J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, the propriety research arm of J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, today released a new study in partnership with the OPAM (Out Professionals in Advertising and Media) organization on understanding transgender inclusivity in advertising.
In 2015, the visibility of the transgender community in entertainment hit new highs, with celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox and Jazz Jennings breaking barriers left and right. Their voices are helping to educate many about the transgender community, break biases and garner greater acceptance, but more can be done, especially in advertising.
Surveying a sample of 500 US adults, the quantitative study features original analysis and research by J. Walter Thompson Intelligence’s SONAR practice, providing insights for marketers and brands looking to make their advertising more transgender-inclusive.
“Our survey is a helpful tool for marketers looking to understand the state of inclusive advertising, with examples from top brands, and consumer feedback on how to execute inclusive ads effectively,” said Mark Truss, Global Director of Brand Intelligence, J. Walter Thompson Company. “In this day and age, it’s not a question of should you be inclusive in your advertising, but how.”
Of the consumers surveyed, 74% agreed that showing transgender people in ads simply reflects the reality of our society today, with 65% agreeing that brands that show transgender people in their ads are brave and progressive.
While results showed that female consumers and millennials were among those more accepting and open to seeing transgender people in ads, there was a lag in ad recall of transgender advertising, with 77% of the people surveyed saying that they rarely, and sometimes never, see ads featuring transgender people – a result that leaves some wondering why brands aren’t doing more.
“Breaking out from the L from the G and the T in LGBTQ and understanding the nuances of each group is now more important than ever,” said OPAM’s President, Bobby Hickey. “What’s interesting about our survey is we uncovered that a lot of people think they know what transgender means, when in reality they really don’t. These findings show that advertisers have an opportunity to educate people about this demographic and breakthrough, as long as their creative executions are on-brand, authentic, and most importantly, accurate.”
On March 31, the International Transgender Day of Visibility, J. Walter Thompson and OPAM will bring LGBTQ advocates together for a roundtable discussion on transgender inclusive advertising. Inspired by J. Walter Thompson Intelligence’s original research, attendees will hear about the study’s findings, and gain insights from several marketers on what it took to push for inclusion and transgender visibility in their advertising campaigns.