The righteous rise of diversity and inclusivity in marketing


Inclusivity is Important

It would appear that the advertising and marketing of products has recently accelerated its position on challenging equality, incorporating a truer image of diversity and strengthening ideas of inclusion. It may be as a result of the current political landscape, or it could be that we are becoming more socially responsible, ultimately it is a move towards much needed progression.

Coca Cola made a bit of a fizz in the advertising world recently when it launched a new advert in which, mother, daughter and son are vying for the attention of the pool boy. However Coca Cola is not the first brand to represent the LGBT+ community. It would appear maybe surprisingly that the financial services sector are ahead of the curve here. In 2013 Natwest featured a same-sex couple in their adverts, it was a welcomed representation of modern day relationships. Additionally Lloyds Bank also showed a same sex proposal in a 2016 television advert and a still image of it became one of their campaign posters.

Diesel’s latest advert features the tag line ‘make love not walls’ and shows models breaking through heart shaped holes in a wall. Overall there is a celebration of people, dance and colour. This is one of the more overt responses to current political views being expressed. Other brands have gone for a slightly more nuanced approach to inclusivity, maybe as they are less focused purely on a political commentary.

A company that has consciously focused on widening inclusivity around their brand is L’Oréal. They have widen their choice of foundation shades and their new advertising campaign features women of various ethnicities. They are also the first makeup brand to use a man in their advertising campaign, the new advert shows Gary aka Instagram sensation The Plastic Boy (see header image). L’Oréal has recognised an increased popularity in makeup for men and chosen to be leading the way in openly appealing to a male audience.

The automotive world is typically seen as a ‘male sector’ and Audi chose to use it’s Super Bowl advertising slot to readdress the balance and challenge equality with an advert whereby a man dreams of a world of equality and asks the questions “what do I tell my daughter?”, highlighting ways in which societal behaviours subconsciously and consciously tells women they are worth less than men. The Super Bowl is an arena where many brands have chosen to make a statement about diversity and inclusivity. Budweiser told the story of their founder, an immigrant who through drive and tenacity started the company.

There are many more examples of companies shifting their marketing to not only be more inclusive but to put it at the forefront of their marketing, being champions of diversity and equality. Recently Marketing Week featured an article focused on what the the Vice President of Marketing at Mars, Michele Oliver, had said about diversity. Michele believes diversity should be the cake in marketing, not the icing; put it first and foremost, not simply as a nice to have. As a result they have seen a growth that has doubled the expected original target. Brands are realising it is important to speak to everyone and not just whitewash their marketing, represent stereotypes or forget to be inclusive to minorities.

In April the European Diversity in Marketing and Advertising Summit comes to London and will have a number of speakers on this subject, many of whom are leading beacons in this area. For further details click here (