Gender And Racial Inequalities Persist In Ads

In 2019, representation of black and brown people in ads reached 38 percent, down from 43.1 percent in 2018, according to a study on inclusion and bias in advertising from Cannes Lions and The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. The report analyzed representations of gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disability, age and body size in Cannes Lions ads from 2006 to 2019.

Despite the 5.1 percent decline, racially diverse characters garnered 46.4 percent of screen time in 2019 ads.

Since 2006, the first time the organizations analyzed race in ads, the number of black and brown people shown in ads grew by 12.1 percent, from 25.9 percent in 2006 to 38 percent in 2019. On the other hand, white characters saw a decrease, from 74.1 percent in 2006 to 62 percent in 2019.

Still, the industry has a long way to go in eliminating racial bias in ads as white characters are more likely to be shown working than those of color (20.5 percent compared with 17.2 percent). White people are also more likely to be portrayed as smart than black and brown people (10.1 percent vs. 7.6 percent).

The report also found racial differences in depictions of work, eating/drinking, exercising and in a classroom, as well as a discrepancy in representations of intelligence. So while advertisers have made creative more racially diverse, they’ve also continued to reinforce negative stereotypes.

Representation of women in ads has remained mostly stagnant. In 2019, male characters outnumbered female characters two to one (61.4 percent vs. 38.6 percent). What’s worse, male actors have twice the screen time and speaking time as female actors (69.3 percent vs. 30.6 percent).

Gender equality in ads has fluctuated over the past decade; representation of women peaked at 40.2 percent in 2014 (vs. 59.8 percent for men). Since then, the percentage of males shown in ads has also fluctuated, but has never dropped below 59 percent.

This gender imbalance can also be seen in the portrayals of work, leadership and personal attributes in ads. Nearly twice as many male characters are shown working as female characters (22.2 percent vs. 13.3 percent). Male characters are also more likely to be depicted as leaders than female characters (16.6 percent compared with 10.1 percent). Additionally, more male characters are shown as funny than female characters (22.1 percent vs. 15.4 percent). Female characters are nearly twice as likely to be shown as partially nude, and four times more likely to be shown in revealing clothing than their male counterparts (10.8 percent compared with 2.2 percent).

For LGBTQ+ characters, the figures are worse: just 1.8 percent of characters with a discernible sexual orientation in ads are LGBTQ+, compared to 10 percent of people globally.

Advertisers also represent LGBTQ+ characters differently than non-LGBTQ+ ones. For example, non-LGBTQ+ characters are more likely to be shown working than LGBTQ+ characters (18.9 percent vs. 6.9 percent), and as smart (8.9 percent vs. 6.8 percent).

The groups most underrepresented in ads include people with disabilities, those over the age of 60 and characters with large body types. In 2019, people with disabilities accounted for just 2.2 percent of characters in ads; people over 60, seven percent; and those with large body types, 7.2 percent.

While characters ages 60 and over are nearly twice as likely to be shown as leaders than younger people, characters with large body types are more likely to be shown as stupid than other characters (9.1 percent vs. 1.8 percent).

Findings are based on an analysis of 251 English-speaking or English-subtitled Cannes Lions Film and Film Craft ads from 2019, from the US, the UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.

What We’re Reading-Week Of June 22nd

We’re searching for the most pressing marketing insights this week.

Vice Calls On Brands To Rethink Keyword Blocklists Associated With Racism

Ad Age

At its virtual Digital Content NewFronts, Vice Media urged advertisers to stop blocking “Black Lives Matter” and related keywords.

Why it matters: Vice’s internal analysis revealed that content related to the police killing of George Floyd and ensuing protests were monetized at a rate 57 percent lower than other news content.

Entering A New Decade Of AI: The State Of Play

McKinsey & Company

In a recent global survey on artificial intelligence (AI) among 2,300 executives, the McKinsey Global Institute found that across the board, the use of AI in standard business processes has increased 25 percent year-over-year.

Why it matters: Despite significant growth in AI adoption, organizations have a long way to go to scale impact, manage risks and retrain the workforce.

Jimmy John’s Makes A Rare Move To Jolt Sandwich Sales


As foot traffic to Jimmy John’s plummeted during the pandemic, the brand launched a number of promotions, then enlisted laid-off production talent from around the country to shoot footage for accompanying television spots.

Why it matters: When COVID-19 hit, many creative agencies immediately initiated layoffs and furloughs. This Jimmy John’s campaign not only lured customers back to its restaurants but also helped the creative community.

How To Overcome Your Fear Of Making Mistakes

Harvard Business Review 

To channel mistakes into better decision making, former clinical psychologist turned writer Alice Boyes, PhD, recommends saying your fears out loud, accepting reality and directing worries toward behaviors that will realistically reduce the chances of failure.

Why it matters: The pandemic and recent protests over police brutality have made people fearful of making mistakes.

Opinion: In 2020, There’s No Place For Universal Thinking In Marketing

Ad Age

To build deeper connections, brands must reinstate the practice of consumer segmentation to ensure all voices are heard and different mindsets are represented.

Why it matters: Consumer segmentation at the behavioral level only gives marketers the “what.” Segmenting with like mindsets and shared cultures produces the “why.”

Study: The Pandemic’s Impact On Gen Z

Timed for the gradual lifting of stay-at-home orders in the US, a new global study from ReGenerations examines how the pandemic has impacted Gen Z’s perspectives on life, mental health, working and learning, as well as their behavior.

Despite the appeal of teleworking, Gen Z isn’t ready to give up the physical office for good, the study found. In fact, respondents say they’d prefer to work in a brick-and-mortar office two-thirds of their workweek. The finding shatters the belief that the tech-obsessed generation has been quick to embrace major tech companies’ recent permanent work-from-home policies, such as Slack and Twitter. On the other hand, 33 percent prefer teleworking.

This thinking extends to Gen Z’s perspective on remote education; 72 percent of participants believe the best way to get a degree is in person and 85 percent prefer learning in person. In contrast, 25 percent prefer a hybrid model and only two percent prefer online learning.

Gen Z are also experiencing Zoom fatigue, with 80 percent of respondents saying they’d prefer to meet in person. The study also reports that only 11 percent agree that Zoom meetings are as effective as face-to-face meetings.

Even for a generation that grew up on video games and social media, being stuck inside has been challenging. Over half (51 percent) say that sheltering in place wasn’t easy, as many missed being able to celebrate milestones like graduation (44 percent) and daily activities such as participating in year-end school activities (63 percent), hanging out with friends (80 percent) and dining out (50 percent).

“What we discovered cuts against the grain of the popular narrative that the post-COVID-19 world will be overwhelmingly online. That’s not what these young men and women want–or say they need,” notes ReGenerations president Jessica Stollings-Holder.

Gen Z’s screen time during lockdowns increased, albeit minimally considering the group’s reliance on tech. Forty-two percent of respondents report spending six to nine hours a day on their device compared with GlobalWebIndex’s finding that they spent four hours a day on their device in 2018.

Though 60 percent of participants say they spent time on entertainment during lockdown, Gen Z’s habits remained relatively healthy. For example, 56 percent report spending time with family, 40 percent exercising, 33 percent learning and 31 percent working.

Still, lockdown led to 66 percent of respondents experiencing heightened loneliness and 43 percent feeling anxiety. Nearly half (47 percent) also report a decrease in life satisfaction as a result of lockdown.

As Gen Z gears up for the new normal, they plan to watch their spending, too—60 percent agree they will not spend money freely given the pandemic’s impact on their financial futures.

“Right now we have a critical window with a generation who wants to connect. As restrictions are lifted, host events that bring people together. Bring learning back to the training room or classroom. Teach skills like emotional intelligence and communication. Don’t exclusively offer remote working–provide options. If restrictions limit in-person gatherings, make sure your virtual events simulate in-person connection,” says Stollings-Holder.

The findings are based on surveys distributed to 500 18-24-year-olds across 29 states and six countries, between April 21 and May 1.

