What If We Used Images to Eliminate Fear?

In the movie Invictus, a film about Nelson Mandela, one of the bravest men of the 20th century, and South Africa’s Rugby, team there is a line from a poem, which states, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” It’s a quote that, since, has been displayed across inspirational posters, vocalized in motivational talks, and paraphrased everywhere from classrooms to television screens. With such widespread use and even wider recognition, I was surprised when I found out just how fearful young people are of something I didn’t think of too often in my late teens and early twenties: failure.

Now, please do not mistake me. Of course I feared failing an exam, or not getting called back for an interview for a job I applied to, but this was not a paralyzing, defining fear – it manifested itself for at most a week or two at a time, and then, with an A+ or a C-, a job offer or another application, I moved on with my spirit and confidence in my worth as a person in tact. I cannot speak on what my peers were feeling in the 1970′s and ’80′s when I was newly in the job market, but lately, through articles and observation, I’ve found reason to believe that fear is powerfully affecting young people – sometimes, even to the point of paralysis.

Recently, I came across an article in the Huffington Post which stated that fear is why people stay in jobs that make them unhappy. That same week, a college professor told me that in an informal poll of students in her three classes, all but one stated that “some type of failure or disappointment of a loved one” was their greatest fear. Not long after, I found in The Internet Journal of Criminology the proposal that media influences the level of fear in its audience.

After these three random and seemingly disconnected encounters with fear, its impacts, and its abundance, I began to wonder if there is something the advertising industry can do to lessen or possibly eliminate fear within its workplace, thus resulting in an even more creative environment for developing and disseminating images?

Could an industry of fearless brand managers, strategists, creatives, and media, digital and promotional specialists result in the utilization of images that advocate taking chances, accepting differences, and ultimately developing even more distinctive and effective brand personalities?

Could disseminating more images that reflect the myriad of body types, family structures, and professions – and the happiness and life satisfaction that accompanies this variance – like the images in the Lane Bryant, Honey Maid, and Nestlé’s Kit-Kat commercials lead to greater self esteem, inclusion, and innovation? I have a sneaking suspicion that, at the very least, this would be a start to achieving those ends.

Since the MLB playoffs will be upon us shortly, I challenge all of us, young, old, and anywhere in between, to take heed to one of Babe Ruth’s most famous quotes: “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” Furthermore, maybe a few fearless industry innovators could take a swing…it might just lead to more home runs than we’ve ever imagined.

About the Authors

Aryn A. Frazier

Aryn Frazier

Aryn A. Frazier currently serves as the Social Media intern for the AAF’s Mosaic Center. She is a third-year student at the University of Virginia, focusing on Politics and African American and African Studies. She has passion for social justice and equity in criminal justice, education, and media.

Constance Cannon Frazier


Constance Cannon Frazier joined the American Advertising Federation (AAF) in January of 2004 as the senior vice president, AAF Mosaic Center and AAF education services. She was promoted to executive vice president after one year of service to the organization. In October of 2007, Frazier became the AAF’s executive vice president of corporate programs and marketing and as of August of 2010, Frazier is AAF’s chief operating officer. Read More…

What to Expect During Our Advertising Week Panel: Images, Ethics and Power

Images, Ethics, PowerOur advertising week panel of advertising, media and academic professionals are coming together to discuss the necessity of TV Networks, producers, advertisers and professionals to portray multicultural groups fairly. We will document with specific illustrations of how multicultural groups, including youth, are being portrayed with overwhelmingly negative stereotypes, especially in Reality TV, and our professional beliefs that these unfair depictions lead to violent encounters in society, as well as discouraging multicultural youth from striving to grow through education and hard work.

Our industry and its professionals have an obligation to encourage and achieve the fair portrayal of diverse groups. While these unfair depictions do not violate laws, ethics should rise above the law. Following the ethical definition of “Doing the Right Thing”, our programming should reflect the values of America: equality and inclusiveness of our citizens, and fairness and objectivity in their treatment.

