Google APC creative director Tara Mckenty was the Loeries 2019 Digital Communication Jury President.
Her work at Google has included creating real-time marketing platforms that reunite lost dogs with their owners for Pedigree, building immersive story time platforms for Disney; creating LIVE AR space experiences in living rooms for the ABC; designing KUPU, an app that helps language thrive using Google’s Cloud Vision API for Spark; and co-founding the diversity initiative RARE supported by D&AD.
Mckenty spoke at the Loeries on the topic of diversity and inclusion in advertising, which also focused on advertising for social good, how to drive diversity and inclusion and why it’s more important than ever.
The Media Online spoke to her after her address to find out more.
Q: Why is incorporating diversity and inclusion in advertising more important than ever?
A: According to global market and opinion research specialists, Ipsos (2018), 72% of people feel most advertising does not reflect the world around them; 63% claim they don’t see themselves represented in most advertising; and 60% say they don’t see their community of friends, family, and acquaintances represented accurately in advertising.
Audiences will relate better to communication when they can see themselves and their community authentically represented. So it’s just good advertising to ensure you’re reaching your audience in a way they can relate to most effectively otherwise, as a brand, you risk becoming redundant and losing profit share to the brands that are doing it.
Q: How would you define diversity and inclusion in advertising? And what do advertisers need to keep in mind?
A: Diversity and inclusion in advertising is simple, it is just making sure we are representing the cross-section of society that makes up our audiences in our ads.
For example: is there diversity in my casting and is that talent then authentically portrayed?
In order to create authentic advertising, we as advertisers also need to ensure our creative departments are diverse and our organisational cultures are inclusive so that we can have diversity in perspectives from different demographics and backgrounds enabling us to create authentic and relevant communication.
Q: What are the top three trends you are seeing in digital advertising?
A: I have noticed that brands are moving away from building bespoke applications, and are moving to where their consumers are already, through integrating service utility and experiences into existing social apps.
The second is that more brands are connecting the physical world to the digital world, which makes for delightful brand experiences and experiential work that larger audiences can participate in.
And lastly, there seems to be a trend in brands using digital to co-create their brand narratives with their audiences, from voting on a preferred ending of an advertisement to crowd sourcing full pick-a-path content series.
Q: Advertising for social good, what is it all about and why is it important?
A: I am a firm believer that as a brand you can use your platform to do good and also meet your business objectives, as brands it is our responsibility to become role models and use our voice for good because of the immoderate influence we have on the world, if we do nothing it sends a message that it is ok to do nothing.
Q: What are some of the campaigns, which you have worked on, that you can mention that demonstrate advertising for social good?
A: Social good has been a common theme in a lot of my work.
In 2017 I launched a children’s book and app called Penny the Pirate for eye-care client OPSM, that can test the vision of a child through the simple act of reading them a story.
Another piece is Project Respect, a Google platform that is trying to make the Internet more inclusive by creating an open-source database to unbiased machine learning models.
And recently, I worked with New Zealand’s largest telco, Spark, to create a web app that uses Google’s Cloud Vision API to identify an image in English, then translating it into Te Reo Maori (New Zealand’s indigenous language). We created this as a tool to help teach and preserve New Zealand’s indigenous language.
Q: What were you looking for in the work being judged at the Loeries? Some of the characteristics/standout features that you believe make it effective and successful?
A: I believe in the power of a simple idea. Simple ideas executed well are what the panel rewarded and came up trumps, not the size of the production budget, or the millions of media impressions. And this was reflected in the golds we distributed.
One example of our golds was ‘Shave to Remember’ by Phillips, a simple powerful idea to remember someone’s legacy through their haircut – executed with great craft, simple!
As a creative working at Google, I am often invited to judge digital and innovation awards for the industry. For me, the pure definition of innovation is to improve something or to make something better. The work that I have seen this week at the Loeries WILL improve and make our GLOBAL industry better.
Follow Michael Bratt on Twitter @MichaelBratt8
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