Human Rights Commission hearings on racism in the advertising industry.

The SA Human Rights Commission is currently holding an inquiry into the advertising industry.
The five-day inquiry, held in Rosebank, Johannesburg, focuses on the production chain within the advertising sector to look at ways to eliminate racism, tribalism, homophobia and sexism, among other forms of discrimination.

There is no doubt that reform is needed. The problem is not the racial discrimination in the adverts, because if we are being honest since the Tresseme and H&M incidents 2 years ago, we have not really had another racism incident. The biggest problem is the racial exclusion of black-owned and black run agencies from lucrative advertising projects.

According to Nielsen AdEx research, the total advertising spend in South Africa is ±R42bn. Of this substantial amount, less than 2% is spent with all the black-owned agencies in our country, combined. In practice, one could therefore assume that most of the black-owned agencies are just competing for smaller projects and are not provided with opportunities to pitch for those larger, more well-paying jobs. This is where you find the racial exclusion.

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