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Diversity and talent are not mutually exclusive

By Burn •

  • Advertising


When you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” – Cindy Gallop

The contentious words of M&C Saatchi’s group chief creative officer Justin Tindall echoed across the hollow chambers of social media this week after he asserted that he was “bored of diversity being prioritised over talent.”

This statement, sandwiched between hot air surrounding industry ennui, has subsequently been apologised for – But like many others, I find Justin’s choice of words deeply disconcerting. For someone like Justin Tindall, an industry leader in a position of power, the idea that “talent” and “diversity” are mutually exclusive is a destructive notion. Such opinions run the risk that every minority in the industry will feel as though he or she is not there out of merit – Rather, that they are merely a step towards “affirmative action” or a tick in the company diversity box.

Cindy Gallop, chief executive of MakeLoveNotPorn and IfWeRanTheWorld (and my personal heroine) nailed it in one sentence: “when you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

The advertising industry seriously needs to get its act together and embrace the talent of diverse individuals and creative leadership which will subsequently shape an imaginative, motivating and progressive industry-environment. I hazard a guess that Tindall isn’t alone in his view of hoping that this “whole diversity thing is just a phase;” It’s only when we eradicate such narrow views of the world that we achieve new heights for diversity-driven creativity, heights we haven’t seen prosper because white, middle-aged blokes have sought to reject and disregard it.

Stop being bored. Stop accepting the complacency of “why can’t it be like it was before” white men. Listen and take note, release control and do what’s right.