Are white male creative directors ruining advertising?

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The reason 89% of advertising is forgotten is because white men in London are the ones making the ads, according to Paul Mellor, owner and design director at Mellor&Smith.

It’s all well and good for business leaders like Cindy Gallop and Sir Martin Sorrell to be calling to change the ratio, but the latter promotes white males and symbolises everything that’s wrong with the industry.

“It's the reason why 89% of advertising is forgotten,” said Mellor. “I should come clean; I am a white male creative director and we are part of the problem. If you type ‘creative director’ into Google, there are hardly any women. White fellas in London are signing off advertising for the rest of the country when they don’t understand those people.”

Mellor made the bold statement along with referring to five more things that are giving the industry a bad name. They include the idea of ‘digital’ marketing, data, millennials, artificial intelligence and the London bubble.


“It was so cool it got banned by the government and made kids want to copy it.”


Expanding on the view that too much emphasis is being placed on data in today’s ad scene, Mellor said brands and agencies need to be bold and take more risks to be different and stand out.

“The best ads in the world, the ones we still talk about from 30 years ago were not based on data. If you think about the Tango ad that HHCL created with a big orange guy who smacked people in the face – I don’t think there were any data insights in that,” he added. “It was so cool it got banned by the government and made kids want to copy it.”

Mellor's talk was delivered at Creativepool’s annual festival and you can view it in full below. The design director is a regular public speaker on the subject of risk-taking, which his agency channels in all its communications.

Watch the full talk below and see more like this at Connect: London.




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