From a positive perspective, our panel will also document what is and can be done to encourage a fairer depiction of multicultural groups. The “business case” for ethics will be demonstrated on how action taken by caring groups will bring about change.

The group will also discuss resources available that will influence producers, script writers, actors and sponsors to do the right thing when facing this ethical dilemma. Tools include making the case for the negative impact of stereotyping that can be conveyed on Facebook and Twitter. Also, focus on advertisers by encouraging them to sponsor shows that give more balance with positive images and then to support those companies that do so. Key findings from the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) will also be presented on how to effectively communicate about diversity and inclusion through media.

Images, Ethics and Power: The Portrayal of Diverse Communities on Television and in the Media

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 2:30 p.m.
New York Times Building

Presented By:

ShocaseAmerican Advertising Federation

About the Author

Wally Snyder

Wally Snyder, Institute for
Advertising Ethics, AAF

Wally Snyder has devoted his entire professional career to working on advertising development, regulation and ethics. He served as a trial lawyer and as Assistant Director for Advertising Practices at the Federal Trade Commission before joining the American Advertising Federation where he served as president and CEO, from 1992–2008. Currently, he serves as Executive Director for the Institute for Advertising Ethics. Wally was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame® in 2009.

Advertising Week Panel: Images, Ethics & Power


Images, Ethics & Power

The Portrayal of Diverse Communities on Television and in the Media

September 30, 2015 at 2:30 pm

New York Times
620 8th Ave
New York, NY 10018

Recent news stories and television programming have raised questions about the representation of people of color in the media. To help answer those questions, the American Advertising Federation and Shocase, Inc. have gathered a panel of ad professionals, academics, policy influencers and media executives to examine the effects of media content on society, specifically the perceptions created in the minds of younger audiences. More importantly, we will discover how to collectively generate the necessary structural changes to institute realistic imagery of multicultural communities. The action starts here.

Sign up to attend.


Dr. Jannette Dates

Dr. Jannette Dates,
Howard University

Esther Franklin

Esther Franklin, Starcom MediaVest Group

Jessica Kang,

Jessica Kang, Center for
Social Inclusion

Christena J. Pyle,

Christena J. Pyle, Omnicom Group; ADCOLOR

Wally Snyder

Wally Snyder, Institute for
Advertising Ethics

Industry Thought Leaders Share Insights – Howard University

Final Thoughts…

“Always be willing to learn and research things…It never stop, you must always be open.”

“Take the initiative to learn new things…Always ask questions even if people may think it is a “dumb” one.”

“Stay driven and don’t ever settle.”

“It is a strange business that is always changing…No longer will people have jobs for 20 to 25 years…Your experiences are where the ideas are going to come from.”


How can brands and Millennials connect when products are being sold?

“Taking the millennials to ourjobs could give us  a new perspective to what we are doing.”

“The two must work together.”


What type of education or training needs to be required of marketers to connect with Millennials?

“You have to be personable…Being out there and looking around to see what is going on around the world…Taking risk could provide dialogue and learning.”

“Open-mindedness…We are surrounded by so many people and so many perspectives these days.”


How vital are Millennials to a you job?

“Very…I have to listen to them to know what they want.”

“They keep me on my toes and know where the shifts/changes are coming in the industry.”

“Everything is centered around them…What they are listening to and what they are doing plays a crucial role.”


What specific training is needed to be effective with Millennials?

“Staying fresh and staying at the front of what is going on.”

“Going to conferences and seeing how it can be used in your work is key…It all starts with the drive within yourself.”


What type of hiring practice should be adopted for Millennials?

“Skyping, conference calls amd working from home are all factors in today’s hiring process.”

“Spending the day at high schools and middle schools.”


How is the communication between the “Dad” and “Daughter (Millennials)” adopted in the workplace?

Daughter – “Collaboration will play a role in a success.”

Dad – “Taking a step back…It is a process one has to learn but once you do then your success will soar.”

Daughter – “Knowing that my insights are being heard but also having that “Dad” to look up to is so crucial.”

