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80% of people expect advertisements to reflect ‘authentic diversity’

Nearly 80 per cent of respondents to a new global survey have said it isn’t enough to have people of various ethnicities, backgrounds, and appearances in advertising but that they expect companies to do a better job at capturing people’s true lifestyles and cultures.

The new research by Getty Images is part of its Visual GPS study and was completed in conjunction with global market research firm YouGov.

The Visual GPS Summer Update also reveals that 63 per cent of people prefer to buy brands that are founded by or represent people like themselves. These results hold steady across generations and gender, with only modest differences across global regions.

“Visual GPS shows that amid the COVID-19 pandemic and despite massive changes in people’s lives, the demand for more diversity in visual communications has only increased,” said Dr Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights at Getty Images.

The company reports similar findings in its global customer search data:

  • Searches have increased year over year for ‘diversity’ (up 133 per cent), ‘culture’ (up 115 per cent), ‘real people’ (up 115 per cent) and’inclusion’ (up 126 per cent).
  • From May to June alone customer searches for diverse images increased by 200 per cent and searches for images around unity and equality increased by 500 per cent, trends that are believed to be intensified due to anti-racism protests.

This second wave of Visual GPS findings around representation is the latest effort by Getty Images to address underrepresentation and misrepresentation of different groups in visual communications. The company has spent over a decade working to break down stereotypes and create more authentic content which it has done throughcommercial imagery collections including Muslimgirl.com, Nosotros, The Disability Collection and Project ShowUs.

Other findings of the study included:

  • 62 per cent of people feel they have been discriminated against, with this more common among Gen Z relative to other generations, among women relative to men, and by consumers in the Americas, relative to Europe and APAC.
  • 57 per cent of respondents in North America say they experience discrimination based on the color of their skin, compared to Europe and APAC.
  • 53 per cent of respondents in North America also see discrimination as being based in people making assumptions about their background, more so than any other region.
  • In Europe, more than half (56 per cent) of people who feel discriminated against feel so because of assumptions being made about their nationality or country of origin.
  • Of people who feel they have been discriminated against, only 14 per cent say they are well-represented in advertising and 15 per cent in business communications.
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