Since 2016, we've published 3 reports looking at ethnic representation in advertising and marketing communications.

Man standing holding Union Jack flag

Reflecting modern Britain

We published our first report, highlighting a significant deficit in representation of ethnic minorities in UK advertising, and a shortfall in the accuracy of some portrayals.

Download the report PDF, 2MB (opens in new tab)
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Ethnicity in advertising

A follow-up report (2018), charting progress in the representation of ethnic minorities in UK advertising, but also highlighting persistent issues to address.

Download the report PDF, 2MB (opens in new tab)
Modern Britain

Championing modern Britain

Championing Modern Britain (2021) is a practical guide marketing professionals can follow to create stronger and more inclusive communications.

Download the report PDF, 3MB (opens in new tab)

Research highlights

The overwhelming message from ethnic minorities was that they want to see authentic, positive representations they can relate to in advertising and communications.


agree that TV ads demonstrate diversity


feel that proper representation is important


said they prefer to buy from brands that support inclusion and diversity


don't currently feel represented in online ads

Effort in diverse representation is recognised and appreciated

Focus group participants were positive about Lloyds Banking Group's efforts, expressing how important it is for brands to be inclusive, but recognising how difficult it is to tackle with sensitivity.

Expectations vary based on age and experience

Younger people from ethnic minority groups, and those born in the UK, have higher expectations of seeing positive representations of themselves and their families in marketing.

Emotional triggers vary based on experience

Even subtle tropes can evoke strong associations with past trauma, related to discrimination and racism. Triggers can include words, phrases and images, with complex responses.

Guiding principles for marketers

In the full report we explain each of these principles in more detail, but here’s a quick checklist:

Portray me positively
Present all people in a way they’d like to be seen, helping to challenge and defy restrictive stereotypes.

Don’t put me in a box
Consider all the layers of identity of the people you portray.

Authenticity is in the details
Focus on the nuanced details for true-to-life representations – create good connections, not bad reactions.

Word association counts
Make sure the language you use alongside an image doesn’t reinforce tropes.

Where am I in all of this?
Try to represent all ethnicities – Asian and mixed heritage people are often underrepresented.

Level the playing field
Show that people from all ethnicities can have equal social status and are deserving of prominence.

Sensitively challenge bias
Take time to consider how communications could be interpreted by people with differing beliefs.

Check in with an expert
Enlist the support of an external cultural advisor, or establish your own diversity panel in-house.

Download the full Championing Modern Britain report to read about the findings in more depth. 


Download the report

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