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Adland celebrates the power of positive representation with virtual Outvertising Awards show

Jerry Daykin, Outvertising board member and GSK EMEA media director, talks to New Digital Age about the power of positivity and the need to celebrate advertising’s diversity and representation efforts, particularly in a year dominated by bad news and divisiveness.

Outvertising, the not-for-profit group group championing LGBTQ+ diversity and representation in advertising, aims to highlight positivity in its first virtual awards ceremony.

Board member Jerry Daykin calls the event a “galvanizing moment” for the industry – a celebration of the work that has been done both internally and externally and a rallying call for everyone to become more involved in diversity and equality without “fear of getting it wrong”.

Daykin, GSK’s EMEA media director, says: “We see this as a really good way of having an evening of celebration and conversations. There are a lot of advertisers who want to do the right thing in this space, but are ultimately a bit nervous of getting it wrong.”

Personal perspectives, discussions and creative inspiration

The two-hour event, supported by Facebook, will also feature discussions, personal perspectives and entertainment when it streams from 5pm on Thursday, September 17. A panel discussion will feature the awards judges as well as commentary with influencer Tanya Compas and a showcase of One Minute Briefs from creatives responding to two briefs set by Outvertising to the creative community.  

It was originally planned as a more traditional, physical event earlier in the year before lockdown measures were introduced, but the team decided to change direction following the pandemic. Judges have proactively sought out activity they believe is most deserving, even if not formally submitted.

Daykin says that, with the “immense pressure” Covid-19 has put on the industry it was even more important to host a celebratory event that challenges, champions and educates around inclusive advertising – in all its forms.

He cites Black Lives Matter protests and ongoing debate around transgender issues as other major touchpoints this year, though he despairs at some of the adversarial and divisive nature of some of the debate.

Celebrate: the world is “not all bad”

Instead, Outvertising prides itself on collaboration and inclusivity:

“This will be an evening of good stuff and positivity. We need a healthy dose of restoration that the world really is a good place – that it’s not all bad,” said Daykin.

The volunteer group also mentors LGBTQ+ people in the workplace and helps educate employers on internal and external policies. Daykin says that he has seen real progress over the past 10 years in terms of brand support and representation of events including “Pride”, though he urges companies to have an “always on” approach to positive representation and not just the tent pole occasions.

“We should continuously always be levelling against unconscious bias,” he says. “It is not just a case of putting a rainbow on it once a year. That can feel a bit like a brand is just jumping on a bandwagon, but I personally think it is great that brands are supporting the community for at least some of the year.

“However, it goes best if you’re willing to support diversity and equality all of the year. It is our jobs as marketers to reflect the consumers we talk to. If we’re just boiling it down to middle class white housewives, well, frankly, that’s not what many people’s lives actually look like these days.”

He believes that one stumbling block to greater and more varied representation as employers and brands both is a fear of failure.

You won’t always be perfect – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try

“There are a lot of examples where people have tried to do something or say something that they feel they get burned. But actually, when you speak to most members of these communities they love it when brands try, even if they don’t get it perfect.

“In this modern, slightly politically correct world we can get a bit nervous about what we do and what we can say, but you can’t wait until everything is 100% perfect to try. It’s a journey – how do we help people take the first step?”

Registration for The Outvertising Awards 2020 is now open at with a highlights package post-event for those unable to attend.

2020 Awards Judges include Chris Bradley (Founder at United Studio), Natasha Beecher (Creative Director at Ogilvy Healthworld), Rachel Reese (CEO at Global Butterflies), Pete Markey (CMO at TSB), Stephanie Matthews (Partnerships Director at Creative Equals), Stephen Woodford (CEO at the Advertising Association), Jason Armstrong (Head of Talent at Cult LDN+NYC), Guy Black (Deputy Chairman at The Telegraph Group), Emma Harris (Senior Creative at Tribal DDB) and Edward Green (MD at Burson Cohn & Wolfe).