Nikita Mishra
Dec 1, 2022

WPP goes 'Beyond the Rainbow' to better understand queer audiences

Done on more than 7,500 respondents, the study aims to be a practical guide to bridge the gaps in the current Pride marketing model.

WPP goes 'Beyond the Rainbow' to better understand queer audiences

Events at Qatar, the vilification of JK Rowling in 2020 or the recent senseless shooting at a Colorado gay club goes to show LGBTQ+ rights are not only still marginalized but also tricky to navigate.

WPP attempted to deep dive into the issue with an all queer team to launch a new global study on LGBTQ+ marketing and its future. Titled Beyond the Rainbow, the study surveyed 7,500 LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ people in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada to get a better grip on their perceptions and experiences of viewing their identities in media and advertising. The aim is to the bridge the understanding gap in Pride marketing between the LGBTQ+ audiences and the clients.

Source: WPP

Highlights include:

  • Among young people, queer media has become mainstream: 93% of LGBTQ+ 18–24 year olds and 85% of non-LGBTQ+ 18–24 year olds actively seek out queer media, proving its universal appeal
  • The quality and quantity of queer media needs improvement: Just 38% of those who seek out queer content are satisfied with the way LGBTQ+ people are represented, and 2 out of 3 LGBTQ+ people want to see more queer representation
  • More than half of LGBTQ+ people are still not completely out at work: Only 40% are completely open about their sexuality with colleagues, while 50% are open about their gender identity
  • There’s an income gap when it comes to being out at work: Those on the highest incomes were 37% more likely to be completely open at work than those on the lowest incomes
  • 52% of LGBTQ+ people like it when brands change their logos to the rainbow flag colours during Pride month. However, 3 out of 4 LGBTQ+ people and half of non- LGBTQ+ people think brands should do more to support LGBTQ+ people outside Pride month.

Michael Houston, president of WPP in the US, said: “In a world where the LGBTQ+ community continues to face discrimination and violent attacks, the power that our industry has to create change should not be underestimated.

"WPP has a responsibility to educate and empower our people, our clients, and our allies to positively and meaningfully influence the cultural representation of the LGBTQ+ community through marketing, advertising and communications.”

Jay Brown, senior VP programs, research, and rraining for the human rights campaign, added: “WPP’s study helps with employee engagement, customer loyalty and a company's bottom line. And beyond that, it can help make the world safer and more welcoming for us all. We’re glad to have WPP Unite as a partner in this work.”

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