Former Host/Havas Sydney ECD Ant Melder today launches Brown Riot podcast, a series featuring candid chats with a range of creative and business leaders from a range of ethnic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Produced by music and sound experts Smith & Western, the podcast series comes in the wake of the global industry-wide debate about diversity in advertising and the unrepresentative nature of many agencies’ staff ratio. It aims to cover off serious subjects like diversity, lack of representation and racism, with an insightful but light-hearted approach.
Brown Riot guests include highly respected and awarded ECDs, creative leaders, MDs and CEOs. The theme that unites them all is their breakthrough success and willingness to use their influential voices to help move the industry forward in a positive way.
Ant Melder is the award-winning ex-ECD of Host/Havas Sydney. He previously held creative director roles at DDB and M&C Saatchi and is a member of the AWARD committee. He believes he is the world’s only Cockney-Bangladeshi ECD (but would love to be proven wrong!).
The genesis of Brown Riot was Cannes last year, where Melder was repeatedly mistaken for South African-Indian ECD, Ash Naidu. Says Melder: “It was both awkward and funny, but it also made me wonder if there is perhaps only room for one brown ECD in people’s consciousness. Which is pretty worrying.”
Given this initial spark of inspiration, it seems fitting that the first Brown Riot guest is Ash Naidu himself. Naidu, the ECD of BWM Sydney, has spent a career building departments, working on blue chip clients and winning awards in Sydney, New York and his native South Africa. Last year he and his team picked up multiple Cannes Lions including the Grand Prix for Good, for Project Revoice, developed in partnership with Nakatomi. The project also won multiple pencils at the recent AWARD Awards including Best In Show.
Subsequent guests include M&C Saatchi ECD Avish Gordhan, AWARD School co-head Karen Ferry, ex-72&Sunny and One Green Bean CD Pia Chaudhuri and JWT CD Will Edwards. Upcoming Brown Rioters include DDB MD Priya Patel, Indigenous director, producer and screenwriter Peter Kirk, and legendary agency founder/CEO/CD George Betsis.
Says Melder: “Brown Riot is a celebration of the achievements of a bunch of absolute legends. I wanted to highlight the point that there are some really talented, inspiring senior leaders in the industry from diverse backgrounds, doing amazing things. But there should be more. At both a senior and entry level. To make this industry more relevant, more representative and more fun. After all, the best creative work comes from smashing together many viewpoints, perspectives and influences. The more one-dimensional our inputs, the more uninspired and unrepresentative our outputs. Diverse agencies create better work. It’s as simple as that.”
Brown Riot launches today with the first three episodes and then a new episode will roll out weekly. The podcast is available at brownriot.com or via Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Audioboom.
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Sound: Smith & Western
Website: Macadamia Digital
Design: Frank Molina at frankandmolina.com