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Why Adland Can’t Innovate Without Diversity

Sexism. Racism. Ableism. Ageism. Fatphobia. Homophobia. Transphobia. These ugly biases live within the fabric of our culture, not always making an effort to hide. They suppress those rare individuals whose learned experiences differ to the dominant group. In the advertising world, that’s abled-bodied cis white men – in other words, straight anglo men who were assigned male at birth.

And having creative teams made up of predominantly one group is affecting our ability to create good work. As former BBH Chair Cindy Gallop once put it:

‘Homogeneity is the enemy of creativity.’

It’s why – in order to make innovative work – we need to welcome rare individuals into our fold. Here are a few more reasons how having a diverse team helps drive more innovative work.

1. It broadens the thinking. When new ideas and cultures are introduced into the creative process, it unlocks new possibilities.

2. It’s reflective of the real world. Our audience is diverse and connecting with them in a genuine way will always drive better results. For example, using real world samples – that is, diverse data – in a usability test will ensure your audience better connects with your product.

3. Advertising shapes the zeitgeist, whether we like it or not. Good creative can influence culture, and in turn the world (in addition to making our clients more money, which is what we’re paid to do).

Agencies, it’s time to talk about diversity because our industry can’t survive without innovation, and we can’t innovate without diversity.


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