There are very few ad campaigns that force us to have an actual opinion. We love the many perspectives all the ad campaigns we see show us, even those that we are unfamiliar with. But the series of ads that Belgian company Equal PayDay is showing are lost on us.
Before you watch the videos below, AdWeek did a nice write-up on these ads. We would agree; these ads, though seemingly blatantly racist, are harmless at most. But if we all consider the goal the company is aiming for, we can agree that although the effort was there, the accuarcy was not.
Now, watch the videos. The first one is about black people, and the second is about white people.
Tongue-in-cheek, right? Absolutely.
But Equal PayDay is about raising the wages for women. Did it make you think that? Probably not.
What it raised to our attention — as a black male audience — is that other populations like women, blacks, and the overweight face workplace discrimination. These ads do not make us pick one group over the other. We have seen black people in our networks struggle just as much, if not more, than female or overweight counterparts to find the right and the most just employment.
Picking which demographic is the "poorest off" is a losing and unnecessary battle. Even in the advertising industry, more women are coming into the advertising ranks than those of color. Whether that is intentional or the nature of the beast, a fact is a fact.
From the ads, we appreciate the imagery, and the intentional ridiculousness. But unfortunately, that is as far as our appreciation goes. For a large campaign, Equal PayDay has more work it needs to do.
Perhaps we are missing something, and the whole campaign will come together once the organization releases everything. As we all know, our industry likes to be quick to denounce and slow to remove blame. It could be that each ad will be built upon.
But the current ads keep us guessing more than what the main decision-makers would like.
And so it goes.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.