverse companies do a better job of understanding and communicating with their diverse customers and stakeholders,” he said.

“Yet most companies still fall short on measures of employee diversity, especially at higher echelons of management.” 

Sourced from WARC