By now everyone has expressed some form of emotion in response to Justin Tindall’s egregious rebuke of diversity in advertising.
In his column, Justin meant to strike at the dead heart of advertising – complaining about the state of affairs today and trying to demand more from an industry he felt prioritises short-term solutions over long-term strategies that would continue to prove our relevance and bravery in the world today.
The difference between trying to resuscitate a flailing category and subverting the group of people who make advertising reflective of the ever-changing population is not a grey area, it’s pretty clear when you’re doing one over the other. Diverse thinking, hiring and ideas are a show of strength for our industry, not a weakness to fear.
We are lucky enough to work in an industry where a good idea can come from anyone. Agencies have a tendency to forget that we are privileged to work on communicating a brand’s role in someone’s life to their audience, on their behalf. We should never take it for granted that advertising moves people to act in a certain, desirable way, and the power of communications must be respected and consistently reviewed to make sure we are doing it in the best way possible.
The threats are real. Consultancies continue to show up to pitches, the giants of the industry eat up independent shops morning, noon, and night – homogonising an industry by giving a holding company the final say. But the difference that Mr. Tindall fails to recognise is that threats come from the outside – the strengths of advertising are direct reflections of the people who work in the industry. Without diversity, without different perspectives on a common category, we would produce the same stuff over and over – only speaking to ourselves and naval-gazing ad nauseam. So instead of feeling ‘bored’ by the current state of affairs, we should be brave about how we embrace the future of the industry and bravely embrace diversity.
People, the world, our very selves are diverse. We all contain different motivators, tastes, histories and privileges. Being people-first means respecting and understanding what a brand means to an ever-changing audience set. It means heroing the differences people have while tapping into the commonalities they share. At HeyHuman, we seek to change behaviour by taking a good look at the people we are talking to. How they currently act, the barriers they have to acting differently and the comparisons we can make to move them along. By examining behaviours of people, we are able to create more meaningful brand relationships.
Find out more about how we endeavour to talk to people as humans and download our whitepaper on the 14 new brand relationships.