Intersectional advertising grows and deepens consumer ties with a brand, according to The Unstereotype Alliance's new report Beyond Gender 2, which was produced with support from Lions.
The report revealed that advertising that represents people across a variety of social categorisations resonates with all consumers.
Furthermore, the inclusion of progressive and intersectional portrayals of people drives feelings of "closeness" with a brand, with a significantly acute impact on underrepresented and traditionally marginalised communities.
While intersectionality in advertising may be seen as affecting only a small or targeted group of people, the research illustrates its impact can be far broader.
The research was conducted by Ipsos across four countries: Japan, Turkey, the UK and the US.
In the UK, it found 59% of people feel underrepresented in advertising, while intersectional ads that represent people across a variety of social categorisations performed well (+4.1).
The report marks the second instalment of the study, conducted by the Unstereotype Alliance.
The first, published in 2018, centred on how gender intersects with cultural contexts and forms of discrimination in Brazil, India and South Africa.
Convened by UN Women, the Unstereotype Alliance is a thought and action platform that seeks to eradicate harmful stereotypes from advertising and media.
“This unique study not only demonstrates that advertising has the ability to drive positive social change, but that fully representative and inclusive portrayals of people in all their unique complexities is good for business in every market,” Sara Denby, head of the Unstereotype Alliance Secretariat, UN Women, said.
“The distinct findings across the countries underscore the importance of approaching intersectionality through a culturally-nuanced lens, both in terms of representation, and the consideration of people’s experiences and feelings in each community.”
Adding to this, Philip Thomas, chairman of Lions, said: “Lions supports these initiatives, firstly because they raise awareness of the issues facing our industry and secondly and, perhaps more importantly, because they offer best practice guidance on how we can drive change and progress.
“Intersectionality in advertising is an incredibly important area of focus; it supports the full and true representation of people’s lived experiences, and of course it’s been shown to drive business too.
"It’s our hope that people actively engage with the findings of this research and the importance of an intersectional approach so that we see more progressive and representational advertising reflected back.”