Making a difference: A new way to
advertise Diversity and inclusion in advertising is a trend that hopefully every advertiser will take to heart. Yet, it is taking a long time for some marketers to jump on the diversity bandwagon. There are several reasons that hold marketers back.
Many advertisers feel that using racially, diverse models will alienate Caucasians.
While others think that ethnicity does not sell.
Then there are those that feel Caucasians are just as effective as people of other
According to Forbes-Bell, Bardey, and Fagan, authors of this British research study I investigated, this is the mindset of most of today's advertisers.
Clearly, we do not need research to disprove these beliefs, but research is necessary for marketers to see the necessity for change. Our world is more diverse than ever, and this is the moment to be more inclusive. However, it is sad to say, minority
groups are still underrepresented in advertising.
In Britain, several research studies by Lloyds Bank Group in 2017 found that there was an increase in diversity in advertising from 12 % to 25 % over the previous three years, so the good news is there is improvement. With the exception, that minorities are still consistently placed in supporting roles.
In another study by the same group using 2,200 participants, nearly a third of the Black participants felt they were not well represented, 28% of Asians felt denied, and 29% of other minority ethnic groups felt the same indignation.
There is a tendency to favor one's own race. It is a fact in study after study—like is like. There is a mental map that points us in the direction of our own ethnic group. However, today more than ever, people want to see diversity.
There is a Twist
In this particular study, the researchers used a methodology using ads that measured
participants' reactions to models of color.
It was found that Black participants preferred Black models and would even choose the more expensive perfume if the model were Black. An interesting result, however, was that Caucasians were not dissuaded if the model was Black, they still wanted to buy the expensive perfume. In fact, Caucasians were more likely to purchase expensive perfume from a Black model, over a Caucasian model.
So, increasing inclusivity in advertising would be an ideal situation for the marketer. There is an obvious bias that needs addressing, and if advertisers take a step out of their comfort zone and make the leap toward diversity and inclusiveness it would be to everyone’s’ benefit.
What was most interesting about this study was the fact that the Caucasians wanted to buy the expensive perfume from the Black model. There was a congruence between spokesperson and consumer that unexpectedly shined through. The authors
attributed it to the results of the study that showed where 73% of Caucasians believed that Black people influence mainstream culture.
It is vital today to be inclusive. Minorities spend trillions of dollars every year, so advertisers need to recognize this fact and make use of it. It would greatly increase their competitive advantage and get everyone on the same page.
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