Maja Pawinska Sims 04 Nov 2019 // 12:22PM GMT
LONDON — Former Freuds director and Mischief MD Ben Brooks-Dutton has joined minorities, diversity and inclusion specialist The Unmistakables as a partner.
Brooks-Dutton left Freuds, where he had been a partner for four years, in summer 2018. He has been collaborating with Asad Dhunna, founder of The Unmistakables, since the start of this year. The partnership has already resulted in the launch of Wokeshop, a service that helps brands and senior marketers avoid reputational damage from products and campaigns that might be perceived as misjudged or insensitive by certain minorities.
In his new role, Brooks-Dutton will be responsible for making the agency more visible to brands, organisations and partner agencies; and developing strategic and creative internal and external campaigns that are more representative of modern society.
Brooks-Dutton was MD of Mischief in 2013 when his wife was killed in a car accident, leaving him with a two-year-old son. His blog about grief became a Sunday Times-bestselling book, ‘It’s Not Raining, Daddy, It’s Happy,’ and he has been campaigning for better services for bereaved families since.
He said: “When people in the industry think about diversity and inclusion, they don’t necessarily picture someone like me stepping into a role like this. But the marketing industry pretty much tells me I don’t exist.
“I’m a single father through widowhood and so, in target audience terms, I’m not a man – I’m ‘a mum’. My son is also mixed-race, with both Jamaican and white British grandparents. This makes me truly consider what it is not to be a statistic, stereotype or demographic, but to be human and ‘other’ in a society that often prefers to act as if we’re all supposed to be the same.”
He told the Holmes Report: “I left Freuds to go travelling round Italy with my son. When he asked me why everyone in the communications industry was white, I said to Asad, I want to make this industry more inclusive for the next generation. Campaigning is where my heart is, and it’s difficult to think of anywhere else I’d want to work, now.”
Dhunna added: “Ben’s level of seniority, client respect and experience is exactly what we need right now as we ramp up the business. Having him on board shows that we’re all about taking diversity and inclusion – and the ‘minority mindset’ – mainstream. It’s about rewiring businesses around all kinds of difference, not seeing D&I as niche, and this means we’re often working to the C-suite.”
Last week, The Unmistakables, which was founded last September, picked up its first award in the BAME Business category at The British Business Awards 2019.
The agency’s current clients include the English & Wales Cricket Board (transforming the reputation of cricket to appeal to women from South Asian backgrounds), Barnardo’s (helping the UK’s oldest charity rethink its diversity proposition) and Market Peckham (creating a workspace for diverse entrepreneurs).