Ads are always in pursuit of our consumer dollars. Now, it appears advertisers are doing more to acknowledge the diversity of the consumers they’re trying to win over.
The number of straight, interracial couples in the US increased 28 percent — by 5.4 million — between 2000 and 2010, growing to one in 10. The number of same-sex couple homes has grown nine percent in that time period, up 646,000.
As a result, you’re starting to see more ads and commercials with diverse lifestyles reflected.
We started to see that last year with the now-famous interracial Cheerios commercial. The backlash to that ad was met with equal amounts of push back from people who supported the brand’s message. Even before that, points out Ad Age, we had JC Penney’s defense of Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson in the face of opposition. And, before that, ads like those from Benetton.
but while they were once few and far between, ads featuring diversity are starting to pop up with greater regularity. Now we have the interracial family in the Swiffer ad. The various families in the Chevrolet commercials that aired during the Olympics (one is above) that didn’t cause a stir. The image above is from Banana Republic’s latest campaign. And then there was Coke’s Super Bowl ad featuring people singing “America the Beautiful” in different languages.
Ad Age goes so far as to draw a line from brands and their more diverse outlooks and their stance against Arizona’s attempt to pass a law that would allow businesses to discriminate against gay customers. Pressure from companies like Apple, no doubt, played a small role in Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to veto that law.
Still, the companies aren’t willing to talk openly about these more progressive ads in great detail besides comments of the support for the message they send. The magazine was in touch with a number of the advertisers for comment and didn’t get much. (MadameNoire Business was also in touch with Cheerios for a story a few weeks back and the brand declined to share more than a brief statement.)
There’s an counterintuitive downside to this: with more general market advertising agencies doing this sort of work, it could lead to declines in business for multicultural agencies.