Ali Hanan, the founder of Creative Equals, believes that systemic bias is one of the strongest issues that comes into play when decisions are made about who gets cast in ads and who doesn’t. Leadership’s role Hanan says that changes first need to occur in making leadership teams more diverse before we start to see creative work that’s more reflective of modern society. If you don’t have diverse voices at the table, then you’re going to get a very homogenous set of adverts coming up, she says.
“With every creative brief it’s about getting inclusion written into it,” says Hanan. “We’ve got such a homogenous group at the table, for now, we have to make them think about these under-represented groups. Because of their blind spots and biases, they don’t think or see all these different groups they’re not including in their adverts because often they’re creating the adverts for people like themselves, or groups that they attach their stereotypes to.”
Hanan adds that diversity and inclusion have to be the thread that goes throughout every single process. “It can’t just be some vision and mission statement that just sits on the website or is held by HR. It has to be embedded throughout every practice and process you’ve got.” It’s no secret that the industry has, for too long, had a complete obsession with youth, with beauty, with good looking, able-bodied people, but this is one of the reasons why we get whole margins of society – huge consumer groups – still, in 2020, feeling completely disenfranchised from society.