The real beauty brand’s latest campaign ‘It’s On Us’ is offering to pay other brands to diversify their ads. At Because, we think that’s hugely inspirational.
As an agency we made a commitment to focus on championing diversity and inclusion (D&I) this year (and going forward). Given we’re at the forefront of creating and shaping innovative marketing ideas for some of the world’s biggest brands, we agreed diversity within our own team is critical. This is not only to ensure that the lens we have on our creative thinking will relate to diverse target audiences, but also because we truly believe that what makes us different as people, is what will make us stand apart in time to come.
We’re under no illusion that this is the start of a long reeducation journey and it’s going to take energy and effort, and perhaps we won’t always get it right, but we will try our best. The first step we took to help effect change within the global agency was to create a D&I Champion Team (of which I am a member) comprising of people from across markets. The team has chosen three key areas to work within: Education – so we can actively encourage each other and our colleagues to learn about and interrogate our own unconscious biases, Recruitment – to ensure we always look for diverse candidates for available roles, and Creative – to diversify our narrative and make sure our creative output delivers on representation. The latter is one of the reasons Dove’s ‘It’s On Us’ campaign first caught my eye. The real beauty brand’s latest campaign is offering to pay other brands to diversify their ads. Yes, you read that right. Awesome eh!?
Together with their lead agency, and different independent casting agencies, Dove hacked the advertising industry from the inside by infiltrating international casting calls with real beauty models. Models across various collectives and backgrounds were hired to participate. Each of them had a simple message to encourage inclusion – “If you choose me, and show me as I really am, Dove will cover the cost of my appearance fee”, irrespective of the fact it’s not a shoot for Dove itself!
What really struck me about the above campaign, is how right and truly authentic it feels coming from Dove, and how hard they’ve worked to get to that place. Any brand could have taken the stance to challenge other brands to be more diverse, but what would give them the right to?
Dove has earned this right over many years in many markers. They have been championing diversity and inclusion for as long as many of us can remember. Campaign after campaign they have shown me personally that it’s ok to be me. That I’m not the only one with wobbly bits and interesting features (aka real women with real bodies). That the media’s idea of ‘normal’ is not a true reflection of the rest of the world’s normal, and that the global population is filled with truly unique and utterly gorgeous people. From when I was an ‘awkward’ tween, to a ‘body-conscious’ teen and now a ‘baby-bellied’ mom, Dove has consistently challenged and changed my opinion of what real beauty is, and that is what gives them the authority to run a campaign like this one.
Dove recognised the importance of diversity long before it became a ‘buzz’ word. They haven’t just jumped on the D&I bandwagon, it’s been their brand purpose for years, and they’ve consistently worked damn hard to realise it building an immense amount of brand love in the process. In taking the path less travelled, they’ve paved a way forward, and now they’re using their own money to incentivise other brands to follow in their footsteps.
We’ve only just started on our D&I journey here at Because. We have a lot to learn, and a long way to go to have anywhere near the authority to be able to run a campaign like #ItsOnUs (and our pockets are sadly not as deep as Dove’s). But we’re going to be brave, and we’re going to put the energy and effort in and hopefully, in time, we’ll reach a place where we’ll be an inspiration to others taking their first steps on the path to true diversity, just like Dove has been for us.