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Brands and agencies need to move forward towards true equity; not only in external marketing messages, but also in internal organisational structure and work culture. After all, the most effective way to promote diversity and inclusion is to be its personification.

People need to know that what a brand claims to believe in and how it behaves is the same. A report by the visual content engine developer Stackla, which surveyed 2,000 UK, US, and Australian adults, has reported that 86% of consumers believe that authenticity is important when deciding which brands to support.

The report also discovered that 57% of consumers believe that less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic. “When brands made work that gave dimension to people beyond gender or skin color stereotypes, we saw a clear pattern: a 15% increase in consumer perception, and a 7% boost in stock price. In other words, diversity and inclusion in advertising are most effective when it’s done well. And diversity and inclusion done well are less about checking a box, and more about recognizing that diverse people are complex, relatable human beings”.

How diversity and inclusion can make it

Procter and Gamble (P&G), one of the largest advertisers in the world, is committed to using their reach and voice to eradicate bias and promote gender and intersectional equality through a series of actions, both internal and external.

“We will achieve equal representation in the creative supply chain, within brand teams, agencies, and directors behind the camera. Among P&G brand builders and at our major agencies, we are now 50/50 gender equal. Behind the camera, more than half of our ads are directed by women in North and Latin America, but only 25% worldwide. We won’t stop until we achieve and sustain equal representation worldwide.“ said Marc Pritchard, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer.

P&G is also part of the #SeeHer movement to encourage the accurate portrayal of women and girls in advertising and media; the #AIMM multi-cultural movement that promotes the right portrayal of race, ethnicity, sexual and gender identity, ability, spirituality, and age; and FREE THE WORK, to help women and underrepresented creators be behind the camera.

“Gender equality is good for society and business,” says Pritchard. “Some of P&G’s best performing brands have the most gender-equal campaigns – Always Like a Girl, SKII Change Destiny, Olay Live Fearlessly…as well as Tide, Ariel, Dawn and Swiffer, which show men sharing the load in household chores. It’s clear that promoting gender equality is not only a force for good, it’s a force for growth.”

How diversity and inclusion can break it

In late June and July, major brands like Coca-Cola, Hershey, Walmart, McDonald´s, and Unilever, temporarily stopped advertising on Facebook to raise their concerns that the social network had not adequately stopped the spread of hate speech and misinformation; leading to increased racism and radicalisation.

Advertisers announced the paused ads after the “#StopHateForProfit” campaign, where civil rights groups asked brands to boycott Facebook for July. Some companies said they’d only pause ads on Facebook for that month, but others, like Unilever, said it also plans to pull ads from Facebook-owned Instagram for the rest of the year.

This is not the first boycott over hate speech. In 2017, L’Oreal, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and others pulled advertising from YouTube over the misplacement of ads next to extremist content.




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