Class Polish

Scrubbing out classism with the Department of Opportunities

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The Social Mobility Foundation, and their campaigning arm The Department of Opportunities, work to improve social mobility in the UK.

In recent research, they found that there is a pay disparity of £6,000 for people from a working class background, compared to their middle-class peers in the same role and with the same qualifications and experience.

They asked us to create a campaign that drove awareness to this fact, created an annual Class Pay Gap moment and would get individuals to sign a petition calling on the UK Government to measure and report on their Class Pay Gap. All to scrub out workplace classism.

One of the issues with tackling classism is that it isn’t simple to define or always easy to identify, especially in the workplace. In our research, we discovered that classism is often coded in other terms. Someone might not get a job because they aren’t the right “cultural fit” or because they lack the “polish” that an employer is looking for.

In response to this, we created an integrated campaign for fictional product “Class Polish” to highlight the very real - yet ridiculous – idea that accent, appearance, or background has any correlation with ability. It launched with an evocative film starring comedian Fern Brady, supported with impactful OOH and print inspired by the packaging design.

The film was based on extensive research including the Government’s own analysis of around 300,000 Civil Servants. This analysis highlighted how staff who were promoted were likely to have been privileged; have the right accent or "received pronunciation", an emotionally detached and understated manner, and an "intellectual approach" to culture and politics.

We sent Class Polish to influential figures in government, business and media to campaign for action. The film is supported by Cinema, TV and social throughout November. 

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