Who gets to be seen in advertising?
This was precisely the question raised recently by The Swedish Association of Communication Agencies and ad agency Volontaire in a highly embraced campaign in Sweden. We spoke to Joakim Runeson, one of the people in the project, to find out more. Why is diversity important, and what can companies gain from highlighting diversity in their communication?
Hi Joakim! You are a planner at the Volontaire ad agency, but also one of the people that worked on the campaign. Please tell us about the background!
"The project was based on one question really - how can our industry continue to evolve? It began with how we as an industry can earn greater trust. We have the power and we are responsible for the message, images and text that we provide to the public at large. It is a responsibility that we must take. Our way of dealing with this issue was to start a conversation and stimulate discussions about representation and norms."
The campaign attracted much attention from the Swedish media. Tell us about it!

"The campaign's main section was a photo exhibition in Stockholm, where we questioned what was considered 'normal'. On billboards, we highlighted various standards that we see in daily communication, together with other pictures that do not represent the norm."

"We also studies 700 ads to see what the representation looks like and to substantiate the background of the campaign. Although the survey was completely unscientific it clearly showed that those people who are allowed to be seen are not the recipients. Some groups are more visible than others. If you are a slim white woman between ages 25 and 39 you will be seen quite frequently."
How do you define diversity?
"We invited the public to participate in the exhibition. It made a huge impact. One of those who participated said that 'Stupidity is that which is obvious. Diversity is a treasure, to be much more than the expected.' I think that was an amazingly good definition!"

In connection with the campaign, criticism was aimed at the advertising industry for not having developed more towards diversity, and for not having managed to influence customers enough in the right direction. How do you feel about that?
"It is difficult to initiate change. And even if the advertising industry is at the forefront of utilizing new technologies and new business models, it is also an industry with traditional values. With this campaign, we show that the advertising industry also wants to change, and that it is time to put focus on this issue. If, at the next client meeting, we manage to get someone to think differently about image selection, how people are addressed and who gets to be seen, well then, the campaign was successful."

What can a company gain by thinking about diversity in its communication?
"Wow, companies have everything to gain! Basically it gives the company the chance to show what values ​​it stands for, what it is that drives the company and what it wants to represent."

"It is also a way to actively be a part of change. It shows that the company is modern, that it strives for change, and that it wants to be involved and have influence. The world is changing and we need to follow suit."

Finally, can you provide some tips for those who want to become better at communicating when it comes to diversity? Where does one start?

"There is a very short checklist that is easy to follow. Ask yourself the simple question: Who gets to be seen in our communication? And think about whether you are happy with the response."
Great news about our price list
Now it is even easier to purchase images from us! We have simplified the price list and minimized the number of choices so calculating the cost is quicker when you shop online.

The big difference with the new price list is not pricing but regards our two license types, RF and RM, and the services they offer.

RM images are suitable for those who want to make sure that competitors are not currently using, or have used, the same picture in the past. These pictures are available with exclusivity.

RF is a good choice if you want to use an image in many different ways and in different media channels. There are also time-limited licenses available with lower pricing. It's a good choice for those who do not need an image for an extended period of time.

Please contact us if you want advice or tips on what might work best for you!
Welcome to an image agency where everyone gets to be seen
We believe that diversity is as important for you and your organization as it is for us. Therefore, we work hard to present images that depict people who reflect the true diversity of modern society. These efforts have been going on for quite a while, and we will issue new images on the website every week. So stay tuned!
Help us choose the summer images for our next screen saver
If you have followed us for a while, you know that we have a free screensaver with images that you can download and enjoy when your computer is idle.

We change the images in the screen saver seasonally and in July it is time for the next set of pictures. Now we want your help with choosing the pictures!

Visit us on Facebook and suggest a summer picture that you would like to see included. You can choose a picture from our collections or send your own image - as long as you own the copyright to the image, of course. We welcome your contribution!
Facebook - Leave your suggestions here
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