Three campaigns that celebrate diversity from River Island, McCain and O2

Three campaigns that celebrate diversity from River Island, McCain and O2

The Background

In my previous creative critique I talked about diversity in the context of mental health, so, having warmed to the theme, I’m now taking a look at three rather unusual ads that take diversity to a new level.

River Island

The first is River Island’s ‘labels are for clothes’ ad. What’s so special about it? Well sometimes us creatives strive so much for excellence, we intellectualise our ads, make them complex, tease the viewer and by doing so we turn inward a bit. 

This ad’s message and execution could not be simpler. It communicates ‘we make clothes for all sorts of people’. 

I watch transfixed by a joyous strut from a series of diverse people: different body shapes, abilities and ethnicities, to a piece of music that could not be more ‘of the moment’. 

The music, the styling and the art direction make the ad. The tone of the ad is irreverent and liberating: a curvaceous lady is wearing horizontal stripes, a girl with Down syndrome is having fun with her clothes. Intellectual? No. Complex? No. A neat, well-executed little number.


McCain’s potato chips’ ‘we are family’ ad tackles diversity in a social, more daring context. 

We see a range of people, couples, a mixture of rainbow stepfamilies, a maelstrom of humanity united by the humble chip. After all, who doesn’t like chips? Chips bring everyone together – or so the ad suggests.

I commend the brand for the daring combinations of ‘together’ it portrays. No brand would have associated itself with these scenarios even ten years ago. 

We only have to look at other big household names to spot the typical white, blonde, blue-eyed child fronting today’s ads, so this approach looks fresh by comparison. As for the chips, not sure they are my thing, but at least they are vegan, so they help the planet too.


The last of the trio, and my favourite, is the O2 custom plans ad – as individual as you are. I have to say, I love all the ads in the new O2 campaign. 

Deep down in my biased art director’s heart can’t help it. In a way the concept is not dissimilar from River Island’s or many others, as it’s about tailoring a service to very diverse needs. 

The only difference is the weirdness and almost David-Bowie-like artistry put into the execution of the people portraits. The music is a pleasing handful of notes repeated in alien-like monotony. 

A perfect little ad that I enjoy watching – even though I am not remotely interested in O2’s tariffs or plans in the first place. 

I’m with Kevin Bacon, me.

If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our weekly email alert and receive a regular curation of the best creative campaigns by creatives themselves.

Published on: