Ben Bold
May 23, 2022

One in five LGBTQ+ people find ads aimed at them miss the mark

Half of LGBTQ+ people think brands should avoid stereotyping individuals, with traditional media worst at being inclusive.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

One in 10 LGBTQ+ people have been targeted by ads based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, but only one in five deemed it a positive experience, according to Nielsen research.

LGBTQ+ respondents made a number of recommendations as to how advertisers can improve inclusion: by avoiding stereotyping (50%), being more authentic and realistic in depictions of LGBTQ+ people (44%), and involving the community when planning and creating ads (37%).

Conducted in collaboration with Dynata, the study delved into inclusivity in programming and advertising content, as well as general media consumption by the LGBTQ+ community.

It is not only brands that are failing to be relevant to LGBTQ+ individuals – media inclusivity was also found to be lacking (although things are improving): 63% of the LGBTQ+ community considered the media industry had improved in both its programming and advertising content in the past two years.

Unsurprisingly, traditional media formats fared worse than their digital counterparts at being inclusive, the study found, with one in five respondents considering radio, newspaper and magazine content as the least inclusive channels.

Conversely, a quarter of respondents said that channels such as social, on-demand streaming and influencer content were inclusive in their content. On-demand services came top. With 68% of LGBTQ+ people typically watching BBC iPlayer (ahead of Netflix), a greater proportion than the general population. LGBTQ+ people are 16% more likely than the UK population to watch iPlayer.

More ostensibly old-school advertising sectors were also less inclusive in their advertising messaging. Insurance, financial services and automotive companies were deemed less inclusive than fashion/clothing, beauty, travel and tourism, which were deemed more inclusive.

Amanda Woodley, Nielsen Business Resource Group's head of media analytics and UK Pride lead, said: "It is encouraging to see that we are heading in the right direction with 63% agreeing inclusivity has improved over two years. The purpose and consumption of some of the most recent and modern forms of media are more aligned with the requirements of the LGBTQ+ community now.

"However, the focus should also be placed on more traditional forms of offline media, to deliver more inclusive content. The media, advertising and measurement industry needs to ensure people are at the centre of everything we do and that advertising to the LGBTQ+ community should be more than just inclusive ads over Pride month; let's make inclusivity a priority all year round."

The research was conducted among 625 respondents from the LGBTQ+ community.

Campaign UK

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