Global Multicultural Advertising Policies

August 11, 2008

Overview

ANA multicultural marketing and business-to-business committee members comment on whether their companies have global multicultural advertising policies and the extent to which their international business units cooperate with and enforce these policies.

The Question

An ANA member sought peer insights into global multicultural advertising policies - specifically:

  • Do you have a formalized policy (international) regarding use of Multicultural / Diverse / Inclusive Imagery for Marketing Collateral outside of the United States? If so, what is it? If not, and you are international, has this not been an issue?
  • Do you get pushback from your International Business Units on the required use of Non-Caucasian or Non-Majority Imagery in Marketing Collateral? I.e., the use of Indian, Black, Asian, Arab, or Native models for Europe or Latin America, or use of different Asian groups in Asia, or any consideration of immigrant groups in general?
  • How do you enforce the Global Multicultural Imagery policies?
The Responses

Member Response #1

  • Do you have a formalized policy (international) regarding use of Multicultural / Diverse / Inclusive Imagery for Marketing Collateral outside of the United States? If so, what is it? If not, and you are international, has this not been an issue?
    No, there is not a formalized policy. This has not been an issue, the scope internationally and multiculturalism has been small (very small at best).
  • Do you get pushback from your International Business Units on the required use of Non-Caucasian or Non-Majority Imagery in Marketing Collateral?  I.e., the use of Indian, Black, Asian, Arab, or Native models for Europe or Latin America, or use of different Asian groups in Asia, or any consideration of immigrant groups in general?
    None to date, but once again, the scope has been very, very small, 
  • How do you enforce the Global Multicultural Imagery policies? That question may be answerable by someone in international marketing, but I don't know of any internal contacts. 

Member Response #2

Our national and area (i.e., Americas) marketing group always push back if only white people appear in photos. Imagery goes unquestioned when Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, and traditional vs. metrosexuals appear in photography...as long as all people look professional. It's not really policy. It's a matter of cultural sensitivity to inclusiveness. Like Wal-Mart, we also like to illustrate professional-looking people with handicaps or disabilities such as those relying on wheelchairs or braces and crutches or "invisible" handicaps such as cochlear implants or difficulties that arise from obesity.

Ads and marcoms are produced locally, so such sensitivities rely on local culture. There is no centralized influence. Examples produced by the "global" piece of the organization are perceived to be heavily influenced by the country where the global group is geographically based. In other words, local marketers assume cultural bias and assumptions are built into samples and templates provided by "global." Since there are no consequences to pursuing any path a local group will approve, the "inclusiveness" imperative is, practically, voluntary.


Member Response #3

Some quick thoughts:

  1. [My company] does not have a formal policy. Each brand team and marketing division develops its own working practices.
  2. Our agency networks help to coordinate much of the work and share best practices and creative across the globe.
  3. We do not have global imagery policies. 
  4. We encourage diversity in everything we do, so a global imagery policy is redundant in our company.
  5. Brand teams are actively sharing creative around the world.  It goes both ways-U.S. to world, world to U.S.

Member Response #4

  • Do you have a formalized policy (international) regarding use of Multicultural/Diverse/Inclusive imagery for Marketing Collateral outside of the United States? If so, what is it? If not, and you are international, has this not been an issue?
    I can only respond regarding advertising - we buy out the global unlimited and unrestricted usage of the artwork of all ads produced globally, so it creates an inventory of imagery for use by other countries for future advertising.  We have a consistent global campaign so the imagery is easily leveraged for use by different countries. The photography may be used for a different product/message. 
  • Do you get pushback from your International Business Units on the required use of Non-Caucasian or Non-Majority Imagery in Marketing Collateral? I.e., the use of Indian, Black, Asian, Arab, or Native models for Europe or Latin America, or use of different Asian groups in Asia, or any consideration of immigrant groups in general?
    Because most of our advertising features an object, rather than people, this is a minimal issue. However, for the few ads we have done where people are involved, it is problematic -even with Europe. We don't have any requirements regarding the use of non-Caucasian or non-Majority imagery. In testing collateral globally, the feedback is that it screams "American" when it has a forced "balance" look that may not be representative of their geography. Seeing an Asian person in something running is Brazil would not be appropriate. So there needs to be flexibility to adapt for use by that country so the company can be viewed as "fitting in" locally.
  • How do you enforce the Global Multicultural Imagery policies?
    There is not specific policy around this. 

Member Response #5

  • Do you have a formalized policy (international) regarding use of Multicultural / Diverse / Inclusive Imagery for Marketing Collateral outside of the United States? If so, what is it? If not, and you are international, has this not been an issue?
    ETS has a policy on portrayal of gender and multicultural images that covers all of our external communications and publications. It is not specifically related to international. We have a sensitivity review panel that reviews all publications and a set of sensitivity guidelines that clearly state how images are to be portrayed.  We regularly hold sensitivity training sessions for employees. When possible, such images should be representative of various races and gender balanced.
  • Do you get pushback from your International Business Units on the required use of Non-Caucasian or Non-Majority Imagery in Marketing Collateral? I.e., the use of Indian, Black, Asian, Arab, or Native models for Europe or Latin America, or use of different Asian groups in Asia, or any consideration of immigrant groups in general?
    We do not get pushback from our Global BV units or our strategic business units because images selected are reflective of a balanced mix of races and genders.
  • How do you enforce the Global Multicultural Imagery policies?
    All external publications, ads, flyers, brochures, information bulletins, etc., are coordinated through ETS's Communications & Public Affairs area. This ensures that all images and designs are approved before distribution. 

