We were lucky enough to catch up with Scott Knox, Managing Director of the MAA (Marketing Agencies Association) and Founder & President of PrideAM, the industry’s first LGBT group, for an exclusive interview. Here’s what he had to say.
You must feel so proud about launching PrideAM! Please can you give our readers a bit of background as to how this came about? What inspired you to do this?
When I asked my team at the MAA (Marketing Agencies Association) to name anyone they knew at a senior level who was out and proud in our creative industry, we could collectively think of a grand total of one senior advertising leader. In an industry as progressive as media and advertising, we thought that was shocking. I thought the best way of addressing this issue would be to launch a senior profile LGBT group in advertising and marketing (PrideAM), to encourage more senior LGBT people to be out at work, which will hopefully pave the way for younger generations to express their individuality in the workplace.
How important is diversity in media?
Media is a creative and innovative industry and it is proven that diversity breeds both these things, so we must work harder to ensure that our agency landscape has a diverse makeup. How can we create world-class, cutting-edge campaigns that speak to our diverse globalized society, if we continue to hire the same sorts of people, with the same cultural backgrounds, the same types of experiences and the same outlook on life? Great food comes packed with flavour and is a mix of interesting ingredients and the same applies to creativity – you need that fire, zing and unpredictability from eclectic ingredients.
Do you think we are better or worse than other industries?
In the Financial Times Top 100 OUTstanding in Business list, there are around 10 CMOs, so clients are represented, but there are no media or advertising agency leaders, which is strange.
Oddly, since we launched PrideAM last week, I have noticed that media agencies are actually ahead of the curve and I have had a greater response and notes of support from openly gay individuals in media agencies than I have from creative agencies.
What is your ultimate aim for PrideAM?
Simply put, that there are no men or women in the closet in our industry. LGBT people should be a celebrated asset to the agency sector.