Lloyds Bank is laying the law down on the depiction of ethnicity in its marketing in its new ‘Championing Modern Britain’ guide, aimed at delivering positive representations. This follows work 16 ethnically diverse focus groups examining previous examples of Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Scottish Widows ads.
The eight guiding principles are:
Portray me positively: Present all people in a way they’d like to be seen, helping to challenge and defy restrictive stereotypes.
Don’t put me in a box: Consider all the layers of identity of the people you portray.
Authenticity is in the details: Focus on the nuanced details for true-to-life representations – create good connections, not bad reactions.
Word association counts: Make sure the language you use alongside an image doesn’t reinforce an unhelpful trope.
Where am I in all of this? Try to represent all ethnicities – Asian and mixed heritage people are often underrepresented.
Level the playing field: Show that people from all ethnicities can have equal social status and are deserving of prominence.
Sensitively challenge bias: Take time to consider how communications could be interpreted by people with differing beliefs.
Check in with an expert: Enlist the support of an external cultural advisor, or establish your own diversity panel in-house.
It all seems fair enough and recent events, with some England football “fans” berating young black players show such matters remain a big issue, but it’s hardly going to make the jobs of agencies adam&eveDDB and New Commercial Arts (Halifax) any easier.
Warren, a former senior adman, found himself in the news recently when he opined that “agencies couldn’t write any more,” a bit of a generalisation but he had a point. Copywriting is becoming a lost art.
But writing depends on a number of things, not least the freedom to push boundaries a bit and putting in harder and faster boundaries arguably isn’t going to help. Most humour, for example, involves taking the mickey out of someone or something – Chinese dining habits to take a random example from an epic campaign by Lowe for rival bank HSBC.
Let’s see how they all get on. The Lloyds Bank horses should be OK anyway.