Ireland Davenport wants leniency for being pro-black

MosidiAdvertising agency Ireland Davenport (ID) has responded to a statement sent out by the Association of Communications and Advertising (ACA), confirming its decision to suspend the agency’s ACA membership for a period of twelve months following ID’s participation in a pitch to secure the Telkom account.

ACA came to a conclusion that ID’s participation, as part of a WPP consortium, made of three agencies, in the Telkom pitch contravened its Code of Conduct, which forbids its members from participating in non-paid pitches. ID said it acknowledged that it should not have participated in a non-paid pitch but believes the penalty is too harsh.

In a statement on its website. ID said the penalty could have a negative impact on its efforts to racially transform the advertising industry.

“We have taken a decision to appeal the penalty and we will file a written submission to ACA. Furthermore, ID will undertake an extensive internal review of its pitching processes to ensure that this regrettable oversight does not occur again,” said ID chairman Mosidi Seretlo.

“Ireland Davenport takes good corporate governance issues seriously. It is for this reason that we have been an ACA member for the past 12 years to maintain the integrity and well-being of the industry. We remain committed to ACA’s mission, regulations, and Code of Conduct,” said Seretlo.

ID said it would also like to take the opportunity to confirm its steadfast commitment to the transformation agenda of the advertising industry, which has resulted in the agency having a 51% black ownership.

“We are one of the few black-owned agencies in South Africa. Our board has a 50% black representation and 50% of executives in our management are black. We are also making a big contribution in developing black skills within the industry,” said Seretlo.

“Through our ID Lab initiative, which has been running for the past four years, we have produced black talent that is making a meaningful contribution to our industry. We look forward to developing many skilled black professionals in our industry.”

The agency said it remains committed to upholding ACA’s non-paid pitch principle and its implementation to encourage fair; equitable; levelling of the playing field for small agencies; healthy competition; transformation; and protection of agencies’ intellectual property.

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