Advertising and Diversity.
When I was growing up there were Quotas. Make sure the agency has a splash of colour, a spike of an exotic religion, and a couple of less able- bodied folk. How we loved to quote percentages. It was a requirement rather than a choice. To be seen to be doing the right fair thing, rather than believing in a world not just populated with public school toffs and or barrow boys.
Those days are gone, thank God, (or whoever you worship, no one is judging). We don’t just have that nice-but –challenged chap being patronised in the Post Room (mostly there are no post rooms) . Now some companies even have Diversity Monitors. Actually I don’t think they are called that, maybe Prefects? But it is now recognised that in order to have any relevance and traction, “widening the gene pool” is imperative for survival.
Advertising chases Youth . Young people are cool, cheap, and full of verve and energy. They look good and they use social media.
But in this not-so-youthful-but-still-trying producer’s opinion, we are scratching the surface of the potential out there.
Last week we went to an event hosted by Fully Focused. An actual youth led organisation, making relevant and important film.
These guys made me breathless with their talent and passion.
Without any effort or quota or monitor, they personify youth and diversity.
And so much more. The evening was a way to get their name out there, to create contacts and see what people in the film and media industries could do to help them. To gather support and show their wares.
A group of six likeable, nervous and articulate members shared their story, discussed what they had done and what they wanted to do. They told a tale of triumph in making their first film, Riot from Wrong, taking a difficult start and turning it into something important and spectacular. They showed trailers, and one immensely powerful film, Nadia. They connected with the audience as a group, and as individuals. They gave us awesome stats – 52k followers and a stonking 6million views on their channel Million Youth Media. Every award they have ever entered they have won.
Later an experienced Film Producer, Melody from RSA, joined them. She said, and I completely get it, that she was really bricking it. Having seen what this band of under -25s could achieve, she felt she was not a match for them. She said lots, and of course was charming and inspiring, but the big message was that although the purpose of the night was to get us (“the grown ups”) to support them, (“the kids”), the truth is that the Film and Advertising industries need Fully Focused and whoever is equivalent out there, much more than they need us.
Don’t ever forget, these guys aren’t “connected”. They can’t afford to do middle class parent funded internships. They have little formal education. Remember that they have real hands on experience of film-making. With their own hands. Pause to think they have made powerful and viewable content with budgets less that normally reserved for crew catering.
This needs to be recognised and celebrated.
If there aren’t specific roles, create them. If normal process doesn’t allow, change the process. Cut a swathe and connect. Pay real salaries and find funding. Seek out brands that could do with an injection of actual reality. Break creative boundaries. Recognise new potential. Come up with relevant Content. Collaborate. Employ.
For your first move, visit:https://www.fullyfocusedproductions.com
and contact: Leah@fullyfocusedproductions.com
Let’s move on and be the industry that most of us individuals want to be proud of.