By Petra Andersson
What kind of work do you want to do?
I was asked this question earlier in the week when I visited Marc’s office to receive feedback on the work my partner and me delivered for our chocolate brief. And to my own surprise, I didn’t have an answer. I, the one who always have at least one objective in mind, was speechless. It completely caught me off guard, and I have been thinking about it a lot during the week.
It’s always difficult to feel lost, even though I suspect its part of the process. Especially when you find yourself in such a fast-paced environment, filled with different thoughts, values, and experiences. Bouncing ideas with different mentors where all of them have their very own opinion. Whenever I have the time to pause for a bit and take a step back I marvel at the fact that I’ve only been in SCA for two months. Time seems to move so fast and yet so slow at the same time. I feel like I’m shedding my skin every week and stepping out of each as a slightly different version of me.
But even though it’s normal to feel lost at times, it’s still not a pleasant feeling. And that question kept floating around in my head.
This Friday we went to Havas, which was amazing, for our Friday reflections. While we were there Marc held a presentation about SCA and what the school stands for. And that talk re-lit my spark again. Because while Marc was talking about changing people’s lives and the world for the better, it reminded me of why I decided to start in advertising in the first place.
To begin with, I have always loved to write and use my imagination. But if you’ve ever read one of my SCABs, you probably know that I’m also a big supporter of feminism. Liberté, egalité et sœrternité (in my case). Marc probably knows this better than anyone because I’ve sent him at least three emails on the matter. I went into advertising because I want to make communication that feeds equality, diversity, and understanding instead of growing oppression, prejudice or hate.
I know this can make people in the industry to feel uneasy, at least in a Swedish context. Does this mean that I’ll always put my own agenda first, before the idea and the brand personality? Will every brief ever passed on to me end up with different minorities holding hands and singing we shall overcome? No, I don’t think diversity has to be the main focal point of the idea to be inclusive. But I think it’s our responsibility as an industry to improve society and people’s lives.
However, pretty words are not enough. To change the world we can’t just keep talking about equality, we have to actually do equality. We need to keep questioning sexist advertising and north stars. We need to keep fighting for diversity and to stand up for what’s right. We need to keep listening to voices with different lived experiences than our own. Actions speak louder than words, an in order to form a school, industry, and society where everyone feels welcome we need to always decode our messages and their underlying values before we send them out to the world.
Thank you, Marc, for reminding me of why I entered this industry in the first place. It probably means that I will keep spamming your inbox with questioning emails. But who
knows? About this time next year, you might miss having someone who reminds you to challenge your views.
If you have any interest at all in diversity, then please read this insightful SCAB by Alysha.