Inclusion and diversity in advertising and marketing in the United States – statistics & facts
Representation of multiple ethnicities, genders, and identities in advertising and marketing campaigns has become a key component of brands' strategies in the United States throughout the past decades. Most American consumers expect companies to expand their cultural repertoire and include more voices in their communications. Younger people are even more demanding in that regard. As of spring 2023, 70 percent of adult Gen Zers (born between 1997 and the mid-2000s) and 75 percent of millennials (1981-1996) thought brands with a large target audience should promote diversity and inclusion. Among Gen Xers (1965-1980) and baby boomers (1946-1964), the share fell behind two-thirds.
Perhaps paradoxically, the quest for diversity intertwines with the pursuit of relatability. According to the same study, two out of three U.S. adults favored a brand hiring a spokesperson who looked like them. This preference oscillated depending on the respondents' backgrounds. Among self-identifying white and Hispanic consumers, the share was roughly the same as the average. But three out of four Black interviewees appreciated spokespeople similar to them. This significantly higher favorability rate indicates that ads in the U.S. still have a long way to go in depicting and giving a platform to minorities.
What makes a brand 'woke' for U.S. consumers
The current use of the word "woke" as an adjective for being aware of social injustice and discrimination is common in African-American English (AAE). Yet consumers tend to distance the term from racial issues or broader causes, focusing instead on another group of people. A July 2023 survey asked U.S. adults what companies' actions they considered the most "woke." Supporting the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month ranked first – the acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning) persons, and other sexual orientations and gender identities. The second place was a tie between aligning with LGBTQ+ advocates and promoting diversity and inclusion in branding.
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J. G. Navarro
Research expert covering advertising and marketing with a focus on South America