WPP Spotlights Opportunities To Better Represent LGBTQ+ People In Advertising & Marketing

WPP has released a new study designed to show how brands can better represent and connect with the LGBTQ+ people within their audiences. The study also purports to help brands stay up to date with changing attitudes toward sexuality and gender identity and create more effective LGBTQ+ brand communications that go beyond Pride month.

The study was conducted by the holding company’s LGBTQ+ community Unite and Choreograph, its data products unit. Additional WPP agencies also provided input.

Key highlights include:

  • Among young people, queer media has become mainstream, as 93% of LGBTQ+ 18–24 year-olds and 85% of non-LGBTQ+ 18–24 year-olds actively seek out queer media, which the study concludes proves its universal appeal.
  • Despite widespread appeal, the quality and quantity of queer media needs improvement: Just 38% of those who seek out queer content are satisfied with the way LGBTQ+ people are represented, and 2 out of 3 LGBTQ+ people want to see more queer representation.
  • More than half of LGBTQ+ people are still not completely out at work: Only 40% are completely open about their sexuality with colleagues, while 50% are open about their gender identity.
  • There’s an income gap when it comes to being out at work: Those on the highest incomes were 37% more likely to be completely open at work than those on the lowest incomes.
  • The annual change of logo (during Pride Month) may be where communications start, but shouldn’t end: 52% of LGBTQ+ people said that they approve of brands changing their logos to the rainbow flag colors during that month. But there is also a desire for more year-round support, as 3 out of 4 LGBTQ+ people and half of non- LGBTQ+ people think brands should do more to support LGBTQ+ people outside Pride month.



The study, “Beyond the Rainbow,” surveyed 7,500 LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ people in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.

Commenting on the report, Michael Houston, President of WPP in the U.S., stated: “In a world where the LGBTQ+ community continues to face discrimination and violent attacks – both in the workplace and in life – the power that our industry has to create change should not be underestimated.”  The ad community has a responsibility to foster that change, he added.

David Adamson, founder and UK co-chair for WPP Unite, said, “Our goal in launching Beyond the Rainbow is to help shed light on opportunities to create inclusivity and broader acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community beyond just Pride month. As more people identify under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, being genuine and inclusive in everything we do is more crucial than ever for brands to be relevant.”

The full report can be accessed here.



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