Diversity Marketing Valued By Global Marketers, But Not Often Practiced

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on AList.

Global marketers tend to agree that using diverse model images helps a brand’s reputation, according to new data from Censuswide and Shutterstock. Those who put this philosophy to use, however, varies by generation. Younger marketers more likely to choose a diverse representation in campaigns than their older counterparts.

Censuswide surveyed over 2,500 marketers from Australia, Brazil, Germany, US and UK in October. Each professional was asked about how they made visual decisions for imagery in their campaigns within the last year. For the past two years, Shutterstock has conducted research on marketers’ use of imagery beginning in the UK (2016), followed by Australia, UK and US in 2017.

Marketer attitudes around diversity in campaigns varies by generation and region, the study found. For example, Brazilian marketers used more images of non-professional models and gender-fluid, non-binary, or androgynous models in their campaigns.

The same goes for Generations Y and Z marketers, who had used more images featuring diverse models within the last year as compared to Generation X and Baby Boomer marketers.

Despite the nobility, these actions may imply, marketers, believe they are expected to use more diverse representation. This was especially true among Gen X and millennial (Gen Y) marketers, at 91 and 92 percent, respectively.

Older generations don’t feel the same pressure, it seems, less than a quarter of Baby Boomer marketers have started to use more diverse images in the last year.

This includes racially diverse models (16 percent), same-sex couples (12 percent), transgender models (six percent) or people with disabilities (12 percent). Five percent of this group have started using gender-fluid, non-binary or androgynous models in the last 12 months.

However, Gen X and Y talk a lot of diversity but haven’t followed through as much as you might expect—especially when it comes to representing gender-fluid and transgender models. Despite strong feelings about representation, less than 20 percent of these generations began using such model images in the last year.

One reason for this could be a simple lack of confidence in the C-suite. Among US marketers, for example, over half admitted company concerns that gender-neutral advertising would impact the bottom line.

There is one thing that most marketers agree on, however, and that’s a need to eliminate gender stereotypes. The UK enforces strict policies about gender stereotyping in advertising and several marketers agreed with the practice. In fact, a majority of marketers in Australia (73 percent), U.S. (72 percent), Brazil (67 percent), and Germany (60 percent) agree that regulation similar to the UK’s ASA Gender Stereotyping rule should be standard practice in their countries.

“There’s no doubt that advertising and marketing visualize much of what we believe to be true in the world, and it has tremendous power to further influence and shape our beliefs,” said Shutterstock. “To that end, the visuals in campaigns representing people, society, and culture require thoughtful consideration.”

H.B Duran

H. B. Duran is a journalist, screenwriter and artist with a passion for the film and video game industries. She has been a writer for AList since 2016, currently specializing in marketing activations and data reports.
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