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Australian brands face boycotts if they don't address diversity in ads

By Sara Barker
Fri 28 Jun 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Australian brands need to include diversity in their advertising or face consumer dissatisfaction, the Adobe Diversity in Advertising survey has found.

While diversity in advertising is getting better than it was three years ago according to 58% of consumers, some mediums do better at showcasing it than others.

Consumers perceive television advertising as the most diverse medium, but digital advertising has a long way to go – only 9% of consumers felt that digital ads show diversity.

Two thirds of consumers agreed that their race or ethnicity is represented in the ads they are served – there is still a long way to go. Australian consumers advised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and African and Middle Eastern ethnicities are the least represented in ads.

Diversity in advertising is also important to 62% of Australian respondents.

If advertisers don’t address these consumer concerns, they face alienating the audience and creating a lack of trust.

The survey found that 56% of people surveyed say that lack of diversity would impact their perception of a brand. 

Furthermore, 21% admitted that they have boycotted brands that didn’t show enough diversity.

“In an increasingly competitive digital landscape, consumers are demanding personalised and authentic advertising, experiences and engagement from brands,” says Adobe’s APAC head of Advertising Cloud, Phil Cowlishaw. 

“What this research shows is that while diversity in advertising is obviously improving, the real opportunity for brands is to make their customers feel like the brand knows and cares about them through representation.”

Brands that do address diversity in their advertising could benefit from increased trust - Nearly a quarter of consumers are more likely to purchase products and services from brands with diverse advertisements.

Adobe also released its 25 years of Digital Advertising report. It shows how digital advertising has progressed from the very first banner ad to popups, and how digital has become the single most impactful platform for advertising today.  

Adobe says that it is clear technology is enabling brands to deliver more curated, contextual and personalised advertising through digital platforms but that there is still progress to be made in terms of representation.

“This research, alongside our partnership with the Centre for Inclusive Design, is part of our wider commitment to encourage a diverse range of voices and perspectives within organisations, to reflect the diversity of the Australian population in products, services, and content,” says Cowlishaw.

“We know that if brands really want to tap into this huge market of emerging consumers, they need to leverage digital, and share content that represents and inspires their audience.”

Sectors polling better when it comes to diversity in ads are travel & hospitality, retail, and media & entertainment; while the automotive and financial industries had some catching up to do.

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