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Almost two-thirds of people feel UK ad industry doesn’t represent them

Youth Media

Written By: Jasper Jackson   3/12/15

Poll finds public believe industry is failing to reflect diverse society – although John Lewis’s Christmas ad is hailed as an exception among festive campaigns.

Advertising and marketing is failing to reflect the UK’s multicultural, diverse society, according to a new poll.

Research commissioned by trade magazine Marketing Week found that almost two-thirds of people in the UK feel the ad industry does not represent them, and almost two-fifths say advertising characters and messages fail to reflect British society as a whole.

Religion, gender identity and physical ability were the areas most commonly identified as having seen the least progress on representation over the last decade. while, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation were more likely to be identified as areas where there had been the most progress.

Marketing Week editor Russell Parsons said: “As 2015 closes with the yearly array of big Christmas ad campaigns, we can already see what progress is needed – there are very few examples of true diversity captured in these campaigns with the exception of John Lewis’s ‘Man on the Moon’.

“The storyline of this campaign and the fact it is supported by Age UK is certainly timely given that age was identified in our survey as the key diversity issue for brands to address in their advertising.”

The BBC and Channel 4 came top when respondents were asked which of a list of 20 leading companies were effectively representing a diverse society, along with retailer Marks & Spencer. Both the BBC and Channel 4 have made strong commitments to increasing diversity on screen.

The research also found that one in six say they are prepared to avoid buying products from companies that fail to take diversity seriously. Yet despite the strength of public opinion, a third of marketers polled in separate research by Marketing Week found a third believe that a lack of multiculturalism in advertising has no impact on what people buy.

The public poll was conducted online by Onepoll from a nationally representative sample of 2,000 people while Marketing Week separately questioned 754 marketing professionals.

Source: The Guardian

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