Diversity in Advertising

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Brands and agencies have made obvious efforts this year to feature much more diverse casts in their ads and things have definitely progressed.

However, after the latest Sainsbury’s ad was met with unexpected backlash from viewers, we all started thinking about what else adland can do to stand together and fight racism.

Is it enough?

Looking only a year back at Christmas campaigns, we can all agree that this year things have improved in terms of showcasing diversity. Big advertisers like Amazon, Argos, Disney and Tesco have taken corrective steps and this is reflected in their Christmas campaigns, where the cast has been more inclusive than ever. But diversity on-screen needs to also be met with increased diversity behind it. What really matters is that brands and agencies tackle racism and diversity together, as a holistic challenge across all aspects of the business.

Find out more on the Drum website here.


Sainsbury’s trio of nostalgic Christmas ads celebrate food, family and memory, but despite the festive sentiment and feel-good nature, the ads have received some racist backlash online. In true 2020 fashion, rival supermarkets showed their solidarity with Sainsbury’s and ran their adverts back-to-back during two primetime slots on Channel 4 on Friday evening, with the hashtag #StandAgainstRacism. A Channel 4 announcement introduced the ad break, saying: “Channel 4 stands up against racism. After the reaction to this year’s Sainsbury’s Christmas commercial, retailers have put their usual festive rivalries aside across two ad breaks tonight to stand side-by-side with us too.”

You can find out more on the Guardian website here

The future isn’t waiting

Retailer Nike has faced backlash in Japan over an ad, titled The Future Isn’t Waiting, that highlights the racial discrimination in the country. The video dwells on real-life experience from 3 young football players in the country who come from mixed heritage. Gaining 25 million and counting views on social media people are questioning if the apparel brand was right to just single out Japan when this issue is not exclusive to them.

Find out more here

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