Not only is there no downside to casting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) individuals in ads, Caucasians respond more favorably to these ads than non-Caucasians, research from Canada shows.

Why it matters

In not bringing more diverse casting to ads, brands are missing the opportunity to connect with diverse audiences and forgoing hundreds of millions of dollars in business opportunities.

What’s the story? 

  • Research on diversity in ads may lack credibility because of social desirability bias, and this may provide cover for inaction for those who continue to resist it, according to WPP’s john st. and neuromarketing agency Brainsights. 
  • They found people respond well to ads that feature a diverse cast; Caucasians are even more responsive than non-Caucasians across metrics including attention, connection, encoding and persuasiveness.
  • Second-by-second response analysis for each audience segment across each metric shows few similarities between what engaged and persuaded Caucasians and non-Caucasians.


Diversity perspectives must be reflected in writing and directing as well as casting in order to ensure advertisers are representing and telling stories that connect with increasingly diverse audiences.

Read more in The WARC Guide to new research in marketing

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