By 2020, the world will be overwhelmed with people of color, yet ad agency teams include fewer than 10% people of color. With these numbers, something not so smart is destined to happen. Recent brand faux pas by Dove, H&M, Shea Moisture, and Pepsi play in my head, like “You should have known better!” and “Oh, say it isn’t so, here we go … again!”
Diversity in advertising plays out in many ways: an image, a script, the tone, or the subtlety of black women bossing their husband in a commercial – not smart. Not only are these commercials offensive to black women, but they also convey the notion of submissive black men. An empowered advertising executive would say, “My father or brother would never go for that.” As a Diversity Expert, I often have clients who send campaign creative to me for review. My team and I review the creative and often provide suggestions to make the campaigns better, more comprehensive, and more compelling for all people of color, but especially for women and women of color who guide purchasing decisions.
If your agency does not reflect the United States, you have the wrong agency. Hire firms as Tier 1, not Tier 2. Now that you know better, do better.