Marketing & the Marginalized Creativity

Dice’s student-created advertising campaign aims to tackle diversity apathy in events


By Ellen Ormesher | Reporter

June 9, 2022 | 4 min read

Industry group Diversity and Inclusion at Conferences and Events (Dice) has launched an out-of-home (OOH) advertising campaign to challenge the lack of diversity in events.

The work is the brainchild of creative duo Katherine O’Connor and Alicia Hessey, students from the University of Lincoln, who responded to a brief from the Dice team as part of their second-year project.

The ‘Your Event Is Broken Without Diversity’ campaign will run in partnership with Isolated Talks (an initiative from creative agency Gasp) across national digital billboards donated by Clear Channel.

Dice OOH

The ‘Your Event Is Broken Without Diversity’ campaign will run across billboards donated by Clear Channel / Image via Dice

The creative itself hinges on the visual of a broken screen on each digital billboard, reflecting the idea that any event that only amplifies the voices of certain groups – such as white, middle-class men – is essentially silencing every other voice. The lack of representation reflects a broken system, propped up by corporate gaslighting that prefers to discuss change rather than enact it.

Dice ooH

O’Connor and Hessey say that what inspired their idea “was the fact that the Dice team say they don’t want it to exist, but it needs to.”

“Your event being diverse shouldn’t be a choice. Not just about who’s on your panel but the content of the event too. If your event isn’t inclusive it is inadequate. It’s broken.”

Amy Kean is one of the co-founders of Dice. She says that male-dominated panels or panels that only feature white speakers (aka ‘manels’ and ‘wanels’) are “morally incorrect.”

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“This is why we launched Dice; to guide people through the curation of an inclusive event. A conference without diversity in its line-up is boring, backward and inevitably biased, and that’s not up for debate. It’s a fact.”

She adds: “Our hope with this campaign is that it will remind event organisers that talking about change is no substitute to making or being the change. We have proof that the Dice charter is a brilliant catalyst for this progress.”

The campaign also forms part of a range of activities planned by Dice to drive greater diversity in the events sector. No event that has more than 50% men or more than 70% white people on its line-up will ever be certified by Dice.

The group believe now is the time to move from awareness to action, and in line with this an illuminating piece of government-funded research is currently under way with the University of Surrey. The four-month project aims to reveal the scale of the event’s inequality issue, as well as use AI technology to understand the bias in terminology used across marketing materials.

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