Why invest in The Netherlands? BECAUSE IT IS WHITE AND MALE, THAT’S WHY!

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has commissioned advertising agency Moodfactory to produce a clip aimed at potential investors on the many benefits of investing in the country. Let’s leave aside for a second the obvious blunder of calling the clip “Why Invest in Holland”. Which Holland? North Holland or South Holland? Holland are just two provinces, after all. Shouldn’t the Ministry be promoting The Netherlands as a whole? Somehow I believe that was the case but the ad agency might have chosen the pop culture route of calling the country “Holland” even though it is geographically incorrect.

Anyways, watching the clip, here’s the main apparent benefit of investing in The Netherlands: this is a male and white country. There are no people of color! Everyone is white as snow, Nordic looking and obviously autochtoon. Here’s a break down of the people depicted in the ad:

  • At 0:30: 2 white males riding a bicycle.
  • At 0:53 Half frame with 8 white males in supposedly academic garb smiling and being well, academic looking.
  • At 0:53 the other half frame with 5 white males and 2 white females
  • At 1:10 a white, blond female that looks like model
  • At 1:22 Half frame with a (very) blond female child
  • At 1:22 Half frame with two male football players
  • At 1:25 1 white male and 1 white woman

So, in a clip that lasts only 2:05 minutes, there are a total of 23 people depicted, all of them white. Of those 23, only 5 are women and one of them is a toddler. To break these numbers even further: only 21% of the people shown in the ad are women and nobody, not a single person belongs to a minority.

At the end of the clip, a list of businesses that have already invested in The Netherlands is provided; I assume as an example of the type of company potential investors might find themselves associated with (by association, I mean, by transitive property, as in “by being in good company”). The listed businesses are: Nike, Samsung Electronics, Abbott Laboratories, Tata Consulting Services, Danone, Fedex, Cisco and Starbucks. Here’s part of the problem: all of these companies promote diversity in the workplace as part of their mission statements. Each and every one of them has made statements about their commitment to a diverse workforce. A list of the statements:

Naturally, this begs the question: how will these companies, who made public commitments to fostering a diverse workplace feel about being used as an example in one of the least diverse advertising campaigns possible?

And last, but not least, another amusing fact: the lyrics of the song in the clip inform us that “this land is my land, this land is our land”. I guess the message is clear: this land belongs to white males and the rest of us can continue “not belonging”, at least as far as Moodfactory and the Ministry of Economic Affairs go.

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