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GSK's Jerry Daykin on the plan to accelerate LGBTQ+ representation in ads

GSK's Jerry Daykin is determined to see more diverse representation in advertising. That's why in partnership with the Outvertising Awards, he's launching the 'Accelerator' open competition to inspire a new LGBTQ+ inclusive campaign for the Centrum brand. Here, he explains why inclusive representation in ads needs to start with brands calling for it.

I’ve been involved in countless conversations over the past couple of years around the importance of diverse representation in our advertising, and the positive impact it can have not only on our brands but also on the consumers we serve. One of the common themes that has surprised me when speaking to creative teams is the frustration many feel in often not being able to realise this opportunity: that the briefs they receive don’t call for it, or all too often have stereotypes and assumptions built in; that even more progressive clients can struggle to get mould-breaking ideas through the layers of their organisation; that there’s never a chance to hear feedback directly from the communities you’re trying to champion and represent.

I know as a gay man it’s still relatively rare to see an authentic representation of myself in the media and advertising. Of course, I don’t expect to see myself everywhere in media, but it’s certainly nice to occasionally see myself somewhere. For those members of the queer community who aren’t white, cis male and middle class like me, the chance to see themselves represented is even rarer.

One of the key lessons that has come out of my work with the WFA Diversity Taskforce is an understanding that great inclusive creative doesn’t just come at the end of the process, and that it can be very forced to try and drop it in at the last moment of production. Truly representative work means tackling our biases right through the creative journey, from the insights we draw on, through the brief we write, the teams we engage with, and ultimately even into the media choices we make to amplify it.

So with this said, I’m writing today to launch an open competition to inspire a new LGBTQ+ inclusive campaign for our Centrum brand. In partnership with the Outvertising Awards we’re doing so not just because we want to see more representative work in the wild, but also because we want to learn together what makes great inclusive advertising. Whether you’re a secretly creative individual who’s never pitched an idea in your life or part of a team already leading in this space, we’d love you to take part.

Our Centrum brand believes that feeling good starts inside, and its purpose is to build every body from the inside out. The Outvertising Accelerator challenge is to use positive representation of, and insights from, LGBTQ+ consumers to bring that to life in a simple advertising idea to run primarily on Facebook & Instagram.

We hope that receiving feedback, recognition and sparking discussion across our entire industry is a reward in itself, but we’re also offering the winner a £1,000 prize. If they come from an agency team with capabilities there’s also a potential £20k production budget, but if not we’ll use that with our in-house creative studio to bring the idea to life. There’ll also be the opportunity to see your campaign run in Q1 2022 and with additional support from Facebook and Brand Advance it will reach a broad mass audience as well as appearing within specific LGBTQ+ titles.

The winning campaign will run at the start of 2022 and new year is always a great opportunity to think about your body, your health and how to improve on it. With a focus on social channels, we’re looking for a simple idea, or series of ideas, that can grab attention immediately. Think more of a digital out of home execution, or a simple print advert we might add some animation too, rather than trying to write a longer script.

We hope that our insights are inclusive, our brief is inclusive and that we’ll attract a range of diverse perspectives by being open and transparent throughout the process. Members of the Outvertising community will create a shortlist of their favourite entries, and the lessons learnt will be publicly discussed at their awards event on the 4 November. The GSK Centrum team will ultimately pick the overall winner to take forward and bring to life in the new year.

The Outvertising Accelerator Award is an attempt to give everyone in our industry a chance to stretch their inclusive creative muscles, and to lead to a really open conversation with judges and members of the LGBTQ+ community on what approaches really hit the mark and why. The competition is open for the next three weeks and, like their collaboration with One Minute Briefs, an entry can be as simple as a hurriedly scribbled down mock-up or at most a two-slide presentation with the slightest bit more strategy and explanation

So what are you waiting for? If you’d like to dream up an idea and help us build creative muscle memory as a marketing community then head over to the Outvertising Awards site now.

Jerry Daykin is a senior media director at GSK Consumer Healthcare, as well as co-lead of the WFA Diversity Task Force and a voluntary director at Outvertising

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