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September 21, 2020

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Brandcenter students at the helm of new digital campaign for WAATBP conference

In advance of their annual diversity conference titled Where Are All the Black People? (WAATBP), The One Club for Creativity—a nonprofit founded to support and celebrate the global creative community—is implementing a robust digital marketing strategy and campaign created entirely by a team of Brandcenter students.

The One Club reached out to the Brandcenter for ideas to promote the conference’s modified name and logo. In response, the team of students delivered a strategy and campaign that would “live past the conference and become a resource,” says Marshall Turner (XD, 2021).

At the heart of their strategy, the students—including Will Curtis (CW, 2021), Nana Dadzie (ST, 2021), Alexandra Daniel (ST, 2021), David Ligon (AD, 2021), Danielle Loleng (XD, 2021), Dinma Onyekwere (CBM, 2021), Angel Song (CBM, 2021), Brotha Malcolm Richardson (CW, 2021), Marshal Turner (XD, 2021), and Sheila Villalobos (ST, 2021)—are asking the advertising/branding industry to be transparent, to “show us what you’re made of” when it comes to diversity in their organizations.

“There is so much that we saw and felt was wrong,” says Brotha Malcolm Richardson (CW, 2021). “We used this as an opportunity to ask for what we wanted from the industry.”

The students designed social media posts that feature staggering statistics about the inclusion of Black professionals in advertising. They also took a deeper look at some of the top agencies in the world and exposed “what they are made of” in the form of food nutrition labels.

“We knew we wanted a literal way to get across the ‘making’ of an agency that could be easily digestible,” says Turner. “Something we could place on the image of each agency. The idea of Nutrition Facts on food came up and it was the missing piece of the puzzle to all of our insights. From that point, everything fell in place and it felt like a much bigger project.”

In addition to the social media promotions, the students also recommended a series of supplemental pieces, including a microsite that would help keep track of agencies and their diversity grading based on a letter system. The microsite would integrate with GlassDoor and be a resource for anyone in the job market, allowing them to see on a high level the percentage breakdown of BIPOC at various employers. “We wanted to compile all the data into one site so that BIPOC employees could more easily find the information,” says Angel Song (CBM, 2021).

The team also wrote and filmed a video manifesto featuring two of the students, designed a selection of Zoom backgrounds for the conference, created a digital booklet for conference attendees, and launched social media filters.

“From the beginning, we all knew we wanted to do more than what [The One Club] asked for,” says Danielle Loleng (XD, 2021). “We had the potential to push the project further, and therefore the conversation of equity further. The Nutrition Facts social campaign, microsite, and pledge, as well as the ‘Where Are All the Black People’ Book were all extra deliverables. We chose to do these to continue to move the narrative.”

“This has been the most meaningful and rewarding project so far,” says Sheila VillaIobos (ST, 2021). “It has been amazing working with a majority BIPOC team and great allies on a project that could potentially create real change in the industry and beyond.”

The WAATBP Conference will take place virtually September 22-24, 2020. Registration is free. Learn more and sign up at