Gary Goodman’s Creative Campaign Picks: Week Of June 8

We took some time off to honor what’s happening out on the streets, not just in America but around the world. This week, I’ve selected three pieces that come from very talented and imaginative individuals, each using their toolsets to transport you to another place in a way that only animation can. It’s a quick journey this week and one that will hopefully put a smile on your face.

Infinite Bowls – Laurie Rowan

Let’s kick this off with a simple yet mesmerizing 24-second piece by UK animator Laurie Rowan aptly titled Infinite Bowls.

Why it matters: It’s such a pleasure to stumble upon a piece that instantly transports you to another dimension. Rowan’s creation is filled with playful little surprises and is unexpectedly impactful in its simplicity. I don’t personally do yoga or any type of meditation, but I can only imagine that this is where my brain might take me. There’s also something to Laurie’s style that captures the feeling of being at Coachella. It’s a feeling of having a place where artistic expression and letting one’s mind go is at the heart of the experience. So, thank you Laurie for helping fill the void of a Coachella-free year with something that scratches the itch in just the right way.

The details: Laurie Rowan is based in Brighton on the south shore of the UK. Apparently, he set a goal for himself to create and animate a quick short to post on Instagram every Saturday. Although this was meant as a personal exercise to break out of the daily studio grind, he soon found that people were responding to his work.  Laurie’s collection of eccentric CG character GIFs has generated over 700 million views.

Javier Arres –  GIF Artist

Traveling South from Brighton to Madrid, Spain is where we find my next pick, the incredibly talented Javier Arres. The link above takes you to a page where you can experience the body of his work. Most only take a few seconds to appreciate, but you could clearly stare at them for a lot longer.

Why it matters: Whether it’s a Bitcoin funhouse with a Cheshire cat or a psychedelic pizza truck, Javier brings his fantastical and highly detailed illustrative style into making what he calls “Visual Toys.”

It’s easy to get lost in Javier’s work and feel a sense that he’s incredibly attuned to cultural elements that instantly resonate, even if you’re not sure why at first glance. His work has been described as Monty Python meets Sim City meets Roller Coaster Tycoon with a dash of steampunk, neon, and hypnotic effects, all baked in a sci-fi oven of surrealism. Well said.

The details: According to the artist page on, “Javier’s process begins with pure imagination, evolving into mad sketching as he assembles the objects, icons, machines and characters that go into the final work. His media include felt tips, India ink on watercolor paper, Photoshop and After Effects, where he puts them in motion.”  In 2019 Javier won the London Art Biennale for his work on paper.

Refik Anadol – Melting Memories

Switching gears from the fun and playful to a more data-driven and experiential focused artist, I stumbled on Refik’s work late last year while we were trying to wrap our heads around how you can take data streams and turn them into something meaningful, tangible⁠—and most importantly⁠—beautiful. And Refik Anadol is the master.

Why it matters: For Melting Memories, Refik wanted to visibly demonstrate the neuroscience of recollection. He uses a combination of data paintings, light projections and augmented data sculptures to capture the human brain’s processes. This stunning work is one of many explorations in how data can be organized and transformed into a powerful visual statement.

The details: Anadol, a Turkish born artist, now resides in LA where he has had his hand in major works across the world. According to the artist’s site, Refik conducted experiments at the Neuroscape Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco, where he “gathers data on the neural mechanisms of cognitive control from an EEG that measures changes in brain wave activity and provides evidence of how the brain functions over time. These data sets constitute the building blocks for the unique algorithms that the artist needs for the multi-dimensional visual structures on display.”

Advertising For Skeptics With Bob Hoffman

During this 212th episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Bob Hoffman, returning guest and author of the new book, Advertising for Skeptics.

On the show today, we talk about the main ideas that inspired Hoffman to write Advertising for Skeptics and the delusions he believes the marketing and advertising industries are under. We laugh a lot, and maybe we’ll inspire you to get a cocktail after you’re done listening.

