How These 7 Ad Campaigns Got Diversity Right


Diversity and marketing campaigns have been missing each other lately like lovers with terrible communication.

There was the infamously tone deaf Pepsi and Kendall Jenner disaster, the Nivea "white is purity" ad and now there's Shea Moisture. Shea is a natural hair brand that threatened its own stability by alienating black women (its core target market) with an ad about "hair hate" that was full of white women with no concept of actual racialized hair discrimination.

So yeah, these PR people have definitely been pulling all-nighters for the last few weeks.

But things aren't always this way. There are actually a few companies that have gotten diversity right, and haven't had to fall on their knees at the feet of their customers with futile apologies.

Here are a few ads that did diversity the way it's supposed to be done:

1. Pantene created the "#StrongIsBeautiful" campaign.

The ad addresses the unique plight of African-American women by actually talking about the hair discrimination women of kinkier hair textures face.

It features not only women of varying colors but also of various ages and hair textures.

2. Swimsuits For All created a body positive swimwear campaign.

Plus-size models Ashley Graham and Philomena Kwao joined forces with model, Nicola J. Griffin, for an ad that empowers women of every age, skin color and body shape to feel sexy and comfortable in swimwear.

3. Torrid launched a denim campaign for plus-size women.

The ad campaign included 11 plus-sized women, including Adrienne C. Moore, who plays Cindy on "Orange Is The New Black."

4. Dove has its 13-year-old "Real Beauty" campaign.

The campaign launched in 2004, with a photography exhibit held in Canada, according to HuffPost. Dove has used the campaigns to launch several videos and ads that celebrate women of every color.

The brand prides itself on always using real women in its ads, and works to fight issues like ageism, negative body image and racism.

5. Naja's "Nude For All" lingerie collection.

The "nude" look has historically been associated with a color that closely matches only the skin tone of white women.

Of course, that isn't "nude" for every woman, which is why many women of color have difficulty finding everything from nude hosiery to lingerie to heels.

The Naja brand, presented by its creative director Catalina Girald and "Jane the Virgin" actress Gina Rodriguez, presented its "Nude for All" collection of lingerie in 2016 that caters to women of various skin tones.

6. The Nubian Skin brand does all nudes for women of color all the time.

If a line of lingerie that provides a nude for every woman's color is popping, then you're really going to adore the fact that the Nubian Skin brand offers lingerie, hosiery and shoes.

7. Beyoncé cast a model with muscular dystrophy in an Ivy Park ad.

Of course Queen Bey is all about inclusion!

The ad featured Jillian Mercado, a model born with muscular dystrophy, who has also modeled for Diesel jeans and is now signed to IMG Models.

8. Deodorant brand, Secret, addressed trans women's struggle using public restrooms.

The model in the ad, Karis Wilde, told the Huffington Post,

People who don't fit into traditional molds have a hard enough time feeling comfortable in their own skin, but what disappoints me is how hard we have to work to make OTHER people comfortable with us, that just shouldn't be the case. Empathy is the best medicine for ignorance and intolerance and I'm proud of this spot because it personalizes our struggle by putting a human face on these challenges. I hope it connects with people and brings awareness and compassion.

Inclusion takes place when companies don't just support diversity in theory.

Companies, take notes. If you've got a table full of all white people or all men, you simply aren't meeting the mark.

Hire more people of color, women, individuals with impairments or health conditions and LGBTQ+ people.

And since mere inclusion isn't enough, put them not just in your offices, but in leadership positions that allow them to sit at the table when decision-making is being made.

Diversity isn't hard. You just have to, you know, put in the effort.