Voices

How do we make sure that progressive comms aren’t a hollow vessel for regressive products?

The second episode of Lucky Generals’ Uncomfortable Conversations podcast takes a deep dive into how brands attempt to represent specific communities and whether they are successful in doing so.

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE

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The trouble with the historical understanding of people’s experience is that it was examined in a very singular, linear fashion. It unpacked what being a woman was like for example without also taking into account that woman’s age or ethnicity or sexuality. This is where intersectionality comes in, perhaps one of the most important ways in which we can better understand each and every person’s experience.

Lucky Generals and BITE have teamed up to create a progressive podcast series called Uncomfortable Conversations designed to be an educational and challenging tool for people in advertising and marketing who want to learn about intersectionality, how it affects the industry, their role within it, the work they make, and ultimately, how they can become positive forces for change. 

Founded by Lucky Generals strategy director Rachel Hamburger and account director Katie Hooper, and produced by Wildstorm PR, the podcast gives a platform to members of the minority communities within advertising and marketing. These are individuals who are striving for change, to diversify the industry. These are also individuals who are so frequently underrepresented.

The latest episode features guests Davina Rajoopillai, Co-Founder and Executive Producer at BADLANDS and Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, columnist at the Metro and Co-director of My Genderation CIC.

It tackles the question, is what we’re selling part of the problem? And how do we make sure that progressive comms aren’t a hollow vessel for regressive products? 

We do want to give a platform to anyone that wants to use it to talk to us and tell us what the real issues are and how we can all work together to solve them.

Katie Hooper

Fear of getting it wrong

The conversation took a deep dive into how brands attempt to represent specific communities and whether they are successful in doing so. The main outtakes from Rajoopillai and Jónsdóttir were that in order to speak to diverse minority communities, companies need to strip away the fear associated with getting it wrong. There are some simple ways to do that: hire from the communities you want to represent, consult with the communities you want to represent, champion them both through your products and your comms and commit, not just simply paying lip-service to minority communities when it suits.

Hamburger explained why the team decided to launch the podcast: “As an industry, we tend to tout the rainbow about every June to ‘get behind’ the movement for a while, before watching it drop back into the pile of ‘to do’ for next year.  Yet we don’t make enough effort to keep the wave of change rolling, it’s something we’re so guilty of.

“This inspired a few of us to get together and try and do something to keep these conversations going in our industry. We hope the Uncomfortable Conversations podcast will be a platform for people in advertising and marketing to potentially become a bit more educated about diversity and intersectionality.”

Hooper added: “But we realise to drive change, we have to change the way we look for that change. We can't fall into the trap so many have tumbled into before by becoming a group of people who have no real-life understanding of the communities they are talking about, or down, instead of talking to those communities.

“And although it’s not the job of people from minority communities to educate everyone else, we do want to give a platform to anyone that wants to use it to talk to us and tell us what the real issues are and how we can all work together to solve them.”

Episode one launched at BITE LIVE in November 2021 and examined the problems of who actually works within the creative industries and produced workable suggestions on how brands and agencies can move from talking about the problem, to actually trying to fix it. It featured Asad Dhunna, Founder of The Unmistakables, Yolanta Boti, Creative Copywriter at Ogilvy UK and Co-Founder of Ogilvy Roots, and Leila Siddiqi, Associate Director Diversity at IPA.

Uncomfortable Conversations, episode two, listen now

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