Welcome to Ufront Media Insights;
Today we would like to welcome our latest contributor Mr. Lateef A. Sarnor the CEO/Founder of Kollidescope Networks. So enjoy his insights about the Super Bowl commercials.
Wow! What a game! This year the Super Bowl was actually better than the commercials. Speaking of…is it me or are the commercials getting more and more predictable? Budweiser tugging at your heart with clydesdales and puppies (what does that have to do with beer?), Doritos being it’s usual edgy self (I hope he used Purel after clipping those toenails!), and a million indecipherable car commercials (shouldn’t the Fiat blue pill have been in the Pierce Brosnan Kia commercial?). But I digress.
One commercial did stand out, not because it was all that good (it wasn’t bad) but because its message resonated with me. It was an ad by Nationwide Insurance. No, not the depressing one about protecting our kids from accidents, it was the other one which featured Mindy Kaling walking around seemingly invisible. Living her life blissfully until she attempts to smell Matt Damon–and she realizes she isn’t invisible, she was just being ignored.
This ad to me is representative of how people of color have been treated by Hollywood. Largely ignored and underrepresented. Nationwide didn’t intend for their ad to be a commentary on the social landscape and lack of diversity, they wanted to sell insurance (actually they wanted to start a conversation.What? Fire the entire marketing dept and the agency, stat!). Not sure if they achieved the latter (how many even remember the ad let alone who the advertiser was?)
But for me it was a reminder of what we at KollideTV have been championing all along. People of color, in our truly flawed, beautiful, complicated and fascinating selves, seem mostly invisible to Hollywood. Our stories, our lives are largely underrepresented on screen. Sure we can play drug dealers turned hip-hop moguls, or mistresses to the most powerful man in the world, and occasionally even the most powerful man (or woman) in the world (we see you Alfre!). But when it comes to telling the non stereotypical, the unconventional, the normal, the diverse, there’s seemingly no appetite for that. Is it that no one wants to see it? Or is that just what Hollywood needs us to believe?
That’s not what we are seeing and hearing. People of color want to see their lives reflected in all the ways that it exists, good, bad and indifferent. We did a survey a few months back, albeit a small sample size, still, 90% of the respondents agreed with the statement that “people of diverse backgrounds are underrepresented” on TV.
So, we are starting a conversation (wait, don’t fire the Nationwide Marketing department just yet, conversations ARE good) about the things you want to see on “TV”. It’s simple, using #WeSeeYou, tell us the things that you want to see in a new TV Network. Email us, Tweet us or post on Facebook and Instagram the types of shows, characters and storylines that you have been longing to see. Hollywood may not think diversity is important, but KollideTV does and we want to reflect that in our programming and everything we do.
This is the first part of a necessary dialogue and call to action. Over the next several weeks we will engage the broader community in ways we can do more. But for now, join the conversation, make your voice heard and be seen. With your support we can stop being like Invisible Mindy and be seen for who we really are.
Lateef Sarnor is CEO/Founder of KollideTV (www.kollidetv.com) an emerging online tv network offering a collection of the best culturally diverse video content available online. He speaks regularly on diversity (or the lack of) in the media.