Italians are more willing to buy a product if promoted in an inclusive spot


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Background information

A study on the importance of diversity & inclusion (D&I) is the topic of this week’s egtabite. Italy’s Rai Pubblicità recently published the results from comprehensive research analysing the effect of D&I in advertisements. When asked, 58.5% of participants said that they are more willing to purchase a product communicated through an inclusive commercial, in which awareness of diversity & inclusion is evident. Furthermore, after having seen a commercial with these characteristics, 57% declared themselves motivated to recommend the product advertised to others in their social circles.

The Diversity & Inclusion research by Rai Pubblicità was published and presented last December, at an event in Milan gathering industry leaders. The results show that awareness of a company’s commitment to D&I issues through advertising affects consumers’ purchasing intent in 40.7% of cases. The public’s sensitivity is also demonstrated by the share of respondents, 61%, who believe that companies and brands have an important social responsibility towards society and should be attentive to diversity when advertising. This figure even grew to 80% of respondents after they had been shown D&I focused commercials.

AI tech to measure the emotional impact

The qualitative and quantitative research was carried out on a sample of one thousand individuals of the Italian population aged 18-64. It aimed to measure the general sentiment and expectations of consumers towards companies’ commitment to diversity and inclusion. In collaboration with the companies Toluna and Emotiva, Rai Pubblicità collected and processed consumer insights, including by using a special Emotion AI technology, through facial coding, to measure the emotional impact of ads on viewers. The findings show that D&I content stimulated only positive reactions.

At the live event presenting the results, these particular findings were highlighted by Stefania Siani, Vice President of ADCI (Art Directors Club Italiano): “a growing number of companies are opening up to the new paradigms of communication with inclusive casting and non-discriminatory language, where products are advertised in settings that are a mirror of everyday life. Companies thus promote and participate in developing a common ground of values, while not losing sight of the business needs and the underlying communication plans.”

Engagement generates value

“The public wants campaigns that give visibility to the vast range of characteristics that connote us with respect of diversity and without any discrimination, based on, for example, economic status, age, gender, physical appearance, ethnicity, religion or other,” said Roberta Lucca, Commercial Marketing Director of Rai Pubblicità. She highlighted that such ads are likelier to be memorable for viewers. D&I advertising strengthens the brand purpose and generates engagement and therefore value. For more than 60% of those surveyed, inclusive ad campaigns eradicated feelings of intolerance (67.7%), brought the company closer to people’s way of thinking (61.6%) and established a brand positioning consistent with current societal and people’s expectations (60.9%).

Representing the advertisers’ side, Camilla Costarelli, HR Business Partner and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Lead at L’Oréal, underlined the company’s constant commitment to remain faithful to its mission of embracing diversity, in order to interpret and create the beauty that moves the world. She said that the pandemic also further stimulated the sense of consumers’ value – companies no longer speak only of performance but also of closeness and values.

Rai’s important role

Maria Pia Ammirati, Director at Rai Fiction, discussed the important role Rai plays in tackling these issues and how, through Rai’s multiple user platforms, the broadcaster is best suited for raising public awareness, in favour of both the audiences and advertisers. As the study demonstrates, D&I content positively affects purchasing decisions, creating a win-win situation for viewers and advertisers. Of those surveyed, 67.2% said that mass media holds a central role in the fight against discrimination and societal intolerance. Not surprisingly, 76.1% recognised Rai, and its public service commitment, as the main player on the Italian media market to promote social and cultural change, by leveraging its high-quality content and wide distribution.

The important topic of diversity and inclusion was the subject of egta’s online event on 17 February.