Diversity in advertising: why so long?

27th June 2017

Diversity is continually providing a fairer reflection of society across professional faculties, where does advertising stand?

DIVERSITY In advertising has been perilously neglected and ostracised amidst a wave of data-driven, digitally enthused success: change is afoot.

While many in the industry – 97% according to a study by Unilever – utilise women in positions of leadership or management, a paradigm shift is emerging.

With the ability consumers have to impart their disapproval of something through social media now so ubiquitous, the data businesses and analysts can gather now is stark in comparison to the pre-social era.

Some ads may have previously incited consternation, but with the lack of interpolation or alternative thought to enlighten someone through social media for instance, stereotypes were free to proliferate.

Although many companies – particularly within response campaigns – seek to utilise these stereotypes to evoke feelings of familiarity, it is increasingly becoming a poisoned chalice amidst a more conscientious consumer base.

The fact that ads which focus on empowering a particular group, demographic or cause in society achieve increased encoding of up to 70%, is incentivising more than anything else to agencies and businesses to shift tact.

Companies that have decided to employ such diversity ostensibly have achieved lucrative, long-term sales success.

Dove for instance were pioneers of subverting the stereotype and instilling a sense of empowerment and liberalism to pre-existant metanarritives, ensuring 10 consecutive years of profit increases.

Marrying diversity with the other leveraging factors of advertising will ensure increased growth.
Marrying diversity with the other leveraging factors of advertising will ensure increased growth.

Space City themselves have employed diversity and empowerment within advertising campaigns.

The focus of ads for Ryvita, Jane Plan, Bioglan and FatBlaster to name but a few focused on the empowerment of females, either in a generic sense and through the usage of a role model to improve indexation.

In both instances the focus of the campaigns were to instil aspiration, ensuring that the ad was not guilty of simply peddling pre-existant metanarritives that serve only to stymie creativity and growth for businesses.

Moreover the presence of both ethnic minorities, the disabled and LGBTQ members of society is still sparse and widely disproportionate to the percentage of the population.

Steps have been made to promote the presence of the aforementioned, however this has been no more than a transient flirtation and has lacked a concerted effort.

Lloyds piloted the first ever TV ad featuring a gay couple, while Samsung began to integrate those hard-of-hearing into advertising.

Although these ads were pioneering they have not been engrained in the routine of agencies to produce an entirely inclusive tact.

The long-awaited first audio-descriptive ad has yet to materialise due to bureaucratic reasons, underlining an industry endemic that ensures a culture of expedience.

Of course just a little short-term effort would spawn into a firm social and cultural development trend that would envelope society and ensure we are evolving as a result of advertising, not stagnating or regressing.

Diversity evokes connotations of liberalism, virtue and progression, therefore at a time where advertising is progressing exponentially ensuring that the creatives and actors utilised reflect and influence the consumers you are advertising to.

In an effort to expedite matters regarding diversity arbitrary bodies around the world are beginning to circumvent existing policy on recruitment, in order to improve representation amongst ethnic minorities and other under-represented groups.

The Rooney rule has been adopted in America and mooted by many within UK domestic sport as a means of disrupting the existing consensus.

Although a cause for contention in terms of merit-driven appointment, the belief that expectation has inhibited many from applying for such roles is becoming more widely suggested.

Championing diversity will facilitate improved indexing and repetition-based sales.
Championing diversity will facilitate for a more representative advertising world.

As society changes and gender roles evolve, advertising needs to reciprocate.

On both the counts of representation within ads and the context of how they are utilised, challenges need to be made to avoid reputation elicited immolation.

Not a quota as such, but an active company pledge to champion a certain cause or issue will ensure that you a liberated from your competition.

Through the celebration of those previously maligned, you will not only morally provide a tact that consumers are increasingly receptive to, but you are increasing your consumer base through appealing to such people.

Still to this day more than two million people cannot access TV advertising, or any other with the exception of radio for that matter.

Therefore ensuring you are the pioneers of the next movement will be imperative to lower costs, increased resonation and growth.

Space City has been producing TV, online and radio adverts for 25 years, mobilising the ostracised and satirising the conventional to increase client sales by 600%.

Contact the team now and champion advertising diversity to increase your business’ profits by up to 140% in three years.

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