Why the Representation of American Indians Matters in Ads

BY Rachel Cagle
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When was the last time your client included American Indians in their advertising campaigns? An instance probably doesn’t come to mind. Why is that? American Indians may be one of the smaller groups of Americans. However, they are prominent in many areas throughout the nation. This consumer group also has a great deal of influence in many markets. A good example is the sway this consumer group had during this year's presidential election.

American Indians and Media

According to a report by Nielsen, American Indians between the ages of 18 and 34 have increased their news consumption by 41% this year. They are also avid users of smartphones and social media. Both of these are useful, “to advocate for greater visibility of their diverse cultures and accurate portrayals in media,” says Nielsen. In fact, 96% of these consumers own smartphones.

This rise in indigenous people’s political power and presence in the media is important for marketers and other non-​politicians to tune into. The conversation around racial injustice, which kicked off with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, has expanded to other ethnic groups like Native Americans who have also long faced discrimination and other injustices. Companies, brands, and politicians alike will continue to be called upon to take action,” said Charlene Polite Corley, VP of Diverse Insights & Partnerships at Nielsen Media. “The question is, how can media be more inclusive of Native Americans to bring the stories of their communities to the forefront?”

It's not just American Indians who want to see more inclusion of their citizens and culture in media and advertising. About 67% of Americans as a whole want to see American Indians be included more in entertainment. Learning about these cultures is also an area of interest for the country.

Media Types

Mobile and social media aren’t the only advertising methods that can reach American Indian consumers. TV is also a major source of entertainment, news, and advertising consumption. Digital advertisements outside of mobile and social media will unfortunately fall flat when targeting American Indian consumers. Nielsen reports that the adoption of internet connected devices, aside from smartphones, among this consumer group is currently lagging. So, traditional ad types, particularly TV, should be utilized when targeting this audience with ads. But your clients should remember to use mobile and social media ads, as well for digital inclusion.

Americans have more time on their hands during the COVID-​19 pandemic than they know what to do with most days. As a result, they’re paying more attention to the brands and companies they make purchases from. Social justice and equality are two major issues that are being spotlighted this year. And it’s not limited to the Black Lives Matter movement. American consumers are looking for the inclusion of all types of citizens, including American Indians, in brand representation. If your client is lacking in that department, they could lose existing customers and miss out on potential new business as well. So, it’s time to get to work on new, inclusive ads! Check out your client’s target audience’s profile on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel to find other advertising media to include in their next multichannel campaign.