SYDNEY: Australian marketers and their agencies are becoming more aware of diversity issues and many are now actively working to create more culturally relevant work, a senior agency executive has said.

According to Ricci Meldrum, Regional Group Head ANZ for TBWA, clients in Australia are expecting more diversity in their campaigns. (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: Australia's brands embrace inclusion as agencies tackle diversity.)

"We've gone past being unconsciously unaware, where we didn't even think about it and were making very stereotypical 'white male' advertising,” Meldrum told Warc.

"We've even gone past being consciously aware that diversity is not quite right, that there's not enough male and female roles, racial representation, sexuality or ability," she added. "Realistically, most clients now expect, if not demand, diversity."

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and ANZ, the banking group, are two notable Australian businesses to integrate LGBT inclusion and multiculturalism into their campaigns in recent years.

For example, MLA launched an ad for Australia Day in January that took into account cultural sensitivities around Australia's national day by not mentioning the holiday itself, instead celebrating Australia's modern cultural diversity in an unexpected way.

ANZ and MLA's efforts are part of a growing trend in Australian marketing to take on the cause of inclusion. That said, businesses need to think carefully before joining the diversity discussion, lest they come across as inauthentic.

According to Jenny Willits, Managing Director at J. Walter Thompson Australia, brands must be credible and not appear to be checking a box.

"The danger for brands is seeming to just 'jump on the bandwagon' of diversity, female empowerment in particular," she said.

"If they do, they need to jump on with credibility and demonstrate they have a right to play in that area. Does it feel that they are just jumping on it because they feel they have to? There's a fine line to tread," she added.

Data sourced from Warc