Why Advertising on TV Must Be Inclusive

BY Rachel Cagle
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You client wants to appeal to as many people as possible with their ads, right? After all, better ad reach means more sales. That’s why a lack of inclusivity in advertisements should be more concerning to your client, especially when advertising on TV, where the ad is all about visualization. Here are a few tips from Extreme Reach on how to make your client’s ads more inclusive to extend their reach and effectiveness.

Why Advertising on TV Must Be Inclusive

To Boost Sales (and Just be Decent Human Beings)

If TV ads from a certain brand always feature white men in between the ages of 20 and 40, how do you think that comes off to viewers? If viewers feel included and represented within an ad, don’t you think they’d choose that brand to make purchases from over one that ignores them when creating ads? That’s why it’s important to make inclusive ads when advertising on TV. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Include More Women in Ads

The U.S. population is fairly evenly divided. According to Extreme Reach, the population is 50.5% female and 49.5% male. Women outnumber men by a slight portion. So, why aren’t they featured more in advertising?

In 2022, cast members in advertisements were 65.2% men and 34.8% women. And it’s even worse when it comes to who gets speaking parts in ads. In 2022, men voiced 73.4% of ads and women voiced a measly 26.6%. On average, women are vastly underrepresented in advertising media.

And the gender gap gets even worse when we compare different industries. When brands are advertising on TV or with other visual ad types, here’s how much they favor men in various industries:

  • Sports: 79.7% of cast members in visual ads are men
  • TV, Film and Music: 69.8%
  • Technology: 68.8%
  • Automotive: 68.1%
  • Travel and Leisure: 66.6%

Even in industries where stereotypes suggest that women are more responsive to (such as retail), representation of women is sorely lacking. And this study doesn’t even touch on nonbinary representation.

When your client plans to advertising on TV, they should make it a priority to feature at least more women in their ads in order to not ostracize any potential customers.

Diversify the Age of Actors

Believe it or not, the population of the U.S. is also fairly evenly distributed among age groups:

  • Ages 19 and Under: 24.8%
  • Ages 20 to 39: 26.7%
  • 40- to 59-​year-​olds: 25.1%
  • Ages 60 and Over: 23.4%

And yet, 77.7% of visual identities in advertisements are 20- to 39-​year-​olds. So, just like the gender gap, your client needs to include a more diversified cast of various ages when creating their TV ads in order to make sure all potential customers feel represented.

Include More Actors of Diversified Races and Ethnicities

You probably guessed it, white U.S. citizens make up the majority of visual advertisements:

  • White: 72.5% of identifiable actors in visual ads
  • Black: 14.2%
  • Asian: 6.3%
  • Hispanic: 5%

While white U.S. citizens do make up the majority of the population at this time, the vast difference in representation percentages in ads means that many ads don’t even include any non-​white actors in their cast. Don’t let your client be one of the brands without a diverse cast when advertising on TV.

More to Consider

While Extreme Reach didn’t include these categories in this particular study, they also recommend diversifying:

  • Sexuality
  • Body types and sizes
  • Physical abilities and limb differences
  • The genders, ages, races, etc., of actors who perform different actions, such as household chores, shopping, etc.

The more your client diversifies their ads while advertising on TV, the less likely they are to miss out on sales from a demographic.

Who Should You Focus on in Your Client’s TV Ads?

In addition to catering to diversified demographics, your client wants to create TV ads that specifically represent their target audience’s preferences and purchase motivators. And you can get that demographic information on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel.

Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda