The importance of advertising reflecting what Irish society looks like now is just everything!
The importance of advertising reflecting what Irish society looks like now is just everything!

IAPI hosted an important and eye-opening webinar on 4th Sept to raise awareness of the insidious racism that exists in Ireland and to discuss how the advertising and marketing community can help overcome this. A recording of this online event can be viewed below.

The protests following the tragic death of George Floyd brought the Black Lives Matter movement into the heart of every home globally. However, it is commonly assumed that Ireland doesn’t have a racist issue and that racism only really exists in the US or the UK. The uncomfortable truth is that racism is well and truly embedded in Irish society.

The speakers last Friday were brave enough to share their own stories which is a first important step taken by IAPI to encourage its’ members and those of the marketing community to stand up to racism.

The keynote speaker, Claudia Hoareau, is a Non-Executive Director of INAR (Irish Network Against Racism) and a Diversity & Inclusion Corporate Consultant. "The importance of Advertisers and Communications reflecting what Irish society looks like now is so important!” says Claudia as she urged the industry to provide positive role models for the ethnic community in a country where they often feel under-represented and misplaced.

Claudia opened the discussion by explaining, to be an effective ally in the fight against everyday racism, we all must check our own biases and equally our defences. “It is no longer an option to remain silent. By being silent you are taking sides.” This statement was in relation to the lack of bystander intervention, borne out by the INAR research which shows that only 1 in 6 racist attacks go unreported. The INAR iReport app has been developed to enable easier reporting of a racist incident.

The other panellists were Stha Banks, Head of Paid Social Media, Core and Emer O'Neill, BLM activist, teacher and the winner of the Simply Be modelling competition in 2014. Stha shared her experience of working within our industry which, when she started out 12 years ago meant that she was the only woman of colour working in advertising. Emer shared her experience about the difficulties being a mixed-race person trying to establish a modelling career in front of the camera. She has also, very recently been the subject of a racist attack in Bray, the story of which you will hear on the recording.

“The speakers presented us with a disturbing view into the worst of our society. Yet all spoke with an honesty and positivity that was inspiring.” says Charley Stoney, CEO, IAPI. “IAPI‘s diversity and inclusion policy aims to ensure that every person, regardless of race, gender, sexual preferences or socio-economic background is welcomed in our industry. Representing Irish society both in front of and behind the scenes of advertising is vital if we are to truly connect with our society today.”