Advertising is an industry of “big.” We’re always on the lookout out for big ideas with big impact. After all, our goal is to get the most attention for our brands. And we have the same mindset when it comes to our causes. We want to do huge campaigns to support marriage equality, wage equity and animal rights. Or whatever cause is in our hearts. Because those kinds of spots have a big message to carry. They reach a big audience. And they can affect change in a big way.
Big is important. We need it. We need even more of it. But there is a lot to be said for small, too.
Small like an Instagram post for a 30% off sale at Old Navy featuring an interracial couple. Which you probably only heard about because it caused a big controversy this May among people who still haven’t come to terms with the 1967 Supreme Court decision or the concepts of love and equality.
And I say that it is a small thing not because it’s unimportant. Rather, it’s small because it wasn’t meant to be a statement. It’s not part of a bigger campaign for equality. There’s no angle, no agenda. It was simply a casting decision. They didn’t cast an interracial family. They cast a family.
We need more of that. More “small” things like a Target catalog with a child in a wheelchair. Or a Swiffer commercial with an amputee. Or a Lowe’s commercial where a little girl is interested in tools and woodworking.
Big says, “This is a problem that needs to be fixed! It’s a cause you need to notice!” But small says, “This is normal. This is what life looks like.” And that difference is exactly why it’s so important to do the small things along with the big. To cast a woman as the boss. To show same-sex parents. To include other religious and cultural celebrations in our holiday commercials. To let little boys be ballerinas and little girls be action heroes. It’s time to stop seeing diversity as a box we have to check, but as a reflection of real life. It’s time to push our clients to start making choices out of conviction instead of fear.
So let’s keep doing the big things. But start doing the small things as well. You’ll be surprised what a big impact those small statements can actually make.