AMV BBDO London created a campaign for the Advertising Standards Authority hyping the organization’s commitment to regulation that ensures legal, decent, honest and truthful advertising—which actually sounds like a long-winded oxymoron. The adverts include print and television. Why the ASA and AMV BBDO believed multimedia messages were necessary is a mystery. It sure looks like a narcissistic waste of money for the ASA, and a self-centered opportunity to nab awards for AMV BBDO—although the ads are so hackneyed and mediocre, winning any trophies is highly improbable.
The scenario begs a bigger question: Who is policing the law-abidingness, decency, honesty and truthfulness of the adpeople behind the work?
First, the Whiteness of the characters in the ASA campaign clearly mirrors the exclusivity of the creators. Plus, it confirms reports, opinions and studies on the cultural cluelessness of UK advertisers and White advertising agencies. In short, the adverts do not reflect the true diversity of the UK audience—and the ASA is essentially perpetuating a major problem the regulators should be addressing.
Second, the Whiteness of UK advertising agencies cannot be separated from the illegality, indecency, dishonesty and untruthfulness of advertising scrutinized by the ASA. After all, the dearth of diversity is really the demonstration of discrimination. Don’t be fooled by progress with the White women’s movement, as it is a smokescreen to avoid the greater professional obligations.
What’s the point of praising the purity of advertising coming from sources devoid of integrity, ethics and moral character? It’s time to regulate the hiring practices at White advertising agencies in the UK.