Since our SunRice campaign launched during Lunar New Year, we’ve had lots of interest from clients and prospects. They’re particularly interested about IDENTITY Communication’s view on multicultural talent in creative.

I always start with this story…

“Box Hill is a well-known Chinese suburb. There are all Chinese billboards on the street and 9 out 10 are Asian faces. You see more international (non-Chinese) people in Shanghai than here” Weibo post. 

It came up in branding work for a large retail client earlier this year. During the insight and discovery phase, this nugget unlocked a crucial insight that had us reassessing our recommendation. Surely, you’d expect Chinese in Australia to love being in an area that is predominantly Chinese, right?

Maybe not…

In higher education, particularly in courses which Chinese international students are the predominant group enrolled, these students are finding that too much of a good thing might not be good after all. Some are craving more diversity in their class and express an interest to mix outside of their group to get a more authentic experience of Australia and Australian education.

That’s lead us to this insight:

Being lumped in with people like you all the time is comforting at first, but before long, you want to explore and experience more of Australia. After all, isn’t that why migrants and international students come to a sunburnt country?

But how should we treat these audiences in multicultural creative? Is it to make sure everyone is represented, like below? 

But what if you miss one group? Awkward. And how do you avoid producing creatives that come across as tokenistic?

Take a look at NAB’s Life – More Than Money campaign above. A well told story that focuses on a universal truth. We all love and want success for our children, don’t we? So let’s tell that story from one perspective, in this case, it’s an Asian-Australian one.

The single-minded  focus makes this creative more powerful, more compelling. It’s one of my favourite ads of recent years.

Context is important, too. Instead of being a United Nations of representation, bringing it back to what’s authentic and real.

The Rice Breaker, our campaign for SunRice, depicted a uniquely migrant experience of inviting your neighbour to dinner for the first time.

It’s real, it doesn’t feel tonkenistic.

Migrants don’t live in their own bubble so we should find ways to represent that in creative.

How does that compare with multicultural creative you’ve seen lately? Where does it fit in the tokenistic/cliche to authentic scale? Think about the Chinese New Year creative you’ve seen lately… red and gold, 8’s, papercut pigs, smiling Chinese family in traditional costume, much?

Oh, and make sure this more inclusive approach is reflected in your media investment. Your media plan should use all relevant touch points; a ‘mainstream’ channel like Out of Home might be just perfect to extend your campaign reach.

I’m glad IDENTITY’s work has inspired and stirred interest. Really looking forward to seeing great creative that genuinely reflects modern Australia.

Seen any other great work lately? Share it with us in the comments.