Click here to view ETS's Fairness Review Guidelines.


Member Response #6

  • Do you have a formalized policy (international) regarding use of Multicultural / Diverse / Inclusive Imagery for Marketing Collateral outside of the United States? If so, what is it? If not, and you are international, has this not been an issue?
    The main theme here is "think global, act local." About half to three-fourths of our company's marketing collateral originates in the U.S. and is then "translated" to meet local requirements. These local requirements include language, but also graphics. Most of the marketing collateral developed in the U.S. ultimately does get exported and our company has very detailed guidelines on collateral layout as well as appropriate uses of copy and graphics. While it's critically important to ensure the content and messaging of our marketing materials is interesting and impactful, it is also important that the content/messaging is presented in a way that people from any culture would be able to comprehend. Guidelines on collateral layout make the translation process easy from country to country. For example, we try to minimize/avoid the use of culture-specific language or graphics that would require extensive rework outside the U.S. A few exceptions are usually granted if the use of culture-specific language/graphics is important to the communication impact of the collateral (more so in advertising than traditional brochures, collateral), but generally the producers of our collateral know how to express/present marketing materials that minimizes the reliance on culture-specific language/graphics.
  • Do you get pushback from your International Business Units on the required use of Non-Caucasian or Non-Majority Imagery in Marketing Collateral? I.e., the use of Indian, Black, Asian, Arab, or Native models for Europe or Latin America, or use of different Asian groups in Asia, or any consideration of immigrant groups in general?
    Yes. But if materials are going to be used in multiple countries, then we either take that into account at the production stage - include multiple images of different culture/racial groups or avoid the use of imagery that is specific to a culture or race - or we provide the countries the flexibility to (easily/inexpensively) change the specific culture/race elements of the materials to meet their local requirements.
  • How do you enforce the Global Multicultural Imagery policies?
    In the past we have created photo libraries of proprietary or stock photography that embraces the multicultural diversity of our company, making the use of different graphic images in marketing materials for different countries easy. In the end we rely on the common sense and judgment of our marketing professionals around the world to use the language and imagery that will present our brand in the appropriate way and resonate with the intended audience.  

Member Response #7 

I don't know if there's a policy. We would get ours from [our parent company in Europe] if that was the case. I haven't heard that any guidelines have affected us yet. 


Member Response #8

Overall, our international operations are a significantly smaller portion of our business that focus more on the manufacturing side as opposed to the demand/marketing side.


Member Response #9

[My company] has a strong diversity push, and thus we do track diversity within ethnicity and gender for casting for TV shoots and photo shoots (done through basic spreadsheet tracking). We are a U.S.-marketed company, but do target Hispanic and Asian-American communities. Often we partner with our international marketing teams to cast across ethnicities to be able to leverage production shoots (basically use same footage with new voiceover). Obviously this only works when we don't have on-camera speaking parts (which currently is the majority of our work).


Member Response #10

  • Do you have a formalized policy (international) regarding use of Multicultural / Diverse / Inclusive Imagery for Marketing Collateral outside of the United States? If so, what is it? If not, and you are international, has this not been an issue.
    We create local commercials outside of the US...per country, so we don't have that issue.
  • Do you get pushback from your International Business Units on the required use of Non-Caucasian or Non-Majority Imagery in Marketing Collateral? I.e., the use of Indian, Black, Asian, Arab, or Native models for Europe or Latin America, or use of different Asian groups in Asia, or any consideration of immigrant groups in general?
    As I said, we do local country creative, so we don't have this issue, as our creative reflects the local population.
  • How do you enforce the Global Multicultural Imagery policies?
    We enforce adherence to our creative standards, our framework, our logo issue, our creative positioning, our brand usage, but leave the imagery details for local application.
    We use a global Brand / Logo policy manual with all of our countries, thus maintaining common usage and practices of our logos, marks, etc.

Member Response #11

  • Do you have a formalized policy (international) regarding use of Multicultural / Diverse / Inclusive Imagery for Marketing Collateral outside of the United States? If so, what is it? If not, and you are international, has this not been an issue?
    No formal policy. No issue as we produce much of the material for outside the U.S. On any U.S.-produced work, the imagery is typically diverse and works well.
  • Do you get pushback from your International Business Units on the required use of Non-Caucasian or Non-Majority Imagery in Marketing Collateral? I.e., the use of Indian, Black, Asian, Arab, or Native models for Europe or Latin America, or use of different Asian groups in Asia, or any consideration of immigrant groups in general?
    We are international; we do not have an issue as if it is not appropriate we produce ourselves. Majority of time it is appropriate.
  • How do you enforce the Global Multicultural Imagery policies?
    No policy.

Member Response #12

  • Do you have a formalized policy (international) regarding use of Multicultural / Diverse / Inclusive Imagery for Marketing Collateral outside of the United States? If so, what is it? If not, and you are international, has this not been an issue?
  • No. Do you get pushback from your International Business Units on the required use of Non-Caucasian or Non-Majority Imagery in Marketing Collateral?  I.e., the use of Indian, Black, Asian, Arab, or Native models for Europe or Latin America, or use of different Asian groups in Asia, or any consideration of immigrant groups in general? 
  • No. How do you enforce the Global Multicultural Imagery policies?
    There is no policy.  
Source

"Global Multicultural Advertising Policies." ANA Business-to-Business Committee; ANA Multicultural Marketing Committee, October 2007.