LONDON: When it comes to selecting pictorial images for campaigns, the great majority of UK marketers opt for those that represent modern day society over simply promoting a brand message, a new survey has found.

Shutterstock, the international online image library, worked with research firm Censuswide to question 500 UK marketers about their use of images of diversity in their campaigns.

According to the findings, marketers are increasingly using images that are racially diverse as well as ones that depict homosexual couples.

When choosing images of homosexual couples, more marketers prioritise the need to reflect today's society (79%) rather than linking images to brand message (29%).

Similarly, some 71% take the same view when using racially diverse images rather than promoting brand message (30%).

Images of non-traditional families, such as a lesbian couple with a child, are also becoming more popular with two-thirds (66%) of UK marketers using these types of images more.

Overall, the survey revealed that around half (49%) have used more racially diverse images over the past 12 months, while about a third (32%) have used more images of homosexual couples over the same period.

Not surprisingly, the development means that marketers are using fewer images of heterosexual couples and Caucasian models in their campaigns.

Around a third of marketers say they now use fewer images of Caucasians (34%) and heterosexual couples (34%), while 38% report not using images of heterosexual couples at all because they do not fit well with a brand message in campaigns.

"Marketing, like many other fields, has a diversity problem," said Robyn Lange, Shutterstock's Curator. "The people chosen to represent campaigns have an obvious and visual impact on public life. Therefore, marketers need to be more inclusive through their choice of images," she added.

"Our research shows that marketers in the UK are shifting their attitudes and selecting images, primarily, to represent modern day society. These marketers are influencers in their field who understand that marketing needs to reflect the diverse range of communities which are present in the UK."

Data sourced from Shutterstock; additional content by Warc staff