The CW is putting diversity front and center as part of its fall launch push. The network is set to launch “#CWOpenToAll,” a new branding campaign that highlights its strides in representation and inclusion.
The campaign will run on-air as the CW premieres its fall schedule, and will also appear on digital and social platforms, as well as via advertising buys in key print outlets, including USA Today, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Hollywood trades.
That makes the CW one of the most visible media outlets to make diversity a key part of its marketing. Brands are increasingly incorporating messages of inclusion in campaigns — most notably, Nike’s recent “Believe in Something” campaign centered on Colin Kaepernick.
As Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins wrote last month about the Kaepernick campaign, 44 percent of millennials (between ages 22 and 37) are nonwhite, and that demo is set next year to surpass baby boomers as the largest living adult generation in the United States. “If you don’t have a multicultural strategy, you don’t have a growth strategy,” Nielsen global communications senior VP Andrew McCaskill told the paper.
That generation, of course, is right in the sweet spot for the CW, which is by far the youngest-skewing of the broadcast networks. Touting inclusion — be it multicultural, sexual orientation, or gender identity — makes business sense for the CW, in addition to highlighting strides the network has made onscreen. “The CW Open to All” campaign comes as diversity remains a critical topic for media companies, and gives the CW a way to tout its advances over competitors. Just last week, for example, the Directors Guild of America released a new study noting that progress remains slow in finding more people of color helming TV series episodes.
At the CW, the network notes that this year, 63 percent of the showrunners/executive producers, writers, and directors on its scripted fare are women or people of color, up from 53 percent last year. Among series regulars, 49 percent are people of color. And the network also has made headlines for casting Nicole Maines as the first transgender superhero (“Dreamer”) on “Supergirl,” and is developing “Batwoman” with the title character as the first openly gay lead superhero, played by Ruby Rose.
“The CW is Open to All” campaign features various network stars, including Gina Rodriguez and Justin Baldoni (“Jane the Virgin”), Jared Padalecki (“Supernatural”), Daniel Ezra and Taye Diggs (“All American”), Grant Gustin and Candice Patton (“The Flash”), Rachel Bloom and Pete Gardner (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), China Anne McClain and Marvin Jones III (“Black Lightning”), and many more, touting the idea of inclusion and representation — and the CW as a facilitator for that kind of change.
“We think this campaign really captures the spirit and mission of The CW and why our fans come to us,” said the CW president Mark Pedowitz. “We are committed to making sure our viewers see themselves represented on screen, and that we also have diverse voices being heard behind the camera. In fact, 12 of our 17 series this season are created by or executive produced by women or people of color. We are proud of the strides we’ve made and are continuing to make, and #CWOpenToAll reflects that, and helps drive the message that we want to be known as a place where all are welcome to be, and all are welcome to watch.”
The campaign is an offshoot of the CW’s “CW Good” public service initiative, a platform that has been used to spotlight the charitable causes supported by the CW’s stars and shows.
Here’s a first look at the CW’s “Open to All” campaign: