Unilever, the second-largest advertiser in the world, has pledged to improve inclusion in its advertising, eliminate stereotypes and partner with diverse suppliers, including businesses owned by women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community and people of color. The effort aims to "tackle the prevalence of stereotypes that are often perpetuated through advertising, and promote a more inclusive representation of people," Unilever said.
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Brands took to social media to mark Inauguration Day, with Patagonia, Ben & Jerry's, Cisco and Amazon among those that tweeted messages advocating for social causes. The majority of brand messaging focused on celebrating Kamala Harris becoming the first female, Black American and South Asian American vice president and 22-year-old Amanda Gorman's reading as US youth poet laureate.
Consumers expect brands to face issues of social justice and diversity through marketing and storytelling that amplifies voices and builds trust, writes Ty Heath, who is the global lead at LinkedIn's B2B Institute. "Marketers build community, and communities are vital in charting the path forward in diversity, equity and inclusion," Heath writes.
Brand loyalty among Americans declined to 49% in November from 65% in March, a trend driven by difficulties with supply chains and consumers switching to cheaper brands during the pandemic, according to an Omnicom Media Group study. Additionally, 49% of respondents changed brands to "take a stand" as a result of a brand's response to the social justice movement.
Awards shows may look different this year, but one constant remains: People love to talk about them. Tweets will drive the red carpet conversation and virtual watch parties will be the norm. Now is the time to plan your sponsorship strategies for before, during, and after each show. Learn more.
The decision faced by brands of whether to advertise during Inauguration Day highlights the growing importance advertisers are placing on the ethics of their media spend and which channels or platforms they should be supporting. "Clients are realizing the content that they're funding matters as it can have an adverse impact on society that hurts customers, which subsequently hurts business," says Universal McCann's Joshua Lowcock.
A brand's values and commitment to diversity and social justice play the most significant role in the buying process for Black and African-American consumers, followed, respectively, by Asian, Hispanic and Latino and white individuals, according to a Numerator study. Numerator cited AT&T, Amazon, State Farm and the NFL as leading brands running ads with diverse characters for the 52 weeks that ended Nov. 30.
The public appears disposed to be amused even when they are conscious of being deceived. -- P.T. Barnum
The 19th century showman P.T. Barnum believed that "without promotion, something terrible happens … nothing." Violent insurrection is not amusing and not nothing. Barnum knew how to manipulate his audience and draw in the crowds to make money. Whether it was the Fiji mermaid or General Tom Thumb, the show must earn. Barnum didn't consider his curiosities and exhibits as frauds as long as the audience was entertained and felt they got their money's worth.
Donald Trump with his own form of self-promotion and Post-Truth denialism manipulated and continues to deceive. He and all those responsible need to be held accountable. What was previously excused as Blurred Responsibility is coalescing into Brand Activism. Companies are pulling their financial support from GOP members and their fraudulent claims and deplatforming their deceptive messages. Let us hope this is the start to end this uncivil war as without the money and the platform, "without promotion, something wonderful happens … nothing."
For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it If only we're brave enough to be it. -- Amanda Gorman