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White, Straight and Hopelessly Out of Touch - is this the Australian marketing industry?

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Presented at Mumbrella 360 in 2017, this unique piece of research explores how the everyday consumer feels the Australian ad industry represents them in communications, but also how advertisers can connect with a broader cross section of the community in a meaningful way. We spoke with 80 Australians from across various walks of life for two weeks using a specialised online qualitative tool, the Consumer Consulting Board, to unravel what consumers really think about ads in Australia today.

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White, Straight and Hopelessly Out of Touch - is this the Australian marketing industry?

  1. 1. White, Straight and Hopelessly Out Of Touch (…is this the Australian marketing industry?) @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  2. 2. @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  3. 3. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and gender diversity at senior management are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians Survey conducted by McKinsey, 366 public companies, internationally @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  4. 4. “With the lack of senior female mentors and role models it’s hard for women to envision themselves in a senior creative role.” Kara Jenkins Creative Director, Isobar Australia and head of SheSays Melbourne We still have a long way to go @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  5. 5. Sufficient evidence suggests that the more diverse the group of people you bring to the table to solve a problem, the better the outcome. We’re in advertising and we solve problems creatively. It’s a commercial imperative that we drive diversity in our industry to serve our clients and their businesses more effectively and more creatively. http://www.theagencycircle.com ‘The Agency Circle is taking action THE AGENCY CIRCLE A g e n c i e s c r e a t i n g d i v e r s i t y @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  6. 6. The discussion that we aren’t having… @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  7. 7. Sydney Agency People… Live in the city & inner city 41% Live in the Eastern Suburbs 25% Live on the North Shore 12% Greater West & Other 3% Live in the city & inner city Live in the Eastern Suburbs 5% Live on the North Shore 4% Greater West & Other 78% Everyone else in Sydney… Roughly one in every 11 Australians live in Greater Western Sydney* Source: AdShel Agency Study 2013; *Australian Census @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst 4%
  8. 8. • White • 27 years old • Male • Monolingual and speaks English at home • 44% live in NSW, 37% live in Sydney • Of that 24% live in the Eastern Suburbs The average media employee… PwC Geospatial Economic Modelling with census data, 2016 @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  9. 9. Middle class life in the inner city “Reach those that live outside of metro areas (ads are very city centric) and make more ads that reflect the lower income segment of society” “…so many ads show happy families that are financially well off but not those struggling to make ends meet.” @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst “Living in the city makes you do and expect everything faster. City people can also be more self absorbed, trendy and a bit fake. Country people are a bit more down to earth.” “People in small towns tend to be more polite, yet naive.”
  10. 10. Imagine you’re boarding a flight @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  11. 11. Unconscious Bias Unconscious bias: established by our own interaction with other people in our society and the media @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  12. 12. “We feel that sometimes our ads are too…“eastern suburbs” “Whenever we are reviewing our comms, this seems like the elephant in the room” What are your clients saying?What is the comms industry saying? “We used to be quite mono- cultural” @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst “Everyone is talking about it” “People need to get to know their target better…some do it better than others”
  13. 13. It’s easier than you think to miss the mark @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  14. 14. Even big budget ads can be tone deaf “Different groups and pockets of society are becoming increasingly distant from each other [… ] now more than ever the challenge isn’t just to understand and be good at creativity, but to understand people and culture as well.” Adam Ferrier @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  15. 15. @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst It’s time to ask ourselves some hard questions @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  16. 16. But it’s also time to listen to consumers when you can @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  17. 17. 17 “There is still a massive gap in health, education and income with our indigenous communities; many minorities still feel marginalised; racism, transphobia, homophobia and sexism is still rife in many workplaces” “Australia is on the right track, [but] we are so far ahead in some regard, but then so so lacking.“ Australians are still grappling with diversity @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  18. 