Let’s start with the ethics, because in marketing and advertising articles there is a tendency to look at the money before the morals as if we all secretly suspect each other of sociopathy. And I’m sure we are much better than that.
I know from experience that somewhere in the background there always lurks someone who would persecute me, silence me, deny me basic rights or even happily see me dead.
These are the people that collude to spread lies about the LGBTQ+ population both in their own countries and abroad. You’ve heard of them: the ones that make up stories about how we steal children and make hurricanes happen. They’re the ones who ignorantly claim same-sex attraction or gender fluidity are a modern phenomenon. They’re the ones who claim society will be destroyed if I marry my boyfriend, even though there are countries around the world who have validated same-sex marriage for decades; and even though there is a fair amount of evidence of churches across Europe condoning same-sex marriage hundreds of years ago.
They’re the ones who wilfully misrepresent research in order to publish articles condemning LGBTQ+ visibility in an ad campaign.
They are the ones who want to ban Trans people from the military despite their existing contribution.
They are the ones who pass laws that will send you to prison for trying to discuss the matter.
They are the ones who’ll deny medical care to the children of LGBTQ+ parents.
They are the ones who put up posters in Cleveland State University trying to encourage LGBTQ+ people to kill themselves. And they are the ones who refused to take them down.
They are the ones who secretly force us into concentration camps and then deny it happened.
They are the ones who picket our funerals.
And they are the ones who complain that LGBTQ+ people shouldn’t need to celebrate Pride anymore.
If I don’t speak up, or walk the diversity walk, then I can gradually expect this strange, hateful bunch of weirdos to come and destroy the life I have built, purely to satisfy their insane prejudices.
I don’t get to be bored of diversity. For me, it’s not a fashionable toy to amuse myself with until such time as my mood changes. For me, it is a basic fact of life.
Diversity is the culmination of myriad struggles of oppressed and marginalised people to be treated fairly, to be heard, and to be respected and represented. If you dismiss it with the same flippancy as you cast off your outmoded jeans, then all you have done is demonstrate how shallow your commitment to people’s wellbeing is in the first place. And in that instance, it is not diversity that is failing – it’s you.
And that, in a nutshell, was Justin Tindall’s unwitting scream of privilege when he declared that he was “bored of diversity” – something for which he has since issued an apology.
On the flipside, there is the business case. Diversity is not a charity. It is not a concession or a benevolence and if you regard it as such then you are doing it a huge disservice. It is proven to be beneficial, both in the workplace and with an advertising audience - as media executives in Campaign recently lined up to point out.
Anyone expressing their boredom with diversity is clearly out of touch with a large percentage of the British public.
Pride AM’s recent research in collaboration with Simpson Carpenter (published on October 9th 2017) shows there’s a lag between what UK audiences feel advertisers should be doing to accurately represent minority groups, including LGBTQ+; and what’s currently being offered.
In all, 37% of the general population and 49% of LGBTQ+ respondents said they felt more positively about brands and products which portray different minority groups in their advertising. In addition, 35% of the general population and 41% of the LGBTQ+ respondents said they were more likely to buy from advertisers which take a more inclusive approach to their marketing.
Mark Runacus, President of PrideAM, explained: “The majority of 18-25 year olds and a significant number of older consumers today have a completely different perspective on gender and sexuality. All brands have to respond to this now. There’s a real opportunity for marketers from sectors like automotive and DIY to step up to the challenge and embrace the new gender agenda in their advertising.”
So, lucky you if you get to be bored of diversity this quickly, but you had better find another pastime, because we are only just scratching the surface.
Written by Phil Clements, Member and Spokesperson for PrideAM