How to avoid racial and ethnic stereotyping in ads

17th February 2022

Whilst advertising has become more inclusive over the last couple of years, there is still a long way to go to make advertising inclusive across the board. Representation is one of the key issues within inclusive advertising, as whilst we are seeing more ethnic minorities in ad campaigns, they are not necessarily representative of the culture. Following a report on racial and ethnic stereotyping in ads by the ASA, GottaBe! Ethnic will share our tips for avoiding racial stereotyping in ads and talk about the importance of authentically adopting inclusivity into your marketing. 

Why more needs to be done around ethnic inclusivity in advertising

The ASA published a report on racial and ethnic stereotyping in ads which found that ethnic groups were almost three times more likely to feel under-represented or not represented at all in ads (66%) this is compared to the White respondents (23%). Around half of the participants from ethnic groups said they are not portrayed accurately in advertising.

Following the Black Lives Matter movement, inclusive advertising rose but has since dipped, which is disappointing to see. We know here at GottaBe! Ethnic the importance of engaging ethnic audiences and the spending power they have in the UK alone. 

Whilst there has been a dip in the number of inclusive ads from big brands, we have also seen the backlash of inclusive advertising. For example, Sainsbury’s gravy song Christmas ad featured a black family with the tagline “Food is home, home is Christmas”. The reaction to the campaign proved the need to continue pushing inclusivity in ads to help remove stigmas around race. Although the backlash was disappointing, the ad saw the coming together of leading UK supermarkets to make a united and public stand against racism. 

How can I ensure I avoid racial and ethnic stereotyping in advertising?

Making the steps to adopt an authentic approach to inclusive advertising can be scary for your brand as you will not want to get it wrong and offend anyone. This is one of the many reasons brands avoid including ethnic minority groups in their marketing materials. However, there are no excuses anymore. With big brands such as Nike paving the way in inclusive advertising, brands are expected to be representative in their campaigns. 

If this still sounds way out of your comfort zone, we have put together some steps you can implement into your marketing strategy and business to help you to avoid racial stereotyping in ads. 

Research ethnic groups

One of the quickest ways to offend a person or community is to assume things about them, hence the high number of ethnic minority groups that feel they are not properly portrayed. By taking time to understand the audience you are trying to reach and engage with, you will be able to represent them through your campaigns. 

Having cultural intelligence creates a bond between your brand and your consumers, giving you a stronger voice in the communities. A better understanding of the cultural differences allows you to be equipped with the knowledge needed to know whether your campaign is appropriate and when it will offend.

Take inclusion on across the business. 

Hiring from ethnic groups is one of the best ways to flag any issues with an ad before launching. Getting differing opinions from creatives from various backgrounds and cultures helps create a well-rounded ad. 

Adopting inclusivity in your business allows you to be more culturally aware in all areas. It builds on brand purpose as your consumers will see your approach is authentic. When looking at the leaders in inclusive diversity, one of the key factors we could put their success to was that they all adopted inclusivity authentically—their brand purpose and values aligned with their campaigns consistently. 

Multicultural staff creatives

The staff you hire in-house should be diverse, but so should the creatives you bring in to create the campaigns. Having diverse input from outside of your brand can help to give a different perspective that is not clouded your brand’s past image. They will bring a new perspective to the brand that is fresh. This could range from an outside agency, models, photographers and designers, all will have a good understanding of current trends in the industry. 

Why is it important to get inclusive advertising right?

Inclusive advertising shows consumers you care about them, so they are more likely to want to shop with your brand. According to The Psychology of Inclusion, 64% of people said they are more trusting of brands that represent diversity in ads, and 85% of consumers said they would only consider a brand they trust.

When consumers trust your brand, brand recall is high, and they are more likely to recommend your products. Not only does inclusive advertising generate word of mouth marketing, but it also expands the reach your brand has. By representing other ethnic groups, you will engage them in the marketing funnel and therefore see a higher ROI. 

Advertising can shape society, and as more brands get on board with inclusivity in their advertising, we will see more acceptance for ethnic minorities. GottaBe! recommends you start thinking about how you can adopt a more inclusive marketing strategy for your brand. As multicultural marketing specialists, we are here to help you get your inclusive advertising right. Not sure where to start? Contact the team today! +442380634283

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