If there’s a word that’s been thrown around the most during the average 16 years of public education, it’s the word diversity. Generally speaking, most people find diversity to be a good thing. Whether in people, or objects, or ideas, diversity lends itself to options and differing opinions. Which in turn, lends its self to a whole new world of discoveries. When diversity is thrown around, it’s usually in relation to race and usually in relation to artistic expression in the creative world. Both go hand in hand in the advertising industry, so I will compare and contrast some of the things I’ve seen so far in American and British media.
It’s no strange sight to see different languages, skin colors, personalities, and cultures plastered in the city of London. Whether through the people, on posters, or on TV, London is possibly more diverse than all the United States combined. This is because diversity seems to be more represented in London. People of color are being used in more product categories and class levels compared with the U.S. Whether it’s an ad for butter or a high fashion line, they’re there. In the States, people of color are used more frequently in local packaged goods and mid-class brands. Often times when they are used, it’s in a stereotypical role.
One of my favorite ads I’ve seen so far while being in London is a brand re-charger for Sainsbury’s, one of the largest supermarket chains in the United Kingdom. Wieden + Kennedy helped them celebrate the power of food through #fooddancing, engaging Sainsbury’s customers and anyone who loves to dance and eat. To see the final video, click here: Sainsbury’s Food Dancing
Diversity in advertising or in any artistic environment is crucial for better content and better branding when done well. This doesn’t mean sticking people in random places for the fun of it, but it needs to have strategy and meaning. Doing the same thing over and over again is boring, and technically insanity if your results aren’t changing. This might be the one area where recycling [concepts] is a bad thing.
Everyone wants to be diverse at the risk of being called boring and unexciting, but who cares enough to do the hard work? Who genuinely cares about other’s opinions, stories, lifestyles, cultures, etc.? It’s all talk and little action. We as advertisers should stop beating diversity to death. Let it live properly.