Dailey Answers the Question, ‘What Have Minorities Done for America, Anyway?’

Spoiler alert: A lot

The Diversity Project
Headshot of Erik Oster

In response to a rise of xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment in the age of the Trump administration, Los Angeles agency Dailey decided to launch a campaign promoting diversity.

At the 2016 Republican National Convention, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) responded to an MSNBC panel question about the GOP’s identity crisis by asking, “I mean, I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

King’s remarks were met with widespread social media backlash,  condemned as ignorant, racist and xenophobic. Historians also published a series of responses to the ignorant comment.

Nearly two years later, Dailey has crafted an answer to King’s question with its “What Diversity Gives Us” campaign. The agency created a website, What Diversity Gives Us, which allows visitors to type in various minority groups and see their contributions to America.

A search for “Latinos,” for example, results in a variety of contributions including e-books, popcorn, microtonal music, the artificial heart device, as well as such indispensable culinary masterpieces as tacos and guacamole. Each contribution listed in such searches links to a source website.

Dailey executive creative director Marcus Wesson cited “anti-immigration sentiments, separating families at the border as a deterrent, hate crimes on the rise, the Charlottesville rally” as inspiration for the campaign, singling out the DACA debate as a primary factor in driving the campaign.

“There is a growing narrative to demonize immigrants. This campaign is a reminder of the many vital contributions of immigrants that are woven into the fabric of our society. Diversity makes us who we are. This is certainly true at Dailey,” Wesson told Adweek.

“After Steve King’s infamous statements during the 2016 Republican National Convention, Twitter lit up with little-known contributions from immigrants,” he added. “It sparked the thought that there should be some sort of hub where you could dump facts to counter such an unenlightened statement.”

A video supporting the effort poses the “What have they done?” question for a variety of groups before scrolling through a long list over audio, from the moon landing and electronic music.

Another promotional video opens with the line “Without Diversity, you probably wouldn’t be seeing this,” explaining that broadband was invented by Jesse Eugene Russell, an African American.

The timing of the campaign is no coincidence. Dailey’s PR partner on the campaign, Mister Sweat, strategically targeted the July 4 holiday as “a perfect day to remind Americans that we all originated from somewhere else,” Wesson explained.

“We hope there is some surprise and delight about the origins of inventions we’ve long taken for granted, but ultimately we’re hoping [the campaign] simply reminds people that we are at a critical juncture in our society, and our choice to exclude immigrants could have a tragic impact on future generations,” he said. “We also hope to support the ACLU in defending this cause.”

As you may recall, Dailey completed a buyback from IPG in early 2017, after 30 years with the holding company.

Wesson said the agency’s newfound independence allows it to more easily pursue passion projects such as this one.

“Being independent allows us more freedom to do what we want to do, without asking a holding company. As one of the oldest agencies in Los Angeles, we pursue passion projects that directly impact the community around Dailey,” he explained.

He added that the agency has “made diversity a centerpiece of what Dailey stands for and the way we run our agency” since the buyback.

“There are now people of color, LGBTQ and women heading up all of our departments,” he added. “We have majority female ownership and continue to support organizations like The 3% Movement.”

CREDITS

Agency – Dailey
Managing Partner – Jean Grabow
Managing Partner – Bill Waldner
Executive Creative Director – Marcus Wesson
Creative Director, Digital – Manaf Al-Naqeeb
Chief Digital Officer – Minh Le
Jr. Digital Producer – Jessica Uribe
Sr. Art Director – Lina Yaghi
Creative Director – Steve Peckingham
Director of Technology – Mitch Malpartida
Sr. Audio Engineer/ Sound Designer – Henry Correa
Editor – Lina Yaghi
Content Producer – Krissy Derossi Wurzer
Systems Manager – Cameron Cox


@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.
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