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Work & Wellbeing Diversity & Inclusion

Black, Asian and Hispanic representation in ads declined in 2022

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By Ellen Ormesher, Senior Reporter

December 14, 2022 | 4 min read

Study by Extreme Reach used AI to analyze ads from 2020 to 2022 and found that diverse representation was down year-on-year.

DE&I

White actors have accounted for 73% of the people seen in video ad creative in 2022

Despite numerous pledges from adland to increase diversity and representation in ads, recent findings by creative logistics firm Extreme Reach show that video advertising on linear and digital outlets is whiter in 2022 than in the past two years, and roughly equivalent to 2019 levels. It also found that male actors are far more common in ads than female actors.

Overall, the percentage of people of color in ads actually went up during 2020 and 2021 – likely due to the number of pledges and efforts taken following the Black Lives Matter protests and the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 – but over the past year it dropped. Extreme Reach data shows this is true across all advertising verticals.

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Extreme Reach used AI technology to analyze over a million ads deployed across North America, on both linear TV and digital platforms, from January 2019 to October 2022 – assessing each ad for its composition by ethnicity, race, gender and age.

What did it find?

  • White actors accounted for 73% of the people seen in video ad creative in 2022, compared with 66% in 2021, 67% in 2020 and 74% in 2019

  • 94% of ads contain at least one white actor, the highest rate of occurrence in the four years analyzed

  • Black, Asian and Hispanic representation in video ad creative declined this year, with Hispanic representation reaching its lowest mark in four years

  • Men make up 65% of people seen in ads in 2022 and 73% of the voices heard, up from 64% and 65% respectively in 2021

  • In terms of age, while the composition of ages represented has shifted slightly older, the 20-39-year-old segment dominates 2022 ad creative, at nearly three times that of the US population (78% v 27%)
Extreme Reach

“Diversity is such an important topic, yet there has been little quantifiable information available at scale related to the people featured in advertising creative,” said Melinda McLaughlin, CMO of Extreme Reach. “We set out to give brands and agencies the information needed to make the decisions that matter to their business. This report provides a high-level view of diversity in ads that establishes the baseline for the industry, from which brands can devise their own unique roadmap.”

Work & Wellbeing Diversity & Inclusion

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