Imagine your team sitting at a conference table, brainstorming ideas for marketing a new tampon brand. For any media group, this is a pretty normal day. Your team is creative, and you know you’ll be able to come up with a few good ideas in this meeting…like you always do!  The team has a creative white man who’s always impressing the client with his ideas. He suggests a video campaign where a thin, blonde woman is playing volleyball on the beach confidently in a white bikini…while on her period! His teammate, a friend and fellow creative white man, thinks this idea is great as well. They’re onto something. Your boss, another white man, loves the idea and wants to move forward with it. Awesome! You’ve got a solid concept. Your whole team is sold on it, and you’re ready to present it to the client. What’s wrong with this picture?

First, there wasn’t much feedback or other idea suggestions. Does anyone on your team know the reality of how a tampon works, or how a woman feels during her period? Would this type of ad even appeal to a womxn? Did a womxn have a part in the creative discussion? Does she feel confident speaking up? If yes, did you take her opinion as seriously as everyone else’s? Why did you decide to go with a thin, blonde athlete as talent?

Where are the women? Where are the POC? Where are the LGBTQIA people? Whose voices are being excluded and whose aren’t being represented? Why? By not having a diverse group of people on your team or in your ad campaigns, you are seriously missing out on new ideas and perspectives that will help your business thrive.

Here’s how to fix that:

  1. Educate your client on the benefits of including diverse people in the promotion.
  2. Help your client build their audience by suggesting diverse casting.
  3. Go out of your way to hire and include a diverse group of people.
  4. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
  5. Listen and learn from people who are different from you.

Hiring diverse people on your team will directly benefit your company. Diversity isn’t just about race, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, gender, or religion. It’s also about skill sets, hobbies, personalities, and expertise. You can’t build a car without a business-oriented person, an engineer, and a designer, so how is this any different?

Educating your client on the benefits of including diverse people in their campaign will impact their relationship with under-represented groups. This means more sales AND a chance to help under-represented groups feel recognized as individuals. It also sets a great example for other companies to do the same. Plus when your client’s sales go through the roof, they’ll thank you.

The easiest way to avoid stereotypes and promote innovation is to listen to and learn from people that are different than you. After all, advertising is and always will be about innovation and keeping up with evolving audiences…and you can’t do that by using the same stereotypes we’ve seen a million times.

We’re all storytellers and we all know that the strongest stories to tell are ones that we have experienced or can relate to ourselves. Who do you think will tell the better story for a tampon ad? For the snowboarding ad? For the information-heavy internal corporate video?

As advertisers and content creators, it is also our job to represent our audience by including diversity in our teams and in our content.  All things considered, diversity enhances creativity and will only make your company stronger and give your campaigns more impact.