The trend: Pledges to increase diversity in commercials and ads are falling short, recent studies show, even as consumers express a desire to see brands devote more efforts to inclusion.
On-screen slump: Minority representation in video ads fell in 2022, per an Extreme Reach review. It found that nearly 73% of actors in ads were white last year, up from 66% in 2021. The share of people of color fell to about 26% from 35%.
DEI under assault: Diversity efforts have lost vigor and DEI initiatives are broadly under attack, a departure from companies’ pledges to increase minority hiring and address broader systemic inequality in the wake of US racial unrest in 2020.
Why it matters: Video advertising can strongly influence attitudes and perceptions, and studies show consumers are drawn to brands that reflect their ethnicities, tastes, backgrounds, and values.
Analyst insight: “The consumer base, especially Gen Z shoppers, will abandon brands that fail to deliver on social commitments,” said demographics analyst Christina Obolenskaya. “It isn’t enough for brands to hop on to marketing trends during Black History or Pride Month—wider racial and gender-inclusive efforts need to be year-round considerations.”
The big takeaway: Diversity and inclusion in advertising have become consumer must-haves, not nice-to-haves. By neglecting to include populations representing diverse hues in their ads, advertisers could contribute to reinforcing unfavorable stereotypes.
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