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DSC Research Finds 54% Of LGBTQIA+ Community Think They Are Not Represented in Ads at Christmas


In response to research done by The Diversity Standards Collective and Mindshare UK, they have created suggestions for how to make next year’s Christmas ads more inclusive

DSC Research Finds 54% Of LGBTQIA+ Community Think They Are Not Represented in Ads at Christmas

Research carried out by The Diversity Standard Collective (DSC) and Mindshare UK shows that when 100 members of the LGBTQIA+ were asked ‘what are some of the more challenging parts of the festive period’, an astonishing 54% said ‘Not seeing myself in advertising and film’.

This concern was the number one response from all surveyed and ranked higher than fears of ‘Exposure from homophobic/transphobic ignorance from blood relatives’ (49%) and ‘Exposure from homophobic/transphobic ignorance from others’ (49%). 

This research shows just how negatively the Christmas ads put out by the industry and the way we work affects many members of the British public. 

The respondents were individuals from all over the UK and spread across genders and sexual preference. The intersects that responded highly to this question were non-binary people and bisexual people - who we know have little to no representation in our ads at all the online research was carried out earlier this year when agencies and brands were at the Christmas campaign planning stage. 

CEO and Founder of The Diversity Standard Collective Rich Miles, said: “To not see yourself represented on screen is not only disappointing and disheartening, but it feels like a form of rejection. It’s like the party you were not invited to. This research is proof our industry has a massive impact on our consumers, not only when buying products but on their acceptance and place within society. It's important that we acknowledge this and start making improvements.”

To help tackle this problem in Christmas 2022 the DSC and Mindshare has created a list of ways in which agencies and clients can change their approach to producing Christmas ads:

● LGBTQIA+ representation within ads and film doesn’t always need to be a massive statement. It can be as simple as changing a script from, “She bought me this for Christmas'' to “They bought me this for Christmas”- by using they/ them pronouns in scripts is a really simple way we can be more inclusive.

● Use other parts of the ads environment to add queer nuances - Subtle changes within the adverts environment such as same sex characters holding hands in shots or simply putting testosterone hormone gel, used by some transgender people in a bathroom shot, or even having images and posters of women in a girls bedroom. 

● Do more research to understand the many different experiences the LGBTQIA+ community have  - Ads need to represent the different experiences and the everyday life of the LGBTQIA+ community and agencies need to remember the impact their work has on our behavior. The recent Stonewall Christmas ad features couples in LGBTQIA+ relationships kissing publicly and is a good example of how our industry can be inclusive during and beyond the festive period. We can’t view D&I as a trend, it needs to be considered every step of the way when creating work. We need to ensure all communities are valued and represented within advertising each year and not just once.

Jem Lloyd-Williams CEO Mindshare, said: “Through our partnership with the DSC, working on briefs from clients across our spectrum, we have learned a huge amount we would never otherwise have known about different people’s attitudes towards brands and the advertising that promotes them. This insight is a clear and strong illustration of the effect – in this case highly distressing – advertising and popular culture such as films can have on communities that are not equally represented in the content we watch.”

Miles added: “I’m queer and growing up there were no LGBTQIA+ role models within advertising and marketing. There is now so much hype over Christmas ads, everyone looks forward to the Christmas ad launch - even people outside of our industry. Our work with Mindshare aims to educate and create change within advertising, making brands more aware that the community needs to be portrayed. Recently we as an industry have been working on improving D&I initiatives, we can't do the paperwork and not the actions.” 

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