Uber for diversity: are you f*cking kidding?

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 12 February 2016
Cummins&Partners do satire.

There's an Uber for everything, right? Sort of. Cummins&Partners has tapped into that trend and the ongoing diversity issues not just in the advertising industry but in the tech and business world, with the launch of a website that aims to provide token minority speakers for conference line-ups.

The rentaminority.com website launched this week and is pegged as the 'Uber for diversity'. But before you lose your shit, don't worry. It's satire, designed to highlight the foolishness of tokenism and quotas for diversity.

The statement on the launch reads: “Is your conference panel entirely composed of straight white men?  Are you getting called out for it on Twitter? Do you need a quick and easy way look like you’re politically correct without actually doing anything meaningful? Well, you’re in luck! Announcing: rentaminority.com, an “Uber for Diversity”. With rentaminority.com you’ll get ethics with our ethnics, ticks with our chicks, and praise with our gays!  Rent-A-Minority will begin by catering to conference organisers but then expand its services laterally.” 

While the satirical nature might be lost on some, the FAQ section of the page spells it out: “Jesus fucking Christ. Is this a joke?” 

Satire, people.

It was created by the agency's chief strategy officer Arwa Mahdawi. It's not affiliated with any of Cummins&Partners' clients, it was born out of a passion project. It's about taking on the issue that diversity is becoming a buzzword in the ad/tech/media industry. The excuse that 'it is so hard to find good speakers who are not white men' is not good enough so Mahdawi decided to create an “idiot-proof diversity delivery service”.

She says: “Rentaminority.com occupies a sweet spot in the convergence of two trends: the lets-talk-about-diversity economy; and the on-demand economy. Technology means you can get anything delivered to you in minutes. So why not a minority?”

“We talk endlessly about it but never actually do anything meaningful about it. There has become a very depressing cycle where conference speakers are announced, Twitter points out vociferously that all the conference speakers are white men and the conference tries to scramble to find a woman or a non-white person to make themselves look good [followed by] conference organisers that pat themselves on the back.”

Adam Ferrier, global chief strategy officer for the agency told AdNews that for any issue to take hold and get engagement “you need a compelling creative platform”.

The fact that the joke may be lost on some people is part of the point.



Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop me a line at rosiebaker@yaffa.com.au

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