June 20, 2021

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Has Rosapark done the right thing by becoming Rosa Paris?

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I see that Rosapark, the Havas-owned agency that found itself at the centre of a diversity storm last year, is, as promised at the time, renaming itself Rosa Paris. It’s also promising lots of diversity initiatives.

The agency was criticised by diversity advocates for referencing the name of Rosa Parks, the black passenger on a bus in the segregated US deep south who refused to give up her seat for a white passenger.

One doubts that Ms Parks would have been too concerned about the name of a French ad agency – she clearly had far more important things to worry about – but the largely, white male agency (a rather good one despite that) felt it had to change.

A year on it feels odd somehow. A bit like taking the knee at sporting events, which some teams (including England’s footballers) are still doing despite the raucous opposition of some unreconstructed supporters.

Which isn’t to suggest that diversity advocates should bow to the mob, just that these protests have a shelf life, whether we like it or not. Even the best causes require reinvention from time to time.

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Just hope Rosa Paris has thoroughly checked out its new, slightly sinister image (above.)

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