What Is True Diversity in Arts Advertising and Marketing?

If we’re serious about bringing new people to the theatre, then those of us who make the advertising can’t just talk to ourselves. We have to broaden our perspectives beyond what’s already familiar, or we’ll never reach anyone who doesn’t experience the theatre the way that we do. This means that an advertising team has to be just as diverse as the people we want in the seats.

Jamaal Parham, AKA’s Content Director, shared this belief with the crowd as he participated in a BroadwayCon panel on advertising’s role in audience development. It’s also a philosophy that guides his work.

“You have to think about who’s making your advertising,” he says. “When you get a team together with diverse perspectives, you get innovative work that a larger audience will respond to.” A robust team, he adds, should include people of many ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and ages. It should also include people from multiple socioeconomic backgrounds, since not everyone has the same access to tickets or even the same belief that theatre can be part of everyday life. There should always be someone in the room who has a lived understanding of these perspectives.”

It’s crucial, too, that everyone on a team is empowered to make substantive contributions. “You have to make sure everyone has a voice,” Parham says. “It’s all these perspectives together that leads to innovation.”