Rather Than Show Diversity in Images, Brands Should Tell Stories That Normalize it

As broadcast TV networks prepare to launch their fall lineups, many of us are anticipating how creators, in both programming and advertising, will answer the call for diversity and inclusion.

While diversity and inclusion rightfully reign as top concerns in both advertising and Hollywood, I believe showrunner powerhouse Shonda Rhimes put it best: We don’t need to “diversify” television, we need to “normalize” it.

In advertising, we’ve certainly made strides in showing more inclusive imagery. But in my view, the next phase of equitable representation will have less to do with who brands show and more to do with the stories they tell. Winning brands must capture the compelling and complex realities of Americans, the majority who look, live or love differently than the people we still most often see on screen.

Here are three takeaways from brands who are doing it right:

Commit to more than marketing

From athletic apparel to toy manufacturers (yes, even Barbie), brands are more willing than ever to surrender restrictive ideals of beauty for the sake of inclusion. But none commits quite like Sephora. With “We Belong to Something Beautiful,” the brand takes inclusion to the next level, bringing viewers face to face with non-binary experiences across race, ability, body type, age and transition. It’s equally impactful that Sephora anchors this striking imagery with the gender expansive, “They, She, He, Xe, We,” at a time when the Human Rights Campaign reminds us how deeply personal our names and pronouns are. The anthemic display makes the brand’s world view clear: No matter your identity, there is beauty in the freedom of self-expression.…[Read More]

Roger Chiocchi

A life-long advertising and marketing professional, Roger is VP-Marketing at Signature Brand Factory. Prior to that he spent 20+ years on Madison Ave as a Sr. VP at Young & Rubicam and President of Y&R subsidiary, The Lord Group.


email: grow@sig-brand.com

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