This Ad is a Love Letter to the Age of Inclusion
I often say that we are living in the age of inclusion. It may not feel like it sometimes, but we are. The combination of the rise of technology, the awareness of the importance of inclusion, the stakes being so high, and the general growing impact of people — all of these things have combined to foster an age where inclusion is all around us in a fashion more profound and more meaningful than ever before.
Energy BBDO, an awesome advertising agency here in Chicago, just dropped a really interesting new commercial in conjunction with their client Pearle Vision. (Full disclosure: my wife is the account lead on this account for Pearle Vision, so this is her work, but hey, in the Alexander family, we do our own PR). The commercial is a remarkable testament to the aforementioned premise — that we are living in an environment of unprecedented inclusion; we need to notice it and celebrate it and continue it and grow it.
The ad deals with a young girl named Olivia who is full of dreams she can’t really see. She needs glasses. In the spot, she gets her specs, and in the process, gets a big push toward her dreams.
Sentiment aside, here’s why this commercial is so powerful from the perspective of the age of inclusion.
The ad is a women’s empowerment ad and an effective advertisement at the same time. Is this a commercial about getting glasses, or realizing your dreams. Is this a commercial about a company that helps you with your vision needs, or a reminder to every little girl (and mother and father and little boy) that anyone can be anything that they want? That firms are using their resources and their precious opportunities to have our attention to convey these dual messages is really remarkable.
The ad was created by a women-led team at BBDO and features almost exclusively women. Conceived, created, pitched, sold, developed, shot, executed — all women leadership on the team. In an industry that has had its fair share of troubles at a time when we are acutely aware of the prevalence of men in decision-making positions, this is notable.
The director of the ad, also a woman, was secured through Free the Bid. Elle Ginter is the director, and she’s great, obviously. Free the Bid, for those who don’t know, is a program that is designed to make sure that women directors get a fair consideration in the advertising industry. So what you have is a team of women advertising executives who pushed for and secured a female-empowerment spot and then worked with other industry organizations to ensure that women directors were given fair consideration, and then they found an awesome woman director and made a great commercial. This is a powerful statement about the importance of diversity among your team and the wide-ranging impact it will have on your business.
The family in the advertisement is an interracial family. And you barely even notice, if you do at all. Remember five years ago when Cheerios featured an interracial family in an ad and half the world lost its fucking mind? We are making progress, here, tiny step by tiny step, to a world where people can be who they are, with whomever they want, and its nobody’s business but theirs. And that’s something we should all be excited about.
The advertisement will serve its intended purpose — it will sell glasses. This is the most important point of all of them. This public act of inclusion is actually good business. This ad will work for Pearle Vision’s intended purpose — to sell glasses. Energy BBDO in general (and particularly with their work on Pearle) have a long history of impact advertising that drives sales — this is articulated in a bit more detail in this piece by Lewis Lazare. This is a great sign for the broader economic world — if people can do good and make money, why would you do anything else?
And that’s really the fundamental question. If this is possible — and these folks and many others like them are proving that it is — then why would you do anything else?
We are living in the age of inclusion, folks, and it’s just beginning.