In support of BeLonG To’s Stand Up Awareness week this week, the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) have created an awareness campaign aimed at promoting more diversity in Irish advertising. The IAPI is calling for all its staff to do something special to support their LGBT+ colleagues and friends next Friday, November 15, the last day of Stand Up Awareness Week, as part of the agency’s support of BeLonG To. Member agencies of IAPI have collaborated on this project in a show of support of BeLonG To’s Stand Up Awareness week against LGBTI+ bullying in secondary schools.
The collaboration between 16 different IAPI agency members prompted the creation of a “mini-agency” of sorts in order to provide the BeLonG To charity with help in planning, account management, creative, digital, social, media and production, all completely free of charge.
Board member Ray Sheerin explained the importance of the formation of this “mini-agency” and the work they are doing for the charity saying; “The communications industry has always been more diverse than most. Having a diverse workforce has been of enormous benefit which is one of the reasons why IAPI has adopted diversity as a key strategic goal and why BeLonG To is such a good fit for our first ‘Ireland before Agency’ project.”
The wide-scale cross-agency initiative is aiming to draw attention to LGBT+ victims of bullying in secondary schools across the country and is encouraging everyone to show their support for the LGBT+ community. The call for support is particularly needed, with research showing that half of all LGBT+ youth experience bullying, while a massive 90% struggle with their mental health, with 56% engage in self-harm and 33% attempting suicide, three times the national youth average.
The involvement of the IAPI has been paramount in this campaign as the agency managed to secure RTÉ 2FM as a media partner, giving their Stand Up Awareness week initiative access to the station’s media mix across radio, digital and social platforms. Many clients have donated some of their own spots to promote the cause including An Post (Starcom), Maxol (Mediaworks), McDonald’s (Mediaworks), Ulster Bank (Boys & Girls/Spark Foundry), Vodafone (OMD), Aer Lingus (Carat) and many more.
IAPI is asking all agencies to back this important campaign over the next few days and asks them to plan a show of support for next Friday. Sheerin suggested that all staff should be encouraged to following what secondary school students plan on doing and wear colours to create a rainbow flag as well as using the hashtag #ComeIn on social media to show support of LGBT+ people. He explained that the more that agencies are involved and use their platforms to spread the message of awareness, the more cover the issue will receive.
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