Ads have grown to be more and more homogenous. Decades of the same voice in every product category isn’t working anymore and everybody knows it, especially consumers. What better way to break through and truly be part of culture than by changing the voices doing all the talking?
Here’s the thing about culture:
- The largest debut for an original horror film: Jordan Peele’s Us
- The best director of 2020 (Academy Award): Bong Joon Ho for Parasite
- The top selling music artist in 2020: Drake
- The hottest new Netflix series: Never Have I Ever
- The most streamed song of 2020: Blinding Lights by The Weeknd
- The most nominated woman in Grammy history: Beyonce
Now, close your eyes and imagine if companies had the people who birthed that culture built into their own DNA. Authenticity? Check. Authority? Check. Campaigns that connect with real people? Check. Happy clients seeing growth to their bottom lines? I’d wager a big ol’ check in that department too.
People of color will save advertising.
It depends on companies supporting the Bipoc voices they bring on board. Forcing conformity to existing agency structures is not the way. People of color drive culture. And the more people we bring in, the better the outcomes will be.
This is why the future won’t be about unique perspectives, but rather about more perspectives. “Unique” sounds positive on the surface but is rooted in a belief that the rarity of these voices is somehow the benefit. A breadth of different perspectives will be the real change agent. Everyone bringing more of who they genuinely are to the table needs to be the final outcome. This is only further emboldened when you see you’re not at the table alone. People who know they can bring truth into the workplace with them have a superpower like no other.
Not only will people of color make the work better, they’ll make the workplace better. Think about what kind of city you want to live in. Now think about our advertising community as a miniature city unto itself. It makes sense that all employees benefit when there are different folks in the room. It provides a broader vision of the world, a place we are supposed to be connecting with.
The unspoken truth is people behave better when they are aware of other cultural groups around them. I don’t care what anyone says—we all know this is true. Behavior has a way of turning into something much more permanent. We see it in our most progressive cities. It’s not geography or proximity to the coasts that makes a city progressive. It’s the mix of people within it. It’s always been the people.
We are on a journey toward a turning point for this industry. The roots are growing. The juniors from marginalized communities who fought their way in years ago are rising in the ranks. Like the quiet and knowing Black salute of a head nod as we pass on the street, I see you. There’s a current of change in the air that’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before. I’m placing a big bet that we’ll collectively look back on this period and say, “Wow, what the hell took so long and when did the work get this good?”