Cummins&Partners creative director Avish Gordhan has urged the advertising industry to do a better job of promoting its value in order to attract more diverse talent.
Speaking at B&T’s inaugural Changing the Ratio event in Sydney this morning alongside fellow Cummins&Partners creative director Mandie van der Merwe, Gordhan said research by the agency found that advertising is not seen as a respectable career.
Furthermore, people know what ads are, but don’t understand the value economically or socially, according to the research.
“We need to advertise advertising,” Gordhan told attendees. “We need to actually change peoples’ perception about what we do.
“We need to remind them that we actually have value, and that we actually can make a difference to the world.”
Gordhan said that while there has been a big cultural shift in Australia over the last 50 years, it hasn’t transferred into adland.
“By and large our industry is mono-cultural,” he said.
The Cummins&Partners creative said there was an opportunity for the industry by narrowing the diversity gap.
“If we have more diversity in our agencies, we’ll have more diversity of thought, and that as a creative is an amazing thing because diversity of thought is originality – it’s originality of ideas, and that’s what we’re all trying to achieve in this business,” Gordhan said.
“This isn’t about equality or giving everyone a fair chance – this has nothing to do with that. It’s about money.
“These diverse groups of people that we’re trying to attract – they don’t need our help. They’re doing fine as doctors, lawyers and IT professionals. We need them.
“If we’re able to understand the diverse groups’ sense of humour, how they eat, what their value systems are, how they socialise… if we understand the nuances of who they are, then we can engage with them more intimately.
“And if we can engage with them more intimately, brands can create stronger relationships with them and we can accrue the value of our brands by doing so.”
To conclude their talk, Gordhan and van der Merwe outlined an initiative created by Cummins & Partners that is tackling the issue called Project Represent, which included an ad campaign, a page takeover on Uni Junkee and a one-day workshop.
You can read more about Gordhan’s thoughts on diversity in adland in a recent blog he penned for B&T.