Hoffman tells us how Advertising for Skeptics came out of his musings on the industry. Hoffman says, “My idea is that we should be skeptical of the things that we accept as common wisdom in the advertising and marketing business, and we should question them.” Then he goes on to talk about the troubling lack of accumulated knowledge in advertising. He says, “If advertising is less effective now than it was fifty years ago, where’s the arrow of progress?” He then reluctantly offers advice to people in advertising and marketing cautioning, “The best advice I can give is to be careful.” We then explore various hot topics in marketing today. This discussion with Hoffman will invite you to consider what you think you know about advertising.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Bob describes Advertising for Skeptics. 02:47
  • Bob’s mission in writing his latest book. 04:19
  • The lack of accumulated knowledge in advertising. 05:54
  • What we measure today in advertising. 12:13
  • Bob’s advice to people in marketing and advertising. 13:21
  • Bob’s thoughts on GDPR and why enforcement seems impossible. 16:46
  • Comparing Byron Sharp and Mark Ritson. 20:20
  • COVID-19 advertising. 22:52
  • Launching a book during a global pandemic. 24:07
  • How Bob fills his time during social distancing. 25:28
  • The most impactful purchase he has made in the last 6-12 months of $100 or less. 28:42
  • Bob’s go-to cocktail during a pandemic. 30:29

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Reddit Names Michael Seibel As New Board Member

This week in leadership updates, Reddit names Michael Seibel as Alexis Ohanian’s replacement as board member, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario steps down, McDonald’s promotes Alistair Macrow to global CMO, Instagram hires Melissa Waters as global head of marketing, Ford brings on Cheil UK CEO Peter Zillig as head of European marketing and Universal Music Group Nashville promotes Lori Christian to senior vice president of marketing.

Reddit Replaces Alexis Ohanian With Michael Seibel As New Board Member

Following Alexis Ohanian’s resignation from Reddit’s board, Reddit has named Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel as his replacement.

In announcing he would be stepping down, Ohanian asked to be replaced by a black candidate.

Seibel co-founded before it became Twitch, as well as Socialcam before selling it to Autodesk in 2012.

Patagonia Chief Executive Officer Rose Marcario Steps Down

After 12 years with Patagonia and the last six as its CEO, Rose Marcario is leaving the company, noting that the team has been planning her succession since late 2019.

Patagonia COO Doug Freeman will lead the transition until Patagonia finds a replacement.

McDonald’s Names Alistair Macrow As Global Chief Marketing Officer

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski has announced the promotion of Alistair Macrow, former CMO of McDonald’s international business, to the role of global CMO. The news comes after the position sat empty for 11 months.

Macrow replaces Colin Mitchell, who led McDonald’s marketing team since July 2019.

Instagram Appoints Melissa Waters As Global Head Of Marketing

According to Variety, Instagram has hired Melissa Waters as global head of marketing.

Waters comes from Hims & Hers, where she served as CMO. Prior to that, she was VP of marketing at Lyft for two years and before that, VP of brand and product marketing at Pandora.

Ford Names Peter Zillig As Director, Brand And Marketing Communications For Europe

Ford has hired Peter Zillig as director, brand and marketing communications for Europe, according to Campaign. Effective July 1, Zillig will report to Roelant de Waard and be responsible for strengthening Ford’s “Bring on tomorrow” brand positioning.

Zillig joins from Samsung-owned agency Cheil UK, where he served as CEO for three and a half years.

Universal Music Group Nashville Appoints Lori Christian As Senior Vice President Of Marketing

Universal Music Group Nashville has promoted Lori Christian to SVP of marketing after she led the company’s publicity department since 2012. In her new role Christian will manage media marketing, brands and sponsorship, international marketing and creative services departments for the label group’s 36 artists as well as the media site Sounds Like Nashville.

Prior to Universal Music Group Nashville, Christian oversaw the publicity department at Capitol Records Nashville and managed publicity for Sony Music’s RCA Records label.

How Brands Are Honoring Pride Month

Between the pandemic and ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, brands are navigating how to address both causes without distracting from messaging around widespread calls for social reform in America. With the arrival of Pride, observed every June, some brands have launched campaigns and products in celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride, which black transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson and Latina transgender activist Sylvia Rivera helped catalyze. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first US pride rally, and while in-person parades have been canceled, publishers, organizations and brands are either postponing events or pivoting virtually. Here’s a roundup of brands activating around Pride.


