Gabberissue #13: Diversity
Image by Alayna Kunitake, Art Director, Ogilvy Melbourne.
Words by David Ponce de Leon. ECD. Ogilvy Melbourne.
When I was asked by Siobhan if I would like to be the first guest editor of Gabberish, I instantly said yes. However, after discovering the topic of this issue was Diversity, I immediately panicked.
Because what could a Colombian-Spanish-Italian-Israeli-Australian-Latino-Jewish-male-curious possibly contribute to such heady subject?
Not much it seems, but thankfully, I got a lot of help from some wonderful, interesting, and yes, diverse people in this business.
Some of them put their alternative careers on hold to give a brother a hand, like Robbie Ten Eyck, who’s anything but lazy (or is he?) and seems to have more than a Bit on the Side as a performance artist.
Others enjoyed a punt and created a special game machine you can rig to get into advertising. So, go ahead and give it a spin. Chances are, whatever bet you place, you’ll win.
Apparently, when an Asian and a Jew enter a bar, the bartender says: piss off! But not always. Or not anymore… I can’t exactly recall. Diversity humour aside, let’s hear Siobhan Joffe and Suraiya Lorenz tell us their version of events on this issue’s Team Talk.
A prophet of his generation, Kurt Cobain once said “Everyone is Gay”. Or at least one of the letters.
Perhaps he was right, and it certainly seems that banks, soft drinks, insurance, fast food restaurants, airlines, hotels, automobile makers all want to be. Opportunity still abounds to get a bite of that cupcake—but don’t take it from me, let’s see Julia Stretch’s ‘Pink Dollar Pitch’ and make up your own mind.
We have a very special Gift of the Gabberer this issue. In fact, we have three different Gabberers, each hailing from a diverse background.
Much like Three Wise Magi, from faraway lands they come bearing precious gifts.
There’s Ant Melder, former Host/Havas ECD and now founder and Creative Partner at Coffee Cocoa Gunpowder, who runs a podcast called Brown Riot featuring chats with multicultural creative and business leaders. And, apparently, he’s the world’s only Cockney Bangladeshi creative. We asked Vinnie Jones for his opinion, but he’s yet to come back to us.
Sharon Condy, Creative Director at Ogilvy, reminisces about her experiences over the last 14 years in advertising and the importance of strong female role models, leaders and mentors who’ve shaped her own story.
And we hear from Tea Uglow, a woman with a great name and an even greater title. She is ‘Experimental Person in Charge’ at Google Lab APAC, and if this doesn’t conjure NASA (or at least, Breaking Bad) lab coats and coveralls, I don’t know what does. A bisexual, vegetarian, teetotal, transgender, face-blind, English, white, well-educated, well-paid, very-tall woman, she talks about on our intersections, and why inclusivity is more important than diversity.
If there was ever a seminal moment for diversity in our industry was the notorious ‘Seven White Men in a couch’ episode.
The now infamous image was the smoking towers of diversity in our industry, and much like them, I remember the exact time and place I was when the story broke and how it made me and others around me feel.
Almost five years later, have things really changed? If in doubt, take this Diversity Test. It can help you and your agency determine how you’re doing and possibly save you hurt and embarrassment before that PR shot hits a publisher’s inbox.
Leo Burnett CD Chris Jovanov uses his disability to propel his creativity as he examines the intersection between humanity and technology. And indeed, disability is seen as a positive force more and more in the work that is being created.
When it comes to inclusivity, recent AWARD School graduate Michelle See-Tho is optimistic about the future, but acknowledges that we still have way to go.
Still, so do most of our contributors. I personally feel that diversity in our industry is a job that is never complete. It requires constant effort.
And most importantly, diversity is more about actions than words.
It has to be part of your company’s DNA, your culture and your structure. It has to be fueled and given momentum with multiple champions for it at the highest level of your business.
We have a lot of words for you in this issue, and we sincerely hope they have an effect. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed being part of it. Salaam Alaikum, mates.