From WAATBP to HAATBP and back again

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NEW YORK, Last Night: Prompted by this year’s rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and in acknowledgment of the ad industry’s “continued lack of diversity”*, The One Club for Creativity has rebranded its annual Here Are All The Black People multicultural conference back to its original name: Where Are All The Black People?

The new branding was created for The One Club by Goodby Silverstein & Partners San Francisco.

The event, normally held in-person in New York, is this year available online to a global audience running September 22-24, and will address the new realities of race, inclusion and diversity in advertising.

The conference features dozens of speakers on panels, virtual recruiting, online portfolio reviews, masterclasses and a talent showcase.  Registration is now open, and there is no cost to attend.

More than 20 years ago at a Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein holiday party, a young black copywriter named Ed Crayton posed a half-serious question to agency partner Jeff Goodby: “Where are all the Black people?”  

“I’m lucky to be part of something that helped begin the process of making our agencies look more like real life.”

After subsequent conversations with Jimmy Smith, chairman/CEO/CCO at Amusement Park Entertainment and One Club Board member, about creating ad and design job opportunities for minority students, Goodby and Smith used that question as the provocative title of their panel on diversity during The One Club’s 2011 Creative Week.

Strong interest in the topic led The One Club to expand WAATBP into a day-long multicultural conference and career fair later that year. By 2014, with hundreds of annual attendees and greater attention being paid to the issues, the club rebranded the conference as “Here Are All The Black People.”

But the events of 2020 — fuelled by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, the rise of BLM, and more open dialogue about structural inequality — led The One Club to re-examine the conference and acknowledge the ad industry’s “continued lack of progress in providing opportunities for people of colour”*.

Jimmy Smith said: “In the 90s, Ed Crayton asked, ‘Where are all the Black people?’

“Clearly, when it comes to race, the advertising industry is broken*.”

“In the mid-2000s, Mike Hughes, former president of The Martin Agency, said ‘Jimmy, I’d hire them (black people); I just don’t know where to find them.’

“So this year, we pulled an Alex Haley. We went back to the roots of why the programme was created.”

Jeff Goodby said: “I could not be prouder of these past 10 years. From Ed Crayton’s eloquent summary of the challenge to the holy presence of Jimmy Smith, I feel so lucky to be a part of something that has helped begin the process of making our agencies and businesses look more like real life.”

In support of the name change, the event has new branding developed pro bono by Anthony O’Neill and Benny Gold, a pair of creatives at Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

This year’s WAATBP special keynote speaker will be announced shortly.

*But not in NZ. – Ed

About The One Club
The One Club for Creativity, producer of The One Show, ADC Annual Awards and Creative Week, is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to support and celebrate the success of the global creative community.

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