At AdQuick, Honest Because We Care is one of our core values.
That won't change today with us writing this piece.
The last week has been an important one in the history of the United States and June 1, 2020 was a turning point in what it means to identify as an American
Imagine what history books will be saying about 2020 -- twenty, fifty, and even a hundred years from now – it will be a dense chapter to ingest for future generations.
It has been a much-needed revival of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. It has been a day of collective pain and shared grief among people of all walks of life. It has been the moment that many people finally woke up from their privilege to finally take a stance and say out-loud:
“I stand with Black Lives. I stand for justice for the Black community in America, and elsewhere in the world.”
It was also the morning that many small business and national owners woke up to yet another new normal, already facing the uphill battle of a pandemic, seeing their storefronts devastated and livelihoods destroyed.
It has also been a day that the very same protesters standing up for black lives put their own health in danger by exposing themselves (and their communities) to the debilitating novel Coronavirus.
June 1, 2020 was a day of progress and pain, all at the same time.
It has been a day when clarity bubbled to the surface, opening a new door to uncertainty — with even more questions about what it means to be an American during this exact moment of history.
We stand on the side of unity.
There are truths that we know:
Black Lives Matter
No questions. No exceptions.
We are committed to creating more opportunities in the technology sector, as we pursue our mission of making out-of-home advertising easy for everyone.
As we grow, we are committed to ensuring that no group lags behind at the hands of a historical legacy of oppression.
Despite what we have attained as a small, < 40-person startup in a few short years, we are still a small organization.
We are committed — as part of a wave of the next American companies — to create equal opportunity for all.
As jobs disappear for tens of millions of people in the United States, we are committed to creating new ones.
We believe that there is no other choice.
With this new frontier of expansion in our industry, we cannot allow any group to get left behind.
We're still learning
We won't pretend to have all of the answers.
What we have, however, is a platform, infrastructure, trust from our network of cutting-edge brands and media owner partners.
In our few short years in business we have seen, first-hand, the unifying force of a coordinated, multi-channel advertising campaign.
We launched a national public health campaign at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In these situations, we did as we were asked, by the organizations that approached us for help.
Our network and infrastructure are powerful, backed by a data-driven platform with direct insight into the characteristics of neighborhoods.
Through our technology, we can see divisions, first-hand.
Through our technology, we can also see what unites us.
We know that bridging divides starts with listening
Most importantly, we are here to build.
AdQuick has a presence in every United States city and dozens of others in other countries.
We know that our media owner partners, of all walks of life, may be fearing for their livelihoods right now.
We understand how you may be feeling — most of our team calls Los Angeles, California home.
Especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic, it may be a challenge for media owners to assess what’s happening with respect to their inventory.
If you need an extra eye, the data that AdQuick has aggregated over the years may be able to help.
You can gain a preview of the metropolitan areas that we routinely monitor, in our COVID-19 tracker.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can offer support to your business during this stressful and difficult time.
We welcome you to get involved in pursuit of a greater good for all.
We welcome you to help us unite businesses in all neighborhoods, as a collective force of unity.
We implore you to call out the racist bullshit you witness in our day-to-day.
We welcome you to acknowledge that two systems of justice have no place in any society.
And most important, we ask that you donate, if you’re so inclined, to organizations like the ACLU (https://www.aclu.org/), Fair Fight (https://secure.actblue.com/donate/fairfight-2020-dtd), and CPJ (https://cpj.org/).
Will Smith, famed television and movie actor has been quoted as saying that "Racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed." He's right.
We're beyond disgusted by seeing our fellow Americans in the Black community getting murdered and marginalized in cities across the nation.
We stand in solidarity with the Black community against the racism, the hate, and the injustice encountered on a daily basis.
Why We’re Speaking Up
You might be wondering — why does AdQuick.com, a company that builds software for the out-of-home advertising industry feel so strongly about speaking up?
Put short, we feel that every business needs to speak up.
In the absence of leadership from the public sector, we know that the American private sector is a force of its own and needs to stand up as a whole.
Our nation has long-been the epicenter of ingenuity, and for far too long, the (Black) people who lost their basic human freedom to build the foundation of the economy that we enjoy have been unseen.
Our team believes that we have reached a pivotal moment in history where there is no choice but for companies to speak up and do the right thing.
To us, doing the right thing means building a platform of unity.
To build a platform of unity, we need to honor the legacy of what brought our company to life in the first place.
Yes, we are an out of home software company that is bringing one of the world's oldest marketing channels online.
That also means that our company is built on an economic foundation that dates back to the beginnings of American history.
Here are some snippets from a blog post that we recently published:
- In the 19th Century, America’s extensive roadway network and the frequent movement of settlers across the country gave rise to our modern billboard system. For the first 60 years, roadside billboard advertising in the United States was locally focused and typically involved painted signs or posters glued or appended to buildings, walls, and fences. These signs served the purpose of notifying passersby that upcoming stores sold any number of goods and services. Jared Bell invented the large format American poster, measuring more than 50 square feet, in 1835 in New York when he began printing posters for the local circus, and just 15 years later, companies began using exterior advertising on street railways.
- Beginning in 1867, nearly 300 billboards and sign painting companies began operating, reflecting the excitement with which roadside advertising was embraced in the United States. The International Bill Poster’s Association of North America was formed in St. Louis in 1872, followed less than 20 years later by the formation of the Associated Bill Posters’ Association of the U.S. and Canada in 1891. The organization still exists today: it's called the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA).
- A standardized billboard structure was established in America in 1900, causing a boom in nationwide advertising campaigns from major manufacturers like Coca-Cola, Palmolive, and Kellogg. These brands used the same advertisement regardless of where the billboard was located, so the billboards were mass-produced and spread around the country. Standardized services became the norm for national advertisers in most major cities by 1912.
Now, take a look at another side to this great American advertising story.
- On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made it official that “slaves within any State, or designated part of a State…in rebellion,…shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” But that didn’t mean that Black people were free in all states.
- In 1867, Black Americans received the right to vote in Washington, D.C. A year later, Congress passed the 14th Amendment, which gave Black Americans equal protection under the law. But there were still 200-300 Black Americans killed as part of a massacre. This was the era of the American Reconstruction in which Southern governments gained re-entry into the Union.
- Even following this period, life did not become easier for all Americans — especially our Black, Native American, and the descendants of our non-white progenitors. The early 1900s are known as the Segregation Era, in which the NAACP fought hard for equality, using the Federal courts to challenge disenfranchisement and residential segregation. Albeit too slowly, American presidents rolled out equal protections to its Black citizens. Eventually, another milestone happened in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act. Under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson, the House Rules Committee passed a bill that included additional protection of the right to vote, provisions on public facilities, and the withholding of federal funds from discriminatory provisions.
Our livelihoods in the out-of-home industry are entwined with this history.
It is crucial that we recognize the source of this privilege and understand that there exist many stories that continue to go unheard.
As our industry’s history dates back to the roots of structural inequality and violence, we believe that our industry has no choice but to step up and carry through the freedoms and protections that have taken far too long to materialize in our country.
-- Matt & Team AdQuick
This campaign (and blog post) was a collaboration amongst the AdQuick team. If you'd like our help, send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (213) 986-6179.