Millennial Perspectives in LA: Diversity and MultiCulturalism

“Innovation comes from a place where ideas from different fields and cultures meet and collide, igniting an explosion of extraordinary new discoveries.  To get there, you need two things: passion and diversity.”    Frans Johansson/The Medici Effect

Today, an incredible panel convened at General Mills to speak about Millennial perspectives on diversity & multiculturalism.  Panelists included:

  • Zandile Bay, Harvard University Fellow @zandile
  • Jason Crain, Account Manager at Google
  • Pushpa Gopalan, SVP at Leo Burnett
  • Marcus Jimenez, Partner/Principle at Huemanitas
  • Harjot Singh, Executive Strategic Partner at McCann NY

Main topics included:

  1. Millennials don’t want to be seen as a target audience but as a community
  2. Diversity for millennials is deeper than skincolor/ethnicity/identity. Its a fluid blend of many ideologies
  3. Gen Y doesn’t tune into BET, Univision etc because the people look like them. They tune in because they can relate to the messaging.
  4. Brands need to speak to Millennials with a personalized human voice rather than with a generic marketing communication.


Panelists at the LA panel

Here in LA, the Millenials had their chance to share their thoughts on diversity as moderated by Bryan Master, Digital Account Director at Initiative.  Panelists included:

  • Avriel Epps: UCLA Majoring in Communication Studies
  • Shauna Holland: UCLA Extension in Copywriting
  • Kevin Lockett: University of Arizona in Marketing
  • Garrett Mccoll: California State University in Psychology
  • Diana Cui: Ithaca College in integrated Marketing Communications


In this local discussion, main topics centered on:

What does a post racial America look like?

Two conversations were uncovered within the group.  On the one side, there was a desire to eliminate stereotypes and to look at each other without these preconceived notions.  On the other side of the coin, there was a desire to ‘celebrating our individualities’ giving us our cultural distinctions rather than homogenizing our nation.

How does social media deal with diversity?

Certain types of social media could perpetuate stereotypes (e.g. Twitter’s ‘after-dark’ conversations) but overall social media has the ability to powerfully connect us.

Favorite Brands?

Apple, Anthropologie, NFL, Nike, Lady Gaga , Sprint, & Toyota  As a fan of these brands, these students would wholeheartedly advocate for them on social networks and with their friends.

What does a brand have to do to win your loyality?

These students want a story, content which connects them to the fabric of the brand.  They also want some honesty from the brand’s voice and to be involved in a way which feels organic.





Millennials Response to “Intelligence” – Howard University


“Always posed with the question, why did you got to an HBCU? It is more than just race, it is about the lifestyles of these students that I relate to.”


“People want to be involved with a cause or an organization that connects them with a group they want to share their value.”


“What other media or advertisements relate to me…It plays a major role in all of our

Are we in post-racial America since President Obama’s election?

The majority of the panelists disagree.

“We need to have honest conversations to have people talk about their views and issues. It should not simply be ignored.”

“The election of President Obama means we are moving forward and including these races in all decisions moving forward.”

“The perception of race has simply changed since the Boomers and integration plays a major role.”

“What we believe in plays a significant role with integration. It will lead to the world chaning in the world.”

Is social media breaking boundaries?

“Allows you to add family-related/cultural influences with the rest of your friends that may not be the same ethnicity as yourself.”

Do you consider your immediate environment diverse?

“Howard University brings so many people from different cities, states and countries…the dialects, culture, and food all differs.”

“I feel like we are all not that much different besides the physical difference. The family dynamic is very similar still.”

Are there similarities despite different backgrounds at you school?

“Everyone want to be undetstood…They want to share things and be liked.”

“Everyone wants to be successful…Having a good career, a family and reliable friends are a common core for all of us.”

Does social media help relationships grow offline?

“Not often…I rather take my real-world relationships online to keep the conversation fresh.”

“We want to connet with someone intially offline…You want to know those people you are sharing things through social media.”

“If you have a specified interests you can find others that might have similar ones…The relationship could be stronger online than offline.”

How do you spend your free time?

