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Make Diversity Your Mission in 2021



NERD Productions founder, Milana Karaica on the importance of diversity going forward

Make Diversity Your Mission in 2021

‘Britannia’ Corinne Ladeinde

2020 unexpectedly and rather abruptly brought world, attitude and belief changing events into many people’s lives. We have seen many new trends emerge in the industry press and opinion pieces with growingly popular topics flooded our screens. We embraced the ‘new normal’ way of working and everyone had a strong sentiment on how this will reshape the way we work FOREVER. Following was the endless talk about agencies and brands opening their minds to crafting in animation so the animation studios bragged about being ‘the busiest we have ever been’. Due to some extremely hatred filled events, we were forced to finally step up and make diversity a point of heated discussion and a decisive action too! With the success and power of the people, the Black Lives Matter movement helped those from under-represented backgrounds to finally have a voice that must be heard. Leading to the biggest racially charged event of 2020 - we pushed Trump out of the White House and welcomed the very first female VP of ethnic heritage in the history of the US.

My deep worry is that the battle we won for diversity last year will be just that – a battle we won in a moment of time and things will slowly creep back to where we were a few years back, where the leading majority feels most comfortable. Why!? How!? You may ask.

‘Taurus’ Helena Elias

I have grown up in adland… having worked my way up from a runner to now a founder of a creative-led studio, it’s something that always needed to change. ‘Encouraged’ by every government party and sometimes even incentivised before every election and then forgotten the moment the ballots were safely counted! Over the past decades, diversity had really been seen as a mere compliance requirement. With diversity and inclusion efforts being made through what it seemed to be a paper-pushing exercise whilst flying over companies' culture without leaving an actual impact. More often than not, we felt that we were relentlessly nurturing underrepresented talent left behind and overlooked by the creative industries. However, every year we would hear from industry leaders pledging to create and maintain an inclusive environment, nonetheless not seeing significant changes as the years passed.

This time around, I do feel that something is different. In 2020, as a studio, we observed a more conscious realisation of the lack of diversity from our peers. After some uncomfortable conversations, brands and agencies took steps forward by 'committing to' and 'making the best effort' to keep up with diversity and inclusion towards marginalised groups, especially those of colour.

And while at NERD Productions, we have been empowering marginalised voices in their own rights since its foundation, 2020 has shown a true trend in agencies, clients and partners alike all coming to us to embrace diversity in our talent and craft.

Charlie Banana – ‘A Little Softness’ Hayley Morris

Our latest partnership with Curiosity for Charlie Banana shows exactly that. The brand had approached their brief with multiple meaningful dimensions: connecting with mums and their newborn babies to talk about contemporary environmental values while portraying a mixed-race family.

To do so, the agency and brand together ensured that the production company and talent working on this project met all their requirements to carry out this campaign successfully and authentically. It is not to say that only marginalised voices can empathise and tell marginalised stories. Still, diversifying skills and experiences will bring more accurate, better stories that people can connect with emotionally and not just intellectually, at every step of the way. The authenticity of storytelling comes from the first-hand experience with diversity and its impact on someone’s life.

‘Girlfriends’ Lana Dudarenko

At NERD Productions, we are driven by our mission to create work that empowers, inspires and promotes equality and tolerance. In 2021, companies must continue to tell stories through different eyes in authentic and meaningful ways by looking inside the culture they are trying to empower and elevate, without being only theoretical about it, sounding tone-deaf and just doing it because they want to be ‘relevant’ and a part of the ‘hot trend’. 

Just because we have a new leader of the Free World that is pro-diversity it does not mean that we can now stop and do nothing!

Faces of Change ‘Nobuzwe Mavis Mbaba’ Kyla Philander

As we roll into a new year, we hope to see more companies genuinely embracing diversity as part of their business model and encourage positive representation in the creative industries wherever this might be. Diversity doesn’t mean that the old demographic is left out and another one will be the only focus, inclusion means that – all of us are included! Even if it’s not convenient or easy, from the runner on set to the decision-making head, we should all take a step back and understand the positive impact diversity has on our audience around the whole world and how together we can empower everyone!

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Categories: Diversity and Inclusion, Corporate, Social and PSAs

NERD Productions, Thu, 11 Feb 2021 13:34:25 GMT