The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion – a view from OOH. Colum Harmon, marketing director, PML Group with this week’s Out \ Look.


Everyone, Everywhere.

The past decade has seen a major shift in society around the topic of equality and representation.   Advertising has a huge role to play, with a powerful ability to shape a narrative. It is important for potential customers to see themselves in a brand’s marketing communications and it will make them more inclined towards a brand.

A 2019 study by Adobe in the US found that 6 in 10 respondents consider diversity in advertising important and that 40% have turned away from brands they felt were not inclusive in their advertising. So, inclusive marketing is not just the right thing to do but it can also drive action among under-represented groups. Anecdotally, we can all see that the ads on our TVs and on the billboards we pass every day are becoming more diverse in their depictions and that’s also reflected in the Adobe study, with almost 70% saying they have seen more diversity in advertising that they did three years ago.

As part of PML Group’s ongoing iQ research series, we have investigated the importance of diversity in this market and how a more diverse approach will transfer positively to consumer perceptions of your brand.

More than 40% of respondents believe OOH advertising caters for everyone by reaching a diverse audience, in terms of gender, age, race and ethnicity. So, OOH is not only powerful in delivering inclusive messages, but it’s also one of the best in terms of reaching diverse audiences, given its ubiquitous public nature. Other high coverage, ‘broad cast’ media such as TV and social media also feature strongly in this metric. But what do consumers think of brands who make the effort to be more inclusive in their OOH ads?

Firstly, we can see it builds trust in a brand. Of those expressing an opinion, 64% believe that ads that are diverse and inclusive are authentic and trustworthy. This rises to 72% among females and 69% among 16-24 year olds. We know from our ‘Matters of Trust’ study last year that trust is so important in driving consumer action so a clear trust-building approach like this should be high on a brand’s agenda.

By adopting an inclusive approach, brands will be seen as market leading. 76% of 45+ year olds believe inclusive ads suggest market leadership. For all adults, this figure is 67% and is 78% among females. Progressive brands are identifying this, and we are seeing change on our streets.

A notable outcome of the study is the difference between males and females in how they view diversity, inclusion, and representation in advertising. For instance, 81% of females believe such ads are making a real effort to ‘communicate with me’ compared to 68% of males.

Females are also more likely to believe these ads generate trust (72% v 57%). The reasons for this could be many and varied but perhaps it points to an underrepresentation of women in certain product category ads up to now and more of a realisation on their part as to how that has affected their relationship with brands.

Ultimately, advertising is about moving minds and influencing people to act. What this study shows is that incorporating inclusion and diversity into your communications strategy will enhance your advertising’s ability to deliver on these aims.  Two thirds of respondents feel more positively towards a brand as a result of such an approach – 79% of females, 77% of 25-34 year olds and 71% of C1 social class.

For 6 in 10 respondents, such advertising would encourage them to buy the product or service.

Diverse audiences are found in diverse locations. Out of Home advertising is a location medium, but with an unmatched creative canvas that really can include Everyone, Everywhere.


WATCH Q1 Report

This week, we published our full Q1 WATCH market report for OOH. The report includes top spending advertisers and OOH categories in the first three months of the year

To see the full report please click the image below

And, Finally….

Nice piece of reactive OOH this week from DAZN, following Katie Taylor’s brilliant victory in New York. Simple but effective use of Digital OOH to respond to real world events, including a reminder call to action for those who didn’t see it live.  Well done Katie and DAZN!