Ad diversity quantified – it’s going backwards | WARC | The Feed
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Ad diversity quantified – it’s going backwards
In 2022, video ad creative in North America has featured more white actors than at any other time in the previous two years, while male actors have been far more common in ads than female actors.
That’s according to a study* from creative logistics company Extreme Reach (ER), which found that Black, Asian, and Hispanic representation in video ad creative declined this year, with Hispanic representation reaching its lowest level in four years.
Why it matters
Marketers play a significant role in setting cultural norms, by how they portray people and situations in brand stories – affecting perceptions of everything from gender roles to beauty standards.
Amid a stated push for greater DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), the evidence here suggests that fine words in the boardroom are not necessarily being backed up by positive actions in the media.
- White actors have accounted for 73% of the people seen in video ad creative in 2022, compared to 66% in 2021, 67% in 2020, and 74% in 2019.
- 94% of ads contain at least one white actor, the highest rate of occurrence in the four years analyzed.
- The share of people of color shown in ads dropped to 27.6% from 34.5%.
- Black actors got 14.3% of the roles in ads, down from 16.5%; Hispanics fell to 5% from 9.6%; and Asians in ads dropped to 8.3% from 8.4%.
- Men made up 65% of people seen in ads in 2022 and 73% of the voices heard, up from 64% and 65%, respectively, in 2021.
- The composition of ages represented has shifted slightly older: the 20- to 39-year-old segment dominates 2022 ad creative, at nearly three times that of the US population (78% vs. 27%).
- While 11 million people in the US are hard of hearing or functionally deaf, only one in three creative assets includes captions; similarly, 12 million people have low vision or identify as blind, but less than 1% of all ads include an audio description.
*Extreme Reach used AI to analyze 1 million ads deployed in North America, on linear TV and digital platforms, from January 2019 to October 2022, assessing each ad for its composition by ethnicity, race, gender, and age.
Sourced from Extreme Reach
[Image: Extreme Reach]
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