BWM Dentsu Group helps address inequality in the creative and media sector with the launch of its new Reconciliation Action Plan

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 1.20.51 pm.jpgBWM Dentsu Group (including BWM Dentsu, Haystac, Cox Inall Communications, Cox Inall Change, and Cox Inall Ridgeway - an Indigenous social impact agency) are working to help address underrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the creative and media industry with the launch of their Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) this week.
The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the creative and media sector is concerningly low. The Australian Bureau of Statistics puts the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in the Information Media and Telecommunications at 1,687 in October 2017, while Roy Morgan data suggests the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Arts and Media industry is too insignificant to report on at all.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 1.20.59 pm.jpgBWM Dentsu Group's RAP framework will help to review and enhance existing relationships, respect and trust between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Non-Indigenous Australians, through a series of tangible, long-term commitments. This finished document has now been submitted to Reconciliation Australia for their final review.
Actions taken as part of the RAP include implementing rituals that honour the original owners of the land, such as ensuring an 'Acknowledgment of Country' is performed at the start of all agency meetings; diverting 3% of total commercial spend to Indigenous owned or run suppliers; forging a strategic internship partnership with Swinburne University; and celebrating and honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture with an event series.
Aden01 (1)-thumb-250x250-291001.jpgAden Ridgeway (left), partner at Cox Inall Ridgeway and the first Indigenous person to be elected as a parliamentary leader: "For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, storytelling, creativity and human-centred design are at the very heart of our culture. As a result, we want to see a higher representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the media and creative industry, and are proud to be working with the other BWM Dentsu Group agencies to help move the dial on this issue."  
While RAPs exist for the majority of flagship clients in Australia, particularly within the spheres of banking, sport, law and aviation, there are surprisingly few in the media sector. As one of the first creative agency groups to be leading the way in this field, BWM Dentsu Group will ensure the impact of the RAP is as tangible and beneficial as possible by making their template freely available for any other agencies that want to take it on to adapt,
Belinda-Murray_Managing-Director_BW-225x300.jpgSays Belinda Murray (left), managing director, BWM Dentsu Melbourne: "We know how important diversity and inclusion is to making our industry as strong as it can possibly be. All of us in the BWM Dentsu Group want to work towards making the creative and media industry feel like a dynamic, safe and nurturing environment for all people, so it's considered a valid career option going forward."
To launch the RAP, BWM Dentsu Group is hosting a panel event discussion on 'The Transformative Power of Creativity within the Indigenous Community', on Thursday 9 August. The panel will feature Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creative entrepreneurs and change-makers giving their perspective on what 'creativity' means within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and the challenges and achievements that they've come up against along the way.


Yay said:

This is dope. Nice first start.

Pursuit of equal outcomes will always end in tears... said:

If only these authoritarians valued their non-aboriginal ancestry as much as they do their aboriginal ancestry, then maybe reconciliation has a chance.

Racist much? said:

What are you talking about?

This is great news and a great initiative. While a lot has been done to diversify in terms of sex, if you’re still hiring bland, white private school British clones you’ll always end up with the same bland, white shit.

I have long believed multiculturalism is just-as-if-not-more important than gender diversity and within that, sub-cultures of Australia is even more important in terms of relevance to the Australian market. Unless you’re a moron who’s never been outside of Sydney it’s impossible not to see how the indigenous are a massive part of the lifeblood of our country.

@ racist much said:

“if you’re still hiring bland, white private school British clones you’ll always end up with the same bland, white shit.”

That is a fundamentally racist statement.

Perhaps don’t saddle up on your high horse too quickly if you’re going to come in swinging with that kind of shit.

Diversity is brilliant. It should be encouraged in all its forms. But inclusion of diversity does NOT equal the active exclusion of others.

So much BS said:

Let’s just all call BS on BS

Love it said:

More of this please

So good said:

Well done B Dubs

About time said:

Like the idea of this. Sounds like there are some tangible outputs rather than just paying lip service to diversity.

I hope... said:

...this isn’t just a one off. Sounds like a good idea so would be good to see it roll in to other agencies.

Erik said:

Great job team BWM! Keep being awesome! <3

@12:18PM said:

The issue is the majority of creatives are private school, British class-system white people.

Not racist at all, more culturalist.

And I'm sorry to say white-boy/girl, but the majority of private school ad creatives are as bland as a 2017 AWARD annual. Get some sub cultures happening. Bogans. Indigenous. Asians. Fucking anything but.

As an aside, I am a white, privately educated male but I've been lucky enough to experience truly multi-cultural departments – made up of bogans, private school wankers (me), internationals, men and women. And god they were brilliant.

HM said:

Great idea - the industry needs more diversity and inclusivity. Well done BWM.

James said:

Sounds like a good idea. Refreshing.

Tokenism said:

I applaud the principle, but the actions seem very minor.

How about BWM sponsor indigenous people into AWARDSchool?

Most don’t know about it, and can’t afford it now it is a profit centre.

How about they have an internship reserved, not for the usual vanilla/incestuous AWARDSchool graduates, but for indigenous folk?

How about every brief is stuck n the wall at the Aboriginal centre just up the road from them.

How about you give ATSI people the opportunity to succeed rather than apologies?

Even better, how about every agency does?

Jess Tarpey said:

Hi there 'Tokenism'.

We totally agree that it's important to ensure this isn't just a tokenistic movement, but one with tangible, long-term benefits that actively advances both diversity and reconciliation.

With this in mind, we have:

- diverted part of our commercial spent to Indigenous owned and run enterprises, i.e. catering, floristry and venue hire to date, with more to follow
- created an event series, with both internal and external facing panels and presentations to raise awareness of under-representation and help guide actions to prevent it
- offered pro bono consultancy to Indigenous owned and run enterprises to help with comms strategy and support
- raised funds to help support Indigenous companies actively advancing education of Aboriginal youth in remote areas

And we are currently developing:

- a 6 week summer internship programme in both our Sydney and Melbourne offices, where Indigenous students will have the opportunity to rotate between all of the agencies under the BWM Dentsu Group banner
- a bespoke cultural awareness training programme for the agency group

Totally agree this can't just be lip service, which is why the 'Reconciliation Action Plan' framework (run by Reconciliation Australia) is so powerful, because it demands tangible outcomes and holds you to KPIs.

Happy to discuss if you're keen to roll it out in your agency too.

Thanks for being interested enough to engage in discussion here, and to hold us to account. We definitely have a long, long way to go - both as an agency group and as a sector, but we feel that this is a valuable first step.

Best wishes,


(Member of the BWM Dentsu Group RAP Committee)

@ Jess Tarpey said:

Eff yeh! What a great initiative. Hope to see other agencies following your lead.

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