“We multitask…On the computer, watching this new show, on Twitter following the show, texting friends, doing homework, on Facebook.”

“The concept of free time doesn’t really exist amongst us…You never know when you could make a contact that could lead to success.”

“Even when I am writing a paper, I have my Facebook up chatting with friends to continue to build on relationships.”

Who are your role models?

“Myself…I know what I am trying to accomplish and what I need to do…You have to live up to yourself.”

“A number of my peers….They have qualities that I don’t have and they can give me advice on the process of entering the workforce.”

Does ethnicity play a role when selecting your media?

“It plays a role but if it is interesting and relates to my values them I am going to consume it.”

“I am more on the content side rather than the ethnicity factor because my values encompass everything I do.”

Some argue that social media and reality TV have tainted the view of a celebrity, do you agree?

“We allow them to become one because we follow them in all that they do and “celebrate” their misfortunes and accomplishments.”

“It has impacted more than we know and people need to start demanding for better shows.”

“There are shows out there that are beneficial but the majority of them are watered down and we are fed up because we know our lives are not like this.”

“If it was not for social media people would not be able to look beyond wha tis happening on the screen. Social media allows them to show their authentic side.”

What is your favorite brand and why?

“Apple…It is the shere intelligence of it and is always the cutting edge.”

“Apple…It is the whole idea of having a community rather than a computer.”

“Google…Innovative brands make my life so much easier.”

“Crayola…Inspire imagination.”

“Air Jordans…I will spend my hard earned money on them until I have kids.”

“Disney…Growing up in Californnia you have to go there from ages 4 to 7…Something that is nostalgic.”

“Dove…The smell always reminds me of my mom and gives me a feeling of freshness.”

What medium depicts humor the best way in your life?

“Television…Superbowl Ads…They are 30-second ads that they spend millions of dollars on to convince you to invest in their product.”

What does a brand have to do to win your loyalty?

“It as to be able to engage me in some way…That call-to-action is most effective.”

“I can love the idea of your brand but if your product or service sucks then I am not going to buy it.”

“Content and reputation plays a vital role.”

What will make you go online and share a brand with your friends?

“If the experience stand out to me, then I am going to advocate for the brand.”

Intelligence: The Experts Fact Sharing Panel Discussion

“People have to see things happening in the real-world first.” – Harjot Singh, Executive Strategy Partner, McCann New York

“There is such a great opportunity to talk and build with Millennials with your brand.” – Pushpa Gopalan, Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning Director, Leo Burnett USA

“We are trendsetters, cool, more educated, well-rounded, we understand when to turn it on and when to turn it off…Our world is very inclsuive.” – Jason Crain, Account Manager, Google. Inc.

“Culture is the pivot point that is changing the entire market place…Attitutudes, beliefs and values are key.” – Marcus Jimenez, Partner / Principal, Huemanitas

Marketing is about finding commonalities and map the brand onto it…Organizations must let the Millennials grow in communities.” – Pushpa Gopalan, Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning Director, Leo Burnett USA


Simulcast Panel


“Largest generation pull surpassing the boomers…Make up 70 million…Characterized with Columbine, 9/11, War in Iraq, Social Media.” – Jason Crain, Account Manager, Google. Inc.



“Creating a sense of belonging.”  - Pushpa Gopalan, Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning Director, Leo Burnett USA



“Hot-bed of universal truths” – Harjot Singh, Executive Strategy Partner, McCann New York

Toms doesn’t give you high quality but rather an altruistic approach to culture.” – Zandile Blay, Harvard University Fellow, Former Online Editor, Essence.com

“How to Make it in America is a great example of universal truths.” – Marcus Jimenez, Partner / Principal, Huemanitas



“It is very complicated for the average user…” – Zandile Blay, Harvard University Fellow, Former Online Editor, Essence.com

“Everybody likes to be LIKED…Most users could care less about Klout score but as a marketer it is a key tool…It is a balancing act with quality over quantity with the Millennials.” – Marcus Jimenez, Partner / Principal, Huemanitas