One year after Responsible Marketing Action Plan, Verizon delivers meaningful DE&I results

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2022 goals set to maintain steady progress

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BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Today, Verizon published results from the first year of its Responsible Marketing Action Plan, part of the company’s long-term commitment to supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). The plan set ambitious goals around the creative supply chain, talent, bias in advertising and media, and content policies – all of which were exceeded for 2021. To continue driving progress and lasting impact, Verizon is introducing a new set of clear, measurable goals for 2022.

Verizon’s Responsible Marketing Action Plan addresses four primary areas within the company and its agency partners:

  1. Increase diversity and equity across the creative supply chain: Verizon set a goal to spend over 30% of its video, experiential and print production budget with diverse companies in 2021. The company has exceeded its goals across the board:

  • Video: Verizon spent 65% with diverse-owned video production companies; additionally, 49% of video productions used diverse directors..

  • Experiential: The company spent 46% with diverse-owned experiential production companies.

  • Print: The company spent 45% with diverse-owned print production companies.

For 2022, Verizon is increasing its overall goals across video, experiential, and print from 30% to 40% to continue driving momentum and maintain steady progress.

  1. Build an inclusive work environment and retain diverse talent: Verizon made progress in its efforts to build diverse teams. By year end 2021:

  • People of color made up 39.3% of the combined Verizon marketing and agency team, an increase from 37.1% at year end 2020.

  • Women made up 51.7% of the combined Verizon marketing and agency teams, an increase from 50.9% at year end 2020.

  1. Fight racism and eliminate bias in advertising, content and media: As part of Verizon’s ongoing efforts to keep their creative free from racism, bias, and stereotypes, 100% of Verizon’s advertising goes through gender and cultural bias testing. Verizon uses SeeHer’s Gender Equity Measure (GEM), a research methodology that quantifies gender bias, and achieved an above average GEM score of 99. Verizon also uses Diversity Inclusion & Equality Measure (DIEM), a proprietary tool that vets the representation of race, gender, ethnicity and identity. In addition, all Verizon marketers and agency partners have completed agency anti-racism and bias training to help identify bias throughout the creative process from research to production, and Verizon will continue to require training for new hires.

  2. Responsible Content Policies: Through Verizon’s continued participation with the World Federation of Advertiser’s Global Alliance for Responsible Media, the company achieved a 99.4% rating within the Integral Ad Science Brand Safety measure that counts the percentage of media placements that do not violate brand safety threshold.

“Marketing has so much power to influence society and culture. As marketers, we have a responsibility to hold ourselves accountable and be part of the solution - not contribute to the problem,” said Diego Scotti, Chief Marketing Officer at Verizon. “By now we’re all impatient with lip service being paid to DE&I, and want to see action, transparency, and results. That’s why Verizon set clear, actionable goals for the year, and has delivered on that commitment. I’m proud that we exceeded all of the goals laid out in this first year of our Responsible Marketing Action Plan, and we will continue to push for more progress.”

To help other companies implement the responsible marketing practices outlined in their plan, Verizon created the Responsible Marketing Action Blueprint, a set of free online tools that packages together the learnings from Verizon’s work around DE&I, to help other marketers identify where they can make an impact and take measurable actions to get there.

This is the latest example of Verizon’s industry leadership around DE&I. In May 2022, Verizon and its partners celebrated five successful years of Verizon’s adfellows program, which fosters the next generation of diverse marketing leaders through rotations within client and agency marketing teams that provide real-world experience to various career paths in marketing. Positions are fully paid, and cover living expenses, to ensure accessibility. Upon celebrating adfellow’s fifth graduating class, the program boasts an impressive 98% placement rate into full-time marketing positions, and 95% retention rate within the industry following program completion. With the support of long-term partners IPG, Publicis Groupe, and Accenture Song, Verizon recently announced its goal to expand the program to eight times its current size - from providing opportunities for 30 fellows per year, to 250 per year, by 2026.

Building off the success of adfellows, Verizon is continuing the AdDisruptors program, which focuses on tackling mid-level agency talent retention. The 6-8 month program provides access to speakers and one-on-one mentoring from thought leaders throughout the industry to diverse mid-level talent. The goal of the program is to inspire the next generation of marketing leaders and retain the diverse talent working on Verizon’s agency teams.

Collectively, Verizon’s commitments to DE&I are part of its approach to Responsible Business: the company’s long-term corporate business strategy that leverages technology, innovation, and people on a mission to help solve some of the biggest challenges impacting underrepresented populations, with a focus on climate protection, human prosperity, and digital inclusion.

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