You know when you get stuck scrolling Instagram in the bathroom after a very long day? Scrolling an endless amount of beautiful tropical villas but all of a sudden… An ad appears… Two children, a boy and a girl are playing. The boy with the stereotypical blue shirt and the girl with the stereotypical pink. The boy was playing with a toy car and the girl with a princess doll… Worst of all... This was an actual ad! A REAL ad that someone created and thought was a good idea. I mean common, have we not come past the stone age yet? Is this actually what we want 2022 to be like? No, no, no and a big noooo!
I bet you are just like me and get disgusted by the thought of such an ad… Luckily, we are not the only ones feeling this way. Remember what I wrote in the beginning? 70% of Gen Z consumers are more trusting of brands that represent diversity in ads. Why is that you may ask? Because diversity and representation create relatability, and without relatability, it is very difficult to build trust. Meaning diversity and representation is not only a matter of equality but also sales performance. People buy from whom they know, it is as simple as that. But this is obviously an issue of much greater importance than just economics.
This is a matter of inclusivity, equality and innovation. Today's advertising does not represent reality. In fact, we are far off… 1/4 live with a disability but only 1% of ads represent them, according to Heat Test Report. We must be able to think several steps ahead… We need to think like scientists. ”If we do this…” ”This, this and this can happen.” ”And if that were to happen, this would happen.” And so forth. If only 1 in 100 ads show people with disabilities, then that is the reality that is being conveyed. In this case, that will be a GIGANTIC difference from reality. Let’s say you are looking at a group of 100 people, it will be impossible for you to remember all their faces. But in a group of 4, you will remember each and every one of them vividly.
So how do we become better at representation? It starts with us holding ourselves accountable for the impact our advertising has. We must understand that our work makes a difference, for better or worse. And act accordingly… With accountability then comes education. The next step is to move past our reality distortion fields… We do that by educating ourselves on the matter. Follow the science and listen to the facts. It is always good to have several sources confirming each other. But a trustworthy source will do just fine. Then the third step is to implement it in our work. Use the newfound information to portray reality or better yet… The future reality we want.
Because having a person of color as the superhero for once might make a child limitless. Because featuring people with dyslexia as surgeons might spark a light in a struggling teen. Because people deserve to be treated equally… Representation is your responsibility. It is your task.Remember… With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility.
Want to learn more about Sustainable Advertising?