JWT Study Finds Most People Believe Ads Featuring Transgender People Are A Very Good Thing

A recent study from J. Walter Thompson Intelligence and OPAM (Out Professionals in Advertising and Media) took a close look at transgender inclusivity in advertising and the public's perception of ad featuring transgender people.

In 2015, highlighted by celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox and Jazz Jennings, transgender themes took center stage and, according to the study, engendered a greater understanding and acceptance of differing lifestyles. Which, of course, is a very good thing. However, coming from an agency that just canned its CEO for allegedly harassing and making sexist remarks to a female employee, it almost feels like Donald Trump claiming to have respect for women.

The study surveyed 500 US adults and features additional original analysis and research by J. Walter Thompson Intelligence’s SONAR practice, providing insights the agency hopes will help marketers and brands make their advertising more transgender-inclusive.

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.



Although the results of the study indicated female consumers and millennials were among those more receptive 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 or never, see ads featuring transgender people.

Of the study, JWT Global Director of Brand Intelligence Mark Truss said, “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. In this day and age, it’s not a question of should you be inclusive in your advertising, but how.”

Commenting on the nuances of transgender-themed advertising, OPAM President Bob Hickey added, “Breaking out the L from the G and the T in LGBTQ and understanding the nuances of each group is now more important than ever. 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.”

Both JWT and OPAM will bring together advocates during the International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31 for a roundtable discussion on transgender inclusive advertising. J. Walter Thompson Intelligence will present the details of its research and attendees will hear from several marketers on what it took to push for inclusion and transgender visibility in their advertising campaigns.  

You can download the full study here

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