The Unstereotype Alliance has released its latest report “Beyond Gender 2: The Impact of Intersectionality in Advertising,” produced with support from LIONS and research conducted by Ipsos. The report examines the impact of intersectionality in advertising across four countries - Japan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States - revealing that advertising that represents people across a variety of social categorisations resonates with all consumers.
The new research found that intersectional advertising grows and deepens consumers' ties with a brand in Japan, Turkey, U.K., and the U.S. The inclusion of progressive and intersectional portrayals of people drives their feelings of “closeness” with a brand – an indicator of brand performance – with a significantly acute impact on under-represented and traditionally marginalized communities.
Whilst intersectionality in advertising may be seen as only affecting a small or targeted group of people, the research illustrates its impact can be far greater. Many consumers state they do not see themselves in advertising and struggle to find products that feel as though they’re made for them – confirming the shift to more representative content is not just the right thing to do, but also a business imperative.
Key takeaways from the report include:
Changing expectations of advertising: Ads with diverse representations of people in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, body size, sexual orientation, ability and more, in roles that defy traditional stereotypes, are best positioned to meet consumer expectations, and strengthen their business performance.
Advertising still does not depict reality: The measure of feeling under-represented in advertising was held by most respondents in all countries: Japan (68%), Turkey (66%), the U.K. (59%) and the U.S. (53%). In all countries, those who identify as a minority were more likely to agree that they rarely see themselves in advertising.
Consumer fears in daily life persist: The research included measures of self-perception and discrimination. Those traditionally considered to be at the margins of society in all four countries feared discrimination the most.
The positive impact of intersectionality: While there were significant differences in each country in the reactions to advertising, at an overall level, intersectional ads that represent people across a variety of social categorizations performed well in Turkey (+3.5), the U.K. (+ 4.1), and the U.S. (+5.5), with less impact noted in Japan (+1.2). The degree to which the advertising moves people closer to the brand is, in most cases, higher among traditionally marginalized populations than the consumer average in each country. Across Turkey, the U.S., and the U.K., many of the groups that feel under-represented overlap with those who are most moved by intersectional advertising.