The power of diversity in advertising

by Guest Contributor Graham Page | June 04, 2018

Author: Graham Page

Graham Page
Kantar Millward Brown
Managing Director of Offer and Innovation

Inclusive advertising is a topic many marketers are talking about. While creating the perfect inclusive ads can be a balancing act, some brands are getting it right. Coca-Cola’s ‘Pool Boy’ campaign is a great example, but when a brand gets it wrong it isn’t long before we hear the backlash from consumers on social media, which then migrates quickly to broader media coverage.

Our research shows that inclusive ads are 25 percent more effective and more emotionally engaging than non-inclusive ads, and the least inclusive ads are less effective and generate the most negative emotional reactions.  Also, more conservative consumers who speak out against ads are loud and vocal whereas the broader majority of people who find the ads engaging just don’t shout about it.


Creating inclusive ads should be both a business imperative and a moral one. Marketers need to be bold and embrace the opportunity to appeal to a larger audience, to be inclusive of and to better represent the world today. Everyone is biased in some way. Our brains love a stereotype. Most people don’t actively choose to discriminate but they often do.

Ads are often developed with only the target audience in mind. Marketers need to realise that a much broader base of consumers will see their advertising. This is where testing creative executions across a diverse group of consumers can help identify what resonates. This provides insurance that you’ve got a good ad that will be effective.

I recently held a webcast with our partner Affectiva, a leader in Emotion AI, where we discussed the importance of diversity in advertising and the tools available to easily assess emotional responses to ads and a myriad of other things. You can view the webcast here.

By researching among a wider group, marketers can pick up potential alternative interpretations of their brand narrative and advertising scenarios. We recommend marketers be brave but also be prepared to respond fast if you do trigger a negative response.

Please share your thoughts on diversity in advertising and share examples of brands that are getting it right.

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