The obsession with ‘diversity’ in advertising feels a little sinister.
By Patrick West | 31 August 2017
SPIKED — According to a report in The Times on Saturday, advertisers are ‘so worried about being accused of racism or homophobia’ that they are shying away from using images of white people and straight couples. A survey of 500 companies by Shutterstock Inc reveals that a third of advertisers questioned said they had used fewer white models and heterosexuals over the past year, and they were taking this approach to ‘prevent perceived discrimination’. Marketing departments are even putting diversity above relevance to their target audience, ‘to avoid accusations of bigotry’.
That ethnic minorities are over-represented in television adverts has become obvious over the past 12 months. If you live in London, Birmingham or Manchester, where the majority of ethnic-minority Britons live, or places with sizeable or majority ethnic-minority populations, such as Leicester, Bradford, Oldham or Burnley, you may not have noticed this. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of Britain has. I have anyway. The Britain as represented on television adverts these days scarcely resembles the east Kent in which I live. For example, while there are hardly any white faces in current McDonald’s adverts, there are hardly any black faces in McDonald’s in Dover or Folkestone.
It’s a similar story for the over-representation of gay people. Big cities and Brighton have their gay communities, gay residential areas and Gay Pride marches, but the rest of Britain only has gay individuals. I happen to live in a town that has always had a large gay population, but it’s never had a gay ‘community’. Here they have always been middle-aged or pensioners, long settled with their partners and well beyond the age of playing the mating game or needing to proclaim who they are. […]