Marketers and programmers seek cultural relevance when reaching multicultural and diverse groups


Among the ongoing trends in the United States is the growth of original scripted entertainment programming and the country is becoming more ethnically diverse. These two trends are also linked.

In 2009 there were 210 scripted programs across all television platforms, ten years later that figure has more than doubled, totaling 532 programs, earning the moniker “Peak TV” along the way. During the same period, the nation has diversified. The 2010 census indicated that non-Hispanic whites made up 63.7% of the population. Estimates from the 2019 census show that non-Hispanic whites make up 60.1% of the US population, but multicultural populations already make up nearly half of 18-34 year olds. As the population of Hispanics, Blacks, Asian Americans and other ethnic groups increases, the census projects that by 2045, non-Hispanic whites will make up less than 50% of the population.

As the population of ethnic groups increases, their purchasing power also increases. In 2020, the purchasing power of Hispanic consumers totaled $1.5 trillion, an increase of 212% over the past decade. Additionally, the collective purchasing power of Blacks, Asian Americans, and Native Americans has reached $2.4 trillion and continues to rise.

Therefore, a challenge is how do programmers and advertisers make their content more relevant to ethnic groups, the LGBTQ+ market, and people with disabilities?

To cope with the growing influence of the multicultural market, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) established the Alliance for Inclusive Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) in 2016. AIMM’s mission statement is “to reverse the downward trend in multicultural and inclusive marketing by empowering marketers to accurately represent cultural diversity and richness in today’s marketing efforts”. The organization helps CMOs reach their full growth potential in the multicultural marketplace.

Advertisers and the entertainment industry are aware of the importance of this growing market. Today, virtually every major advertising agency has a division that focuses on multicultural marketing. Among AIMM’s dozens of members are advertisers, advertising agencies, media networks and non-profit organizations. AIMM has a number of prominent board members including Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble

John Dillon, Chief Brand Officer, Denny’s

and Alicia Enciso, Marketing Director, Nestlé.

The emergence of the AIMM comes at a time when hate groups targeting ethnic communities have proliferated. A recent #See everything The AIMM initiative was a “call to action” to support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and end hate in all its forms. More than 90 companies including Google

and Verizon

have pledged to show their support for the AAPI community. Additionally, during the Primetime Emmys last fall, AIMM issued a Public Service Announcement (PSA) featuring Billy Porter, Lin Manuel-Miranda and others who encouraged Hollywood to do more to promote authentic cultural representation.

To respond to the growing trend of cultural diversity and to ensure that what you see on screen is a fair and accurate representation of what you see in society, AIMM and partner company CIIMatters have launched a new tool called Measuring the impact of cultural knowledge (CIIM) which measures the effectiveness of advertisements and programming with various audiences. Some of the attributes used include respect, values, authenticity, good role models, positive reflections, celebrations, pride and identity. Each piece of content is evaluated on seven racial, ethnic and diverse segments and then assigned a cultural relevance impact score.

The CIIM study found that the degree of an individual’s perceived level of cultural relevance correlates with viewer preference for content, resulting in a significant increase – culturally highly relevant shows have nearly two times viewer preference over programs with low cultural relevance. “The CIIM clearly shows that the media industry in general is lagging behind the country’s cultural inflection point. Currently, the vast majority of content does not resonate culturally with multicultural and inclusive audiences, while the majority of shows resonate strongly with non-Hispanic white people, which directly impacts brand results and how audiences are viewed. individuals see themselves on screen and in society,” explains Carlos Santiago, co-founder of AIMM and president of SSG.

In 2019, a small pilot study consisting of 60 programs and 150 announcements was conducted and in 2020, nearly 150 programs were submitted to CIIM. With a base of over 300,000 ad and show ratings, the power of culture in communications is more evident than ever. CIIM’s work proves that ads with authentic cultural representation can triple purchase intent and explain 40% of increased sales. For shows, cultural relevance explains 30% of a show’s preference

Gail Horwood, Kellogg’s Chief Marketing Officer and AIMM Board Member, “In Kellogg’s sales attribution tests, consumers’ perception of authentic cultural representation had a 47% impact on the success of our campaigns. The CIIM tool has proven so valuable to us that we have incorporated it into our marketing process for all creatives. »

The 2020 study also revealed that the entertainment and advertising industries still have a long way to go to place diversity and fair representation, however there were some encouraging signs. For example, streaming providers, led by Netflix

, accounted for nearly half of effective content across all segments. When all content was considered, the top networks were Univision, BET, and OWN. NBC ranked first among all networks in the general market. Below are some key findings from the 2020 study.

The best shows by segment were:

§ Non-Hispanic white: When the heart calls you (Punch)

§ Afro-American: Sunday clothes (BET) and Green leaf (OWN)

§ Hispanic English: House of Flowers (Netflix)

§ Bilingual Hispanic: Mira Quien Baila (Unity)

§ Hispanic Spanish: Giant pequenos (Unity)

§ Asian: Kill Eve (Hulu)

§ People with Disabilities: Special (Netflix)

§ MC&I: House of Flowers and blood and water (Netflix)

§ LGBTQ: The Fosters (ABC Family/Hulu)

The main networks were:

§ Endemic African American: BET and OWN

§ Endemic Hispanic: Univision

§ General Market Network: NBC

§ Broadcast: Netflix

§ Downloadable: YouTube

Best cultural networks:

· University


As AIMM’s Carlos Santiago notes, “The multicultural market is young and already represents a majority of the American population in the younger age brackets. Additionally, with a high concentration in major cities, the multicultural market is an attractive target for many advertisers and programmers. Currently, more than 320 brands use the CIIM tool to measure the effectiveness of ads in accurately portraying diversity to the audiences they want to engage with. Top notch marketers include Lexus

Volvo, Denny’s, Constellation Brands

Google, Citi, Verizon, Walmart

Kellogg’s, Tide, Secret and Johnson & Johnson


CIIM’s official launch and 2020 study results will be released on May 13, just ahead of the initial 2021 TV presentations. CIIM will release information for 146 TV shows (whether renewed or canceled) on a number of networks as of 2020. For the report, 22,000 respondents selected programs they were familiar with for 62,000 program reviews. Respondents rated the performers for providing authentic cultural representation to Hispanics, Blacks, Asian Americans, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and others.

The entertainment and advertising industries continue to focus on the ethnic market. Earlier this month, IPG Mediabrands announced it would strive to invest at least 5% in total black-owned media channels for all of its customers by 2023 and launched its first annual report. Initial capital™. The goal of the week-long preview is to highlight the reach and importance of black-owned media companies in reaching black audiences. As IPG notes, national black-focused media spending in 2020 was less than 2% of total advertising dollars, despite representing more than 13% of the US population.

More recently, NBC announcement they will not televise the Golden Globe Awards in 2022, putting their decades-long relationship on hold with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the nonprofit organization behind the awards show. The HFPA has been criticized for its lack of diversity among its members, among other ethical issues. Additionally, Netflix and WarnerMedia had announced that they would disassociate themselves from any Globes-related events until these issues were resolved. He was reported the HFPA had no black journalists among the group’s 87 members.


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