Ajab Samrai began his career in advertising working for Saatchi & Saatchi as a Junior Art Director. Today, Samrai has more than three decades’ experience in the advertising industry and has worked with some of the most iconic brands in the world. From early on in his career, when he was one of the first British-born Asians to enter the advertising industry in the UK, Samrai realised that the powerful tools at his disposal could be used not only to sell products but also as a force for good.
Ajab Samrai has spearheaded a number of powerful campaigns throughout his career, tackling important social issues both nationally and internationally. With a strong focus on social cohesion and social inclusion, Samrai naturally accepted the offer when the opportunity arose in 1995 to work in a professional capacity with the Commission for Racial Equality for the British government. This partnership resulted in the “One Britain” campaign, also known as the Saatchi & Saatchi Anti-Racism campaign, which has been recognised as one of the most pioneering and iconic of its kind.
In the PDF attachment, learn more about the recent Saatchi & Saatchi campaign tackling hate crime.
The Commission for Racial Equality
The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) was a UK non-departmental public body that operated between 1976 and 2007, following which the Equality and Human Rights Commission took over the work. The aim of the CRE was to identify and address issues of racial discrimination within the UK and promote widespread racial equality. The CRE’s mission statement spoke of working towards a society where diversity was valued and which was just and integrated, using powers under the law and persuasion to give people of all races the opportunity to live lives free from the fear of prejudice and discrimination.
In the infographic attachment, find some of the results from a recent survey on racial bias in the UK, demonstrating the ongoing need for work to promote racial equality.
The goals of the CRE during its time of existence revolved around the promotion of racial equality across several key areas. These included improving race relations and encouraging greater integration of different ethnic groups residing in the UK and raising public awareness of racial injustice and discrimination. The CRE worked to utilise its legal powers to assist in the eradication of racial harassment and discrimination and to work with and support a variety of local, national and governmental bodies and organisations to ensure equality was promoted, race relations were positive and equal opportunities were available to all.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission
The Equality and Human Rights Commission came into existence in 2007, taking over and bringing together the work of the CRE and two other organisations: the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission. The United Nations awarded the Commission “A” status as an NHRI, or National Human Rights Institution. The Commission operates independently from the government and works to enforce human rights laws, safeguard citizens and act as a single point of contact for businesses, public bodies and policy makers.
Saatchi & Saatchi Anti-Racism Campaign
The Saatchi & Saatchi Anti-Racism campaign involved Ajab Samrai working in close partnership with senior members of the CRE, including head of communications, Marjorie Thompson, and head of the CRE, Lord Herman Ouseley. The campaign was lauded for taking the emotion away and presenting instead a series of fact-based arguments which highlighted a series of injustices in society, schools, employment and the criminal justice system. Learn more about Saatchi & Saatchi in the short video attachment to this post.