Industry bodies call to protect employee mental wellbeing and creativity

The IPA is one of a coalition of industry bodies including Crown Commercial Service, NABS, the Alliance of Independent Agencies, the Advertising Association, ISBA and Social & Local CIC who are calling on the industry to pledge commitment to mental wellbeing and creativity by signing up to the Brilliant Creative Minds Code of Conduct.

The Brilliant Creative Minds Code of Conduct has been launched to stamp out behaviours that impact employee wellbeing and diminish creativity in the advertising and communications industry.

The Code was developed by the industry coalition through a robust process of intelligence gathering. This included in-depth interviews with senior leaders across the client, agency, and procurement worlds including Government Communications Service; Stephanie Parry, Marketing and Procurement Lead at Crown Commercial Service; Tom Knox, Executive Partner at MullenLowe Group; Adam Skinner, COO at OmniGOV Manning Gottlieb OMD; and, Jane Asscher, CEO at 23Red.

The aim of the new Code is to protect creativity by eradicating practices in procurement, commissioning and agency cultures that compromise mental health and wellbeing, for example: long hours culture and fear of job loss in agencies; excessive tender requirements and procurement processes; and unrealistic client timescales and demands.

The Brilliant Creative Minds partners are now calling on agencies, clients and procurement professionals to sign up to the Code and commit to embedding its principles into their workplace cultures.

Says Stephanie Drakes, Managing Partner of Social & Local, the agency which initiated, funds and manages Brilliant Creative Minds: “Poor mental wellbeing is the enemy of creativity in our industry and our goal is to eradicate practices that cause unnecessary and dangerous levels of stress in agency environments. To meet our aim, Brilliant Creative Minds uniquely brings together three interdependent parts of the industry to work as one: client, agency and procurement.

We’d like the industry to sign up to it and commit to embedding its principles within organisations to create an industry where negative workplace stress is reduced, talent is retained and the UK protects its pole position in the world for creativity as clients, once again, get the best out of their agencies.

Says Tessa Gooding, Director of Communications, IPA: “This is a great initiative, and one which we have been developing with Social & Local for more than two years. The Code makes so much sense.

The difficult bit will be for leaders, on both the client and agency side, to remember to think about the human cost when in a rush to make decisions around exciting new and existing business opportunities.

“This has always been the hot spot. And with the current pressures on exploring growth opportunities, there will be more, and not less pressure on people and teams to deliver more, and to deliver quickly. I have always thought that good leadership is not about asking the impossible, but making the impossible possible.”

Says Nicky Harris, Director of Strategy and Development at NABS: “Mental health and wellbeing have never been more critical than they are now. As an industry, our people are our greatest asset and if we fail to look after them, we will fail to thrive. The Brilliant Creative Minds Code of Conduct captures eight high-level principles. These actively promote and support creativity in a healthy and positive way, right across the industry. If these can be embedded in our collective industry culture, then we can protect the very thing that drives us forward – employee wellbeing and creativity.”

Says Jane Asscher, CEO of 23Red and part of the BCM Pioneering group: “As an industry we make our living from communicating and we need to turn that expertise inwards and collaborate on mental health and wellbeing. Brilliant Creative Minds recognises that the triumvirate of client, agency and procurement holds the power to implement change and allow creativity to thrive. We’ve listened to the issues holding our people back and stifling their output; and this new code of conduct will help protect our talent and their world-class ideas.”

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