Omnicom is running a contest for creatives, challenging them to make public service announcements (PSAs) that tell Asian stories. The winning entry will be featured on more than 35 media sites starting in May, which is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, per information that the ad-holding company shared with Marketing Dive.
Omnicom created a dedicated website for its "Three in Five" campaign, whose name is derived from a study that found three out of five Asian Americans say they are rarely represented in ad content. The contest deadline is April 23, with a winner to be announced April 29.
Omnicom is urging the ad industry to be more inclusive toward Asian Americans amid a dramatic rise in anti-Asian hate and violence since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a mass shooting in Georgia last month that killed eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent. Since then, rallies have been held in dozens of cities to call for an end to anti-Asian hate and to raise awareness of the issue.
Omnicom, whose agencies include BBDO, DDB and OMD, is pushing the ad industry to address its scarcity of Asian representation with the "Three in Five" campaign. The effort comes as the agency sector is trying to fix a reputation for not supporting diversity both within its ranks and in the messages it creates, as evident in recent developments such as IPG scheduling its first equity-focused upfront and Shaquille O'Neal launching an agency positioned to tackle diversity.
Many Americans fault China for the COVID-19 pandemic, a sentiment that Asian American advocates say has motivated a rise in verbal harassment and physical abuse. Stopping these incidents is a daunting effort, but the ad industry could use its know-how to change public opinion and help raise awareness. Omnicom is doing its part to support the AAPI community with its "Three in Five" campaign to inspire the ad industry to participate in the cause.
In addition to the contest for a PSA, Omnicom is asking advertisers to show their support for the AAPI community in May by casting three in five characters with Asian actors and to make three out of five posts on Instagram and other social channels about Asians stories. The company is also urging advertisers to hire the same proportion of Asians in influencer campaigns, and to recruit, hire and promote three in five Asian workers in their organizations. Social media posts should use the hashtags #3in5, #AAPI and #StopAsianHate, according to Omnicom.
Improving AAPI representation is not only a pressing social matter, but also an opportunity for brands to build loyalty and trust with a growing consumer market. Asian American spending power has expanded 267% in the past 20 years to $1 trillion, making it the fastest-growing minority market in the U.S., per data cited by Omnicom. Asian Americans currently make up 5.9% of the population, according to the Census Bureau.