DDB gives its fabled Four Freedoms a refresh as it aims for diversity and inclusion

It’s hardly another rebrand but DDB, one of the creative feathers in Omnicom’s hat, has “re-imagined” its Four Freedoms, the principles guiding the agency articulated by Keith Reinhard back in 1987.

They were (and remain) Freedom from Fear, Freedom to Fail, Freedom from Chaos, and Freedom to Be.

The new versions are defined as follows:

Freedom from Fear: The most innovative work comes from brave thinkers, not timid souls. We will inspire courage in each other if we act with positive intent, share accountability, and have each other’s backs when things get tough.

Freedom to Fail – To stretch the limits of what’s possible and create unexpected work, we will embrace failure. Not with reckless abandon, but with the intention of exploring new and untested territories. When an experiment fails, it’s an opportunity to learn, not to blame.

Freedom to Be – DDB is a place to grow personally as well as professionally. If we bring our whole selves to work, and combine our unique perspectives and passions, we will make each other more interesting. We’ll enjoy the space for personal fulfilment, laughter, joy and celebration. And it will show in the things we make.

Freedom from Chaos – We all deserve to be treated like our time and energy are valuable. Together we will strive to make the objectives clear, the processes simple, and the workplace free of unnecessary drama, so we can focus on what we do best and love most.

And there’s even a new cross-functional global team to ensure that everyone feels, well, more free.

DDB Worldwide chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer Nikki Lamba says: “The world as we knew it 35 years ago, when the Four Freedoms were originally written, is unrecognizable in many ways. Globalization has created a more connected and interdependent world, where cultural and demographic diversity have drastically impacted our daily environment and consumer behavior.

Our ability to be successful in a world that continues to change continually rests on our ability to foster an inclusive culture that prioritizes freedom.”

Similar, in a way, to Accenture Interactive’s revamp as Accenture Song.

There’s clearly some sort of identity crisis going on in creative agencies as they find themselves under pressure from all directions including clients who have grown strangely resistant to some of their blandishments and the digital tidal wave.

Plus, of course, the requirement to make diversity and inclusion centre stage, which many have cheerfully ignored for decades.

But all this ‘be nice to everyone and the world’ stuff would be more convincing if they were nicer to each other: holding companies willing to look further than the quarterly numbers and enforced redundancies when a piece of business is lost.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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