18. …it’s no surprise that the ad industry is also struggling with diversity “Some new ads have made a great effort and step towards capturing the diversity of modern Australians in a society where differences should be more respected and embraced.” “What you see on TV hasn’t caught up with reality. Australia prides itself as a multi-cultural country but it hasn’t been reflected on the screen.” Jenny Zhang, Founder/CEO, Totem Pictures, to PwC, 9 March 2016 @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  19. 19. It’s a balancing act @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  20. 20. Telstra: Technology is wondrous “It works when the diversity feels interwoven with the story of the ad itself.” “An ad that truly reflects our diverse society will be one where you don't notice that it is supposed to look diverse, because it just looks like everyday life” @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst Integrate diversity into the story…it should be invisible and seamless
  21. 21. Coca-Cola: Pool Boy 2017 Integrate diversity into the story…it should be invisible and seamless @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst Diet Coke: Window Cleaner 1994
  22. 22. “Ads are getting better at reflecting diversity in Australia, but some come across as employing tokenism as a way to make money, which looks pretty bad.“ Take care to avoid ‘Tokenism’ “Australia is on the right path with diversity in advertising. It is a difficult issue to address though, and I think it's important to recognise that when companies try too hard to appear accepting of diversity it comes across as insincere.” @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  23. 23. Take care with stereotypes “A lot of old stereotypes still are in play and a bit behind the times. It would be refreshing to see something modern.” “Forcing stereotypes of Aussies in ads just shows lack of originality and creativity…It would be refreshing to see something modern.” “When watching some commercials, I feel modern day Australians are portrayed as idiots.” @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  24. 24. But certain executions of stereotypes can work “I like ads with a bit of humour and ones that touch on some quintessential aspect of the irreverent and playful Australian sense of humour” MLA: You never lamb alone Bundaberg Rum: Unmistakably ours “Classic Australian larrikinism, show's the diversity of the Australian culture, as well as our ability to take the piss out of ourselves.” @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  25. 25. Opportunity to build positive cultural change by challenging gender stereotypes “The inclusion of reversed traditional gender roles such as men doing the grocery shopping or being represented in an activity traditionally considered 'womens' roles.” “Gender stereotypes in children are defined between the age of 5 and 7 yrs of age” “Unilever recognised there is a glaring gap between the worlds of marketing and real women and has moved to “unstereotype" its communications. "Forty percent of women don't recognise themselves in advertising." Aline Santos, EVP/Global Marketing at Unilever, reported at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  26. 26. Opportunity to drive positive cultural change by challenging age stereotypes “Older people use the internet and pay bills too, LOL. I'm 60 and a grandma, so I guess I'd like to see more of my generation in advertising, apart from face cream that makes you look 10 minutes younger! “ “There definitely seems to be an age bias in ads, especially for smartphones, internet deals, electronics, holidays, etc. I feel inundated by ads for Funeral Insurance. I tell you what, it will be the death of me! “ @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  27. 27. Consumer are truth seekers: they can easily spot something fake “This is superbly done! It achieves this by using believable characters and showing very realistic family situations - the whole gamut” @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst Dolmio: Pepper Hacker
  28. 28. Dept of Finance: The Game Changers Consumer are truth seekers: they can easily spot something fake “Stilted delivery, cringeworthy viewing. Just seems overly fake, over the top, like they are trying too hard.” @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  29. 29. @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst Lush breaking down traditional beauty norms: Real People Images courtesy of Natasha Ritz, Lush
  30. 30. Walk the talk; live and breathe your company beliefs @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  31. 31. Find the common ground @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  32. 32. Speak to universal human truths @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  33. 33. “Qantas are making a great stand, they have been ahead of the game with equal rights for some time now, despite copping flack.” “Challenge misconceptions and don’t just jump on the “community care” bandwagon”. The question is…Lead or Follow? @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  34. 34. What can you do? • Get out and talk to your target • Immerse yourself • Check yourself when judging consumers • Get off the tourist trail • Workplace: Broaden the recruitment base of your team “People and life are not so one dimensional.” “We are so diverse that they cannot pigeonhole just one group of people. Things like that sometimes turn me off” @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst
  35. 35. Be an agent for positive change @DirectionFirst @DirectionFirst “…if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.” - Junot Diaz – Pulitzer Prize Winner

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