NEW YORK: General Mills, the food group, is seeking to drive diversity within its creative agencies in a bid to deliver communications that truly resonate with its expansive audience.

Michael Fanuele, Chief Creative Officer at General Mills, discussed this topic at the Talent@2030 Conference held by the 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies).

And he outlined why the company decided to ask the shops participating in a recent pitch to commit to making sure their creative teams soon feature 50% of members who are women and 20% who are people of colour.

"The number-one criterion is: We want you to love our people. All of them," he said. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: General Mills seeks to drive diversity in creativity.)

Given that the organisation has a customer base cutting across every conceivable demographic of the American population, fulfilling this goal means agencies must have a genuinely broad focus.

From that premise, it "follows very easily" that agencies should be able not only to craft messaging with multiple segments in mind, but actively incorporate these groups into the functions which formulate campaigns.

"[To] love the people on the other sides of our brands, those creative teams need to be populated differently than they are now," Fanuele said.

In reflection of this fact, he continued, General Mills wants its agencies to demonstrate a "real, earnest, loving commitment" to bringing diversity to the creative department going forwards.

"The creative department: They're wizards. They're dudes. And they, for the most part, fit a certain stripe, with a certain sense of humour, and they award the same work, and they like the same jokes. And I love these people; these are some of my best friends in the world," said Fanuele.

But while these practitioners are experts in their discipline, they cannot be expected to fully grasp the nuanced attitudes, behaviours and preferences from every corner of General Mills' target audience.

"You don't have to be a mom to make some Cheerios ads. But if we have more moms on the team making Cheerios ads, maybe we increase the probability we do work that connects with moms in a richer, deeper, more powerful, meaningful way," Fanuele said.

Data sourced from Warc