In addition to this year’s Pride Edition Sport Band featuring a vertical-stripe rainbow design, Apple launched a second watch in collaboration with Nike. Apple’s annual Apple Watch Pride Edition band and face collection directly support the work of organizations like GLSEN, PFLAG, The Trevor Project, Gender Spectrum, ILGA World and the National Center for Transgender Equality.


Disney’s installment of the Rainbow Disney Collection, an array of colorful apparel and merchandise, complements its donation of $100,000 to GLSEN. It has also launched a Disney Pride playlist, available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon Music, YouTube and Vevo.


In a statement announcing the postponement of its Pride initiatives and brand partnerships, GLAAD recommends that any campaigns that do launch during this time take into account issues black LGBTQ+ people are facing.

GLAAD has partnered with FOX’s #TVForAll campaign to host a Zoom conversation on June 22 featuring artists from GLAAD’s team to discuss the intersection of Black Lives Matter in entertainment and the LGBTQ+ community.

NYC Pride, together with GLAAD, will stream a three-day virtual drag festival on Facebook to raise funds for local drag performers.


Grindr postponed the launch of its #PridePerseveres initiative in light of the protests and has launched in a different light: via an Instagram Live series to spotlight black queer voices and the “urgent need for queer responsibility and racial justice.”


In mid-May, during Mental Health Awareness Month, Harry’s kicked off its support of the LGBTQ youth community on social media by announcing the launch of a limited-edition set called Shave With Pride. Harry’s is giving 100 percent of the profits to the Trevor Project in the US and £10 from each purchase to the UK-based Akt charity.

Nike and Converse

Nike’s BeTrue and the Converse Pride Collection are inspired by the More Color, More Pride flag which was popularized in 2017 by social justice advocate Amber Hikes. On Nike’s first BeTrue Air Force 1 shoes, the rainbow includes black and brown stripes to recognize people of color in the LGBTQIA+ community.  Converse’s nine-piece Pride collection of Chuck 70 and Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers and accessories also expands the rainbow to include a black and brown stripe.


On June 22, Condé Nast-owned LGBT magazine them. is streaming a one-hour live concert on YouTube with special performances from members of the LGBTQ+ community including Michael Kors, Zac Posen, Tegan and Sara and Cynthia Nixon, among others.


Starbucks’ creative manager Brenden Mendoza created the brand’s Pride cup this year, a 24-ounce tumbler featuring iridescent rainbow stripes and the word “LOVE” across it. The tumbler launched in stores at the end of May.


Skittles gave up its rainbow by creating colorless Skittles to show support for the LGBTQ+ community because, as the brand noted, “During PRIDE only #OneRainbow matters.” For every Skittle Pride Pack purchased, Skittles is donating $1 to GLAAD.

Time Out

As part of its month-long #PrideWorldwide campaign, Time Out is partnering with the first-ever Global Pride, a 24-hour virtual event curated and hosted by LGBTQ+ organizations worldwide, set to live stream on June 27. The virtual event will feature musical performances, speeches from activists and addresses by public figures.

Reebok Ends Negotiations To Renew Deal With CrossFit Following Tweet From CEO

Negotiations to renew Reebok’s 10-year exclusive deal as the CrossFit title sponsor, which has positioned Reebok as the sole licensee of CrossFit apparel and shoes and was set to expire sometime after this year’s games, ended when Glassman replied to the Director of Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s statement, “Racism is a public health issue,” with the following tweet: “It’s FLOYD-19.”

In a statement to Morning Chalk Up, Reebok said that it would fulfill remaining contractual obligations in 2020, citing its commitment and dedication to the CrossFit community ties it has built over the past decade.

Reebok’s exodus imperils the millions of dollars CrossFit receives in royalty payments from Reebok’s licensing deal and the multimillion-dollar prize fund Reebok contributes each year.

Glassman then tried to backpedal, championing Floyd in this apology he issued:

By then, however, the damage had been done. Glassman’s remark was met with public backlash from brands and members of the CrossFit community alike. Nearly 100 current and past CrossFit participants posted text-only messages saying, “I’m Out,” as well as video reactions, declining participation in these year’s games, pending major changes being made to CrossFit.

