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  • Writer's pictureRob Ellis

This diversity thing is really kicking off

The ASA has been in the news recently for finding that ads from VW and Philadelphia fell foul of the new gender stereotype ban. It's been on the TV news, radio news (you can imagine what Radio 4's Today programme's 75 year old presenter made of it) (we note the age to hint at identity not to stigmatise!), in the papers and on Twitter of course.

The trade press has had a say too, with some sticking up for the ads, and others sticking up for the ASA. Campaign published the following piece featuring some ad industry heavyweights, with most supporting the ASA's move

I was encouraged to read people I respect and trust like Ali Hannan, Lindsey Clay and Craig Mawdsley backing the ASA decision, and suggesting this is the right way to go for the ad business. I agree because it feels the right thing to do. But it turns out it is actually also the smart thing to do!

Aline Santos of Unilever, (Executive vice-president of global marketing and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Unilever. diversity and inclusion officer at Unilever. @alinecsantos in case you didn't know!) writing in The Drum reveals that big research studies show that progressive advertising creates 37% more branded impact and 28% increase in purchase intent. There is a 35% increase in enjoyment of ads, a 30% increase in credibility. Reducing stereotypes in advertising is good for people, good for society and good for business. This is from the recent Kantar study they ran, and you can read the full article at

So just like the discovery that diverse companies are more successful, diverse ads and non-stereotypical ads are more successful too. What a cheering discovery in what is otherwise a challenging time in the UK for us progressive, liberal types.

COG has done a lot around researching, understanding, and trying to get the message out about diversity: this will only encourage us to keep making noise and cheering on the good guys. Respect to Unilever for running this study, and to people like Creative Equals and everyone who is working to change the face of our business and the output of our business.

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