Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The latest "diversity" ads of the lily-white ad industry.

(click ads, all scanned from Adweek)
The September 12th print issue of Adweek featured a special advertising section for the 2011 ADCOLOR® Awards. Several ad agencies jumped at the chance to create a piece of communication that attempted to convey that they're not houses of exclusion.
Top Left—TBWA, an agency with a "creative" reputation (Skittles, etc), creatively created a run-on diversity word. It gave me a honking headache trying to read it. Grade: C-.
Top Right—DraftFCB, an agency with a questionable reputation when it comes to race sensitivity in ads, honored their CEO honoree with an ugly, unsubtle LABEL metaphor ad. "Street smart." Terrible. Grade: D-.
Bottom Left—Wieden+Kennedy, an agency with a creative reputation (Nike, Old Spice, etc.), went with an ironic "white" ad in honoring their CEO honoree. It at least acknowledges that the ad biz is "diversity-challenged," but white Dan is "changing things." They didn't list any of those things, I presume, out of respect for the ad's black space. Grade: C+.
Bottom Right—BBH, another agency with a creative reputation, wins the diversity-off. Create something unarguably pithy, and get the fuck out of there. Grade: B.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check this:

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> that no single label ever defines
> any of us

i wish they'd get that through the heads of all those folks who develop the 'people who bought that also bought these' algorithms.


9:19 AM  
Blogger KR said...

OK. I've thought this for a while, and I realize the importance of remembering the injustices of racism, ageism etc... But.

Doesn't constantly referring to race and gender equality in advertising and the media PERPETUATE the idea of gender and race inequality?

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know if any of the creatives who made these ads were from ethnic minorities.

As a mixed-race man (and ad student), I'm deeply sceptical about diversity initiatives. The best man or woman should get the job. Regardless of their ethnicity.

To give someone a job in order to fill a 'diversity' commitment will cause the work to suffer if they were not the strongest candidate. This would be a worse fate for the industry than being almost exclusively white.

I'd argue that what keeps most people of colour away from advertising is the ignorance of staff about the harmful effects of stereotypes.

This often shows itself in seemingly harmless ways. Like the Nivea "re-civilise yourself" ad. Not racist, but ignorant to black culture. People of colour look at that and say, "that industry is full of people who won't understand me". Until we drop the reliance on stereotypes, proper authentic diversity will not exist.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous mrjohn said...

Gee, come work in Japan guys

9:25 PM  

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