Consumers expect brands to commit to inclusivity in their advertising

by | Aug 27, 2020 | Marketing, Public Relations

There’s a clear diversity and inclusion movement in advertising. But new research by Getty Images reveals that nearly 80 percent of people globally have said it isn’t enough to have people of various ethnicities, backgrounds, and appearances in advertising—that they expect companies to do a better job at capturing people’s true lifestyles and cultures. The findings have been revealed in a second wave of research for Visual GPS, completed in conjunction with global market research firm YouGov.

The Visual GPS Summer update also reveals that 63 percent of people prefer to buy brands that are founded by or represent people like themselves. These results hold steady across generations and gender, with only modest differences across global regions.

“Visual GPS shows that amid the COVID-19 pandemic and despite massive changes in people’s lives, the demand for more diversity in visual communications has only increased,” said Dr. Rebecca Swift, global head of creative insights at Getty Images, in a news release.

Consumers expect brands to commit to inclusivity in their advertising

The company reports similar findings in its global customer search data:

  • Searches have increased year over year for ‘diversity’ (up 133percent), ‘culture’ (up 115percent), ‘real people’ (up 115percent) and ‘inclusion’ (up 126percent).
  • From May to June alone customer searches for diverse images increased by 200 percent and searches for images around unity and equality increased by 500 percent, trends that are believed to be intensified due to anti-racism protests.

This second wave of Visual GPS findings around representation is the latest effort by Getty Images to address underrepresentation and misrepresentation of different groups in visual communications. The company has spent over a decade working to break down stereotypes and create more authentic content which it has done through commercial imagery collections including Muslimgirl.com,Nosotros, The Disability Collection and Project ShowUs.

Consumers expect brands to commit to inclusivity in their advertising

Findings around bias and discrimination

  • 62 percent of people feel they have been discriminated against, with this more common among Gen Z relative to other generations, among women relative to men, and by consumers in the Americas, relative to Europe and APAC.
  • 57 percentof respondents in North America say they experience discrimination based on the color of their skin, compared to Europe and APAC.
  • 53 percent of respondents in North America also see discrimination as being based in people making assumptions about their background, more so than any other region.
  • In Europe, more than half (56 percent) of people who feel discriminated against feel so because of assumptions being made about their nationality or country of origin.
  • Of people who feel they have been discriminated against, only 14 percent say they are well-represented in advertising and 15 percent in business communications.

To partner the new report, Getty Images has released an Inclusive Visual Search Guide designed to assist brands and businesses in making intentional content choices which drive authentic and inclusive representation in visual communications. Download the guide here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter