Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Handy Dandy Diversity and Inclusion Kit.

I read an article just now in "The Washington Post" about a recent tech conference in Italy which was attended by 17 tech CEOs: 15 men, and two women.

When the obligatory group photo was snapped, the women, somehow showed up missing. So, the tech conference did what is au courant behavior: they photoshopped the two female attendees (who couldn't make the shoot) into the photo.

You know, if you want something to be true, alter the truth so it appears to be true.

The reality in our industry reflects a similar lack of inclusion and diversity. In 2016, according to data in WPP's annual report, only 2% of employees were over 60. Just 7% were between 50 and 59. (Fear not. The report goes onto say that 23% of WPP companies--that's almost one-in-four--have "introduced measures to support recruitment and retention of older people.")

I am part of that 2% group. But I am not unaware of a similar lack of representation among other groups. I found this data from a fairly recent Association of National Advertiser's report.

I wondered if I could make it easier for agencies at Cannes? Could I sell them photographs to make them appear more egalitarian? Shots that can be easily purchased (from me) that could be easily photoshopped into their iPhone photos.

First, since the industry has fewer than 9% of its employees over 50, a selection of "AKS," known in the inclusion business as Alte Kocker shots. Any one of these shots can be inserted photoshopically into any group photos from Cannes.
An authentic old person.
Old people often cross their arms and wear quaint mechanical watches.

Research indicates that there's no better way to depict a youthful older person
than to put them on a swing.
Nothing says "gravitas" (which is Latin for "of or pertaining to gravy")
than a stern-looking older person looking defiant.

This photo of an older person has everything.
Ratty cardigan, straw hat, man with walker and Nazi salute.

Then, because LatinX people are even more egregiously underrepresented, you can use the two shots below for your Diversity and Inclusion purposes.
For your photoshopping convenience, a two-fer:
This woman is LatinX and over 40!
Hipster LatinX-es are all the rage this year. Flannel shirt, check. Nerd glasses, check. 
Wispy beard, check. Anesthetized smile, double check.

Finally, since African-Americans make up only 7% of industry work-forces (and only 3% of senior roles) I've included an assortment of relevant shots you can use.
Today, everyone aspires to be collaborative, earnest AND diverse.
Like people everywhere, diverse people also like to point at screens while smiling.
But, of course we shouldn't overlook work/life balance either.

For your Cannes photoshopping-convenience, I've included this shot.
It already has palm trees!

And a three-fer. Grey hair, over-40 and African-American.
By the way, if you want to read more about the diversity in fact and fiction, click on this link. It also has a "Diversity Bingo Board." Fun for all ages. (Except those over 50.)

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