Previous sponsors of CrossFit, such as LIFEAID’s FITAID and Rogue, also censured Glassman’s statement. Rogue, for example, decided to immediately remove the CrossFit logo from Rogue Invitational, its upcoming online fitness competition, noting that its future with CrossFit is dependent on the “direction and leadership within CrossFit HQ.”

Co-founder and president of LIFEAID Aaron Hinde said in a video that the company will also end its longstanding relationship as a sponsor of the CrossFit Games.

Glassman’s remark comes as brands rally behind the Black Lives Matter movement, which CrossFit was silent about until after Glassman’s tweet went viral. In fact, after the affiliate owner of a CrossFit gym urged CrossFit to speak up about its stance on Black Lives Matter, Glassman chided her for, “doing your best to brand us as racist.”

While countless brands issued statements supporting the black community and pledging donations to organizations supporting racial justice, CrossFit resumed normal messaging; even going so far as to launch a new program called CrossFit Health Education, which provides education and professional development opportunities for doctors, trainers and health-care providers, on June 2. On that same day, which came to be known as Blackout Tuesday, brands went dark on social media to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters.

New York Times Diversity Report Shows Fair Progress In Diversifying Staff

Across The New York Times, 43 percent of new hires in 2019 identified as people of color, according to the company’s latest diversity report for 2019.

The breakdown reflects New York Times’ fair progress in diversifying staff across gender, race and ethnicity. At the leadership level, inclusivity is growing, but still has a ways to go; people of color now represent 21 percent of leadership roles, up from 16 percent in 2015. Women, on the other hand, now represent 49 percent of leadership, up from 40 percent in 2015.

Representation among staff overall has improved. People of color now account for 32 percent of New York Times staff and women represent 51 percent of staff.

Despite the advancements, white employees still dominate staff and leadership roles, representing 65 percent of all staff, down from 73 percent in 2015, and 76 percent of leadership, down from 83 percent in 2015.

The company admits it still has gaps in representation at the leadership level and explained its ongoing initiatives in 2019 to bridge that gap. In terms of hiring, it says it relies on diverse panels to assess diverse slates of job candidates and provides hiring managers with tools to remove bias from job descriptions.

To ensure pay equity, the New York Times conducts pay reviews every two years and reviews promotion and retention data at least quarterly.

Examples of how the publication has sought to foster a more inclusive culture include adding gender-neutral bathrooms to its offices in New York and London, in response to staff requests; incorporating inclusion and belonging in trainings on unconscious bias; encouraging senior executives to hold regular discussions on progress and challenges across the company; and implementing regular town halls and Q&As with company and department leaders, with more ways for employees to share feedback, like office hours and smaller forums.

Google is faring much worse in reaching a racially just workplace. According to its seventh consecutive diversity report, released in early May, the percentage of black hires in the US in 2019 was 5.5 percent, up by just 0.7 percent from 2018.

Warner Bros. Hires Tricia Melton As CMO, Global Kids, Young Adults And Classics

This week in leadership updates, Warner Bros. appoints Tricia Melton as CMO, Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics and Hangar 24 Craft Brewing hires John Waters as CMO.

Warner Bros. Hires Tricia Melton As Chief Marketing Officer, Global Kids, Young Adults And Classics

Tricia Melton, former SVP of marketing, brand, creative and communications at Disney-owned Freeform has joined Warner Bros. as CMO, Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics. Effective June 29, Melton will oversee the unit, which houses Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, Warner Bros. Animation and Turner Classic Movies.

Before Freeform, Melton was SVP, entertainment marketing and branding for TBS, TNT and TCM. Prior to that, she served as VP, marketing for Lifetime Television.

Hangar 24 Craft Brewing Names John Waters As Chief Marketing Officer

According to Brewbound, Hangar 24 Craft Brewing has appointed former Air Force Fighter pilot John Waters as CMO.

During his tenure as the F-16 Demo Team Commander, Waters transformed the US Air Force’s social media strategy, growing his team’s social media presence to over 200,000 followers and nearly 7 million engagements.