New agency AMARU for under-represented talent
Translated from an interview with Adformatie by Lucas Boon
Under the flag of ACE, Leroy Niemel and Angelo Bromet aim to place 'the right creatives on the right accounts'.
The new talent agency AMARU sees the light of day today. Under the flag of the ACE network, the agency wants to give 'untapped talent' the opportunity to gain experience in the advertising industry. According to general manager Leroy Niemel (38) and community manager Bromet (44) the creative industry faces a so-called diversity challenge. Yes, since the emergence of Black Lives Matter in 2020, 'diversity and inclusion' has been on the agenda of agencies, brands and trade associations; and yes, great initiatives have been started to bring about change. But the creative industry today still isn’t a fair representation of Dutch society, neither in the agency workplace nor in the creative expressions.
With the new agency AMARU, located in the shopping center of Amsterdamse Poort in the South East, Niemel and Bromet believe they can make a substantial contribution to a more inclusive advertising industry. In other words: AMARU has to bridge the gap between underrepresented creative talent and the creative industry. The agency can best be described as a training program working closely with agencies within the ACE network, like HERC, Glasnost and Born05.
White men in the boardroom
Both men have gained the necessary experience in the world of culture and community, as they call it. Niemel is a well-known face in the fashion industry, working as a brand manager for fashion brands such as Filling Pieces; and Bromet is a talent developer at the Melkweg and founder of talent platform Prospect Eleven. The duo speaks from experience when talking about diversity and what could be improved. Niemel: 'I regularly experienced that my fashion, intended for a young and diverse target group, had to be judged by a boardroom full of older white men in shirts, jeans and brown shoes. And they had to decide whether or not my clothes would launch on the market? They are not the target audience, but they call the shots. That’s where the problem lies.' Bromet adds: 'This is true for the entire chain, from briefing to output. A TV commercial may seem diverse or seem to appeal to diverse target groups, but it has likely not been developed by a diverse group of people. Imagine, you’re the only Chinese person in a creative team for the development of an Asian product campaign, but you do not recognize yourself in the character of the campaign. That person most likely might not feel compelled to speak up, but that’s where the actual change needs to happen. At AMARU we put the right creatives on the right accounts and guide them in their -perhaps more assertive- role in the creative workplace.'
Rogier IJzermans, founder of ACE, feels somewhat accountable. As a white man, he is in favor of a more inclusive advertising industry, but also realizes that his own agency group does not fully reflect society yet. Emilio de Haan, founder of advertising agency Herc (part of ACE) and Amber Haank (strategist at ACE agency Glasnost) came up with the idea for a new talent agency, and IJzermans connected them to Niemel. Niemel: ‘I’ve been playing around with the idea of starting a cultural consultancy agency, but too often I felt the presence of a glass ceiling.’ Although I’m confident about my capabilities, I also know it’s not easy for me to break through it. Joining forces with ACE makes that possible’ Bromet adds: “A bridge is always constructed from two sides. We couldn’t build the bridge to the market on our own, but we could build the bridge from our own community to the creative industry. Now, thanks to the ACE network, we meet in the middle.'
Prepared for the advertising industry
Underrepresented creative talent in the advertising industry can apply to AMARU, think about talent with a non-Western background. After a selection procedure they can work and gain experience at one of the agencies under the ACE umbrella. Niemel and Bromet place the talents themselves and guide them where necessary during the process. Ideally, after a year, the talents are ready for a job at one of the ACE agencies or their brands. Bromet: 'If our talents are offered a nice job in the creative industry, we have made our contribution.'