Netflix Has a Message for Hollywood: Make Room for Others

Powerful film features Uzo Aduba and other network stars

Yalitza Aparicio (left) and Uzo Aduba front Netflix's new campaign. Netflix
Headshot of Doug Zanger

Earlier this year, Netflix launched a powerful campaign that celebrated the diversity of the network’s black creators. “A Great Day in Hollywood” featured Academy Award-winner Spike Lee and industry powerhouses and legends like Ava DuVernay, Alfre Woodard and Lena Waithe. In all, the 60-second ad (and stunning photograph accompanying the campaign) features 47 black creators and actors who work on more than 20 Netflix productions.

Yesterday, the streaming giant launched another campaign to point out the continuing inequity among creators and talent. “Make Room” is a global platform that seeks to take a stand and continue Netflix’s disruption of entertainment.

The centerpiece of this effort is a 60-second film featuring Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba, comedian Hannah Gadsby and indigenous Mexican actor of the Oscar-nominated movie Roma, Yalitza Aparicio.

While the initial video is a public-facing rallying cry to celebrate Netflix’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, it is also a profound message directed to producers, writers, studio heads … anyone working in entertainment.

“Let’s make room for the voices yet to be heard. For stories yet to be told,” says Aduba in the film. “We’re making room for you to find them and for them to find you.”

The “Make Room” brand campaign and overall global strategy were created by Portland independent agency Red & Co. and built to be flexible and interpreted in many ways.

“We wanted everyone to think more deeply about why diversity is good, beyond the obvious representation issues,” said Mira Kaddoura, founder and executive creative director of Red & Co. “Under the banner of ‘Make Room,’ we could talk about the need to make room in the industry, but also the need for creative room, for innovation, new genres, voices and stories that people love and connect to.”

Part of the female-founded agency’s vision was to create work both featuring and made by underrepresented communities in entertainment. In addition to the actors featured in the film, Red & Co. brought on African-American director Malik Vitthal and included female creative and strategic teams and a female editor. Additionally, the agency worked with The Corner Shop, a woman-led production company.

“It was important for us to ‘make room’ ourselves and walk our own talk,” said Kaddoura.

In addition to the film that launched yesterday, the campaign will include social elements that ask Netflix talent about “who made room” for them—and is a way of thanking and honoring those who helped others break into the entertainment industry.

“We all talk a lot about diversity and inclusion, but we wanted to make a case for more than affirmative action,” said Kaddoura, who spent 10 years at Wieden + Kennedy in Portland. “We wanted to make a case for—and tell the story of—the opportunity that diversity offers all of us when we make creative and economic space for talented artists, actors, writers, comedians, producers, directors and composers who don’t have a guaranteed seat at the table. ‘Make Room’ is a reflection of not only Netflix’s approach to film and show making but an argument for why diversity is good for business, entertainment and humanity.”


Agency: Red & Co.

Founder / ECD: Mira Kaddoura
Writers: Jess Vacek & Kimberly Harrington
Art Directors: Max Erdenberger & Julia Blackburn
Design Director: Marco Murillo
Producer: Kevin Diller
Account Director: Jane Delworth
Strategy Director: Karin Knutson
Strategist: Marina Tokar
Designer: Jordenn Bailey

Production Co: The Corner Shop
Director: Malik Vitthal

Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Zoe Mougin

VFX & Color: Framestore
Music: Walker
Sound Design: Barking Owl
Mix: Digital One

@zanger Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.