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BizReport : Advertising archives : November 28, 2016

Marketers increasingly reflect diversity in campaign image selection

Images depicting racial and sexual diversity are increasingly being chosen by marketers for their campaigns, according to new research from stock photography provider Shutterstock.

by Helen Leggatt

In a survey of 500 marketers in the UK, Shutterstock found a "shifting attitude" towards the selection of images to accompany marketing campaigns. Nearly half (49%) had chosen to select photography depicting racial diversity in the past year and 32% had used images of gay couples to reflect sexual diversity.

This, concludes the study, reflects marketers' desire to reflect modern society and, indeed, among marketers more than three-quarters (79%) prioritized the reflection of today's diverse gender identities and 71% racial diversity, over linking to brand message (29%).

The need to be inclusive through image choice is also backed up by a fear of being seen as discriminatory. In fact, Caucasian models are being used less by 34% of marketers and 33% are using less images of heterosexual couples. Overall, 38% of marketers are not using imagery of heterosexual couples as they feel they no longer fit well with a brand message.

Shutterstock's study found that marketers in the finance industry were the least likely to use images depicting diversity (28%), while HR companies were the most likely (60%).

"Marketing, like many other fields, has a diversity problem," says Robyn Lange, curator at Shutterstock. "The people chosen to represent campaigns have an obvious and visual impact on public life. Therefore, marketers need to be more inclusive through their choice of images."

Tags: advertising, creative, marketing, stock photography

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