Diversity, Equality and Doctor Who – Ethical Marketing News Blog – 30/07/17

Welcome to our new blog

I decided I wanted to have a place where I, or any of the other writers could comment personally on some of the stories of the week, with my opinions of the stories and of the marketing world, and sometimes into the wider world of politics or general news. I apologise if you don’t like the politics but it’s an important issue in diversity for me.

About Me

This will not be for everyone but I wanted a place where I could get opinion pieces s well as factual pieces so please feel free to ignore this if you’re not interested.I thought I’d do a bit of an introduction, my name is Stuart Mitchell, and I set up and run Ethical Marketing News. I started it nearly six months ago because I had recently set up my own marketing company SM Marketing and I was trying to make it an ethical marketing company and was looking for more information on ethical marketing, more info about campaigns, some ideas and how best to approach ethical marketing. When I started looking I couldn’t find anywhere that collected together resources for ethical marketing so I decided to do it myself.I hope those of you who read this page enjoy this new section, I thought it might be nice to have something that is more opinion based, and please feel free to disagree with me as much as possible on the comments below, I am not always right and sometimes it is important to see other viewpoints.

Thoughts from this week.

Channel 4 announces £1m Diversity in Advertising Award winner

Channel 4 this week, announced that Volvo UK and Valenstein & Fatt (Grey London) have won the £1million airtime prize for the Diversity in Advertising Award, with an ad campaign focussed on non-visible disability.

The brand was one of seven finalists – BT and AMV BBDO; Ford and GTB; Panasonic and Brave; Bose and Valenstein & Fatt (Grey London); Marks & Spencer and Valenstein & Fatt (Grey London; and the winners Volvo UK and Valenstein & Fatt (Grey London) – from more than 50 high quality campaign ideas featuring a range of non-visible disabilities such as depression, Alzheimer’s, autism and deafness. It’s great to see these items being brought to the fore in such a campaign.

The Diversity in Advertising award is a nice way to encourage advertising campigns which highlight diversity and with Channel 4 also offering the other six finalists match-funded commercial airtime if they produce the creative ideas which secured them a place in the final, I hope the other finalists continue with their planned campaigns. There’s a strong argument that the award shouldn’t be required but as long as it is I’m glad it exists.  The judging panel, featuring Claire Beale Global Editor In Chief of Campaign and Ad Association Head of Strategy Karen Fraser, and chaired by Channel 4’s Sales Director Jonathan Allan, also highly commended a pitch by Lloyds Bank and adam&eveddb.

I think over time we might see more companies looking at ways to build diversity into their advertising plans. I loved last years winner, the Maltesers ad below and look forward to seeing Volvo’s new advertising.


Doctorin’ the Tardis

The new Doctor, Jodie Whittaker

I’m going to make a confession, I am a geek, I am a huge geek, about many different things, but one of the biggest is Doctor Who. I have watched the show since I was a child, I love it, and in the past few weeks it has been in the news after the choice of the new actor to play the Doctor. After 54 years of being played by a man, the next Doctor will be played by a female, Jodie Whittaker. For some people this is a step too far and they cannot deal with the idea of a female stepping into the role of the Doctor. There are 2 sides to this argument and there is a perfectly reasonable argument that the role of the Doctor is one of the few role models for young boys of a heroic character who uses intellect to win rather than guns. The counter to that is that it’s great that women can now have that role model too. It is, however a role a lot of people feel huge attachment to and change can be hard, so I hope those who are unsure give her a chance and judge her on her performance rather than her gender and I hope those who are delighted with the choice are careful in how they interact with those who are not so sure. I, for one am pleased to see that diversity and equality is in the Tardis too.

As well as being a show I love I am really interested to see whether the BBC will look to adapt its marketing. Over the past few years the way female led properties have been marketed have changed and with properties like Star Wars and Wonder Woman showing that there is a place for female led science fiction and fantasy, something many companies do not seem to have realised until recently. Doctor Who is one of the BBC’s most successful properties, and this year added China to the list of countries in which the programme is shown. The anniversary episode in 2013 was simulcast in 98 countries and in 15 languages with 3D cinema screenings in 23 countries. The marketing for Doctor Who takes great advantage of social media and the introduction a few years ago of the Fan Show on YouTube marked a joining of the social media aspects directly to the show.  The fanshow, hosted by the lovely Christel Dee also does its bit for equality and diversity, their latest episode is LGBTQ In The Worlds Of Doctor Who.

Doctor Who is currently quite well marketed to both sexes and I would like to think a female Doctor will not change that, but I am interested to see how they will move forward. Equality and diversity in television is as important as diversity and equality in in Marketing. The BBC took a big, and risky step with the first female Doctor, and it will be interesting to see how they move forward with the marketing, but I am hoping they continue to push it forward to everyone and don’t panic and start to market more to males, who may be more vocal about the issues they perceive with a female doctor. Interesting times ahead and I will be watching the marketing closely to see how they move forward with both a new Doctor and a new showrunner in Chris Chibnall.


Trump’s Transgender Military Ban

Equality and Diversity are on my mind also for a less fun reason than Doctor Who. This week President Trump fired off a number of tweets stating that trans people will no longer be able to serve in the US Military. For me, this is such a backwards step it’s so sad to see a great country like the US go backwards. One of the President’s reasons for this ban on trans people was the alleged cost of treatment. To put that in context the cost of medicine, a 2016 study by the RAND Corporation found that the Department of Defense’s overall health care costs might rise “between 0.005% to 0.017%” following integration of transgender service members. (The Washington Post adds that the military actually spends five times as much on Viagra as it does on transgender medical costs.). Or to put it into another context, the extra cost of security and travel the US taxpayer pays for approximately 4 trips to Mar A Lago by the President.  Here at EMN we covered so many of the great marketing campaigns which were run in June for Pride Month and it saddens me so much that after feeling we had come so far, the leader of the free world takes such a step backwards. Equality and diversity are important and should be open in any workplace to everyone. Doing anything else is a step backwards.

One of the things that is often overlooked in ethical marketing is the importance of both diversity and equality, these should be present both in the companies and in the marketing materials. Ethical Marketing, for me, is doing things right, marketing things in a way which is ethically sound and a large part of that involves diversity and equality, but there are some people who write it off as political correctness. It isn’t. It is not political correctness to feel everyone should be treated the same regardless of their beliefs, orientation or gender, it’s just human decency, kindness and ethically the right thing to do. 


The view in this blog are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of Ethical Marketing News

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