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Pressing Fast Forward on Inclusive Advertising: Mark Runacus and Natasher Beecher on LGBTQ+ Representation

Associations, Award Shows and Festivals
London, UK
Mark and Natasher share their key thoughts from NABS’ renowned Fast Forward training course

As part of NABS’ renowned Fast Forward training course, running throughout the autumn, delegates were invited to a special session on 8 September investigating better representation and diversity in advertising.

Mark Runacus, joint co-director of Outvertising, and Natasher Beecher, executive board director, inclusion and belonging, Outvertising, led the inspirational session.

Delegates heard about a history of queer advertising and what we can learn from those pioneering brands and agencies to help us create more intersectionally inclusive work.

Here, Mark and Natasher share their key thoughts from the session.

Why have you taken part in NABS Fast Forward and what do you hope delegated will get out of today’s session, and the course?

It was a privilege to have the opportunity to encourage participants to think inclusively – particularly from an LGBTQ+ point of view - as they tackle this year’s live brief. Research has proved consistently that more inclusive work is more engaging and more effective. We encouraged delegates to move out of their comfort zones, and to use that feeling of discomfort to do things inclusively and differently.

At the heart of belonging and inclusion is culture, and building a culture that thrives on difference is where you find the gold. All of us in this industry are responsible for creating a culture that thrives on this difference.

What is your favourite queer-inclusive / representative advert / brand ever?

Mark> My favourite of recent times is Starbucks’ Every name’s a story TV ad.  I cried the first time I saw it.  Its undeniable power stems from a simple real-world insight.

Natasher> My fave recent queer-inclusive ad is the Etsy ad Welcome to the Family.

What impact does inclusive advertising have on under-represented communities / wider society?

When you’ve grown up feeling always excluded, seeing yourself on screen and accepted is incredibly powerful. The long term brand and commercial benefits are obvious. One of Outvertising’s main aims is to harness the power of inclusive advertising to drive acceptance and erase prejudice from wider society.

Ads that are inclusive of queer experiences are reaching more people. One great thing that advertising and brands can do is to make people feel that they truly belong, we can change the world in a really small way.

What else do brands need to know about the benefits of representation?

A recent McKinsey report showed that companies who focussed on ethnic and  cultural diversity saw 36% more profitability than those who didn’t. So as well as helping create belonging, inclusive advertising also makes brands more money.

To find out more about Fast Forward, visit the NABS website. Find out more about Outvertising, the not-for-profit LGBTQ+ advocate group for the advertising and media industry, here.