As the agencies who define the messaging and communications for our clients, we are given enormous responsibility. We are entrusted to craft the right message that moves the needle to sell products and, just as importantly, enables brands to speak to each consumer in a way that actually means something. The responsibility to move the conversation toward inclusion and acceptance is necessary. And it is possible. But we need to have the hard conversations first, and, we need to have them now.
That’s why I’ll be at the ADCOLOR Conference & Awards next week. It’s one of the most important conferences that our industry has to offer, and considering what’s going on in our country today, it’s one that has the best chance to make the biggest societal impact. It’s also one that was void of many of the same brands who tout their public commitment to diversity last year.
But this year, it’s sold out. Tiffany R. Warren, the founder and president of ADCOLOR, is someone that we all have admired for quite some time now. When she called me last week to inform me that this year’s conference is completely sold out, she mentioned that there were many people who referenced an article I wrote after returning from last year’s ADCOLOR as the impetus behind wanting to join in the conversation. In the article, I challenged all the agencies and brands that didn’t show up – the ones who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. I am overjoyed that in some small part my excitement about last year’s event might have helped nudge a few new attendees, but saddened by the reality that the real credit likely goes to the tumultuous year that we’ve all experienced – whether you subscribe to real news, fake news, or any news for that matter. People are either fighting to hold on to an America driven by fear and exclusion, or simply angry and confused as they strive for hope and inclusion.
ADCOLOR has the ability to remind us that our industry, along with technology, is one of the few that can ensure that every voice is not only heard, but is accounted for. I’ve said it once and I’ll stay it again: the bottom line is that diversity is not a Black thing, a Latino thing, an Asian thing, an LGBTQ+ thing, or a white thing. It’s an American thing. Diversity is the fabric of our country and it should be the fabric of your brand or agency.
So, that’s what I’ll be doing next week – in a room full of people who come from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, religions, sexual orientations, and even New Jersey. I hope you’ll be joining me.
See you in LA, or on the interwebs.