Advertising Campaigns With Messages Tied To Diversