Why creativity must be a force for good, not division says Grant Hunter, global executive creative director at Iris

Why creativity must be a force for good, not division says Grant Hunter, global executive creative director at Iris

Love vs hate

As we start to emerge from the Brexit deadlock, it’s time to unite and look forward.

It’s time to celebrate our differences rather than stoke the fires of division.

When the leaders of the world descend in to juvenile tactics, what message does it send to the next generation? 

Just check out Donald Trump’s Twitter feed - the embodiment of division and hate. 

As far as I’m concerned, it’s never been cool to hate.

When you look at the government’s hate crime figures they make pretty grim reading.

One interpretation could be that the police are now recording incidents more accurately and people are more willing to report. 

But that line of thinking masks the fact that the real figures have risen. 

The number of reported attacks has more than doubled since 2013. 

Invest in insight

With the Starbucks UK campaign, we spotted an opportunity to open up a conversation about the authentic depiction of the LGBT+ community in advertising. 

‘What’s Your Name?’ tells the story of a trans guy called James and shines a light on the experience of being dead named. It has resonated with the trans community around the globe because it’s based on true insight.

Trans people have used Starbucks stores to try out their chosen name.

We could only have arrived at this work by understanding the real-life experiences of the community. 

Our partnership with the charity Mermaids helped inform and shape the creative output. 

We hope the work opens up the conversation around identity and ultimately fosters greater understanding across the UK and beyond.

Celebrate difference

A closer look at the figures shows that it’s not just race and religious motivated attacks that are up. 

Crimes against the LGBT+ community and specifically transgender identity hate crime increased by 37% last year. 

There are many reasons for this, but it is clear that we are living in a time of increasing intolerance. 

The divisive political arena certainly hasn’t helped and the toxicity prevalent on social platforms fans the flames of hate.

As a nation, we need to pull together and celebrate the richness of humanity. 

We need to open up so we can appreciate and empathise with experiences that differ to our own. 

Call to arms

As an industry, we need to make sure that we foster and nurture different points of view. 

We need new blood in our agencies with different life experiences that reflect the diversity of the UK and ultimately make our creativity richer, more relevant and much more interesting. 

If we fill our agencies with people who are clones of what’s gone before, then our output will continue to be homogenised. 

There are far too many echo chambers in our world today. 

They should have no place in our creative departments which are the engine rooms of our industry’s creativity.

We, as an industry, have a responsibility to reflect the experiences of people in the UK and to get under the skin of topics that may have been considered taboo in the past. 

We need to understand before casting judgment. 

We need to do that with authenticity at its heart. 

We need to understand that traditional education pathways don’t always generate the best talent. 

With greater understanding comes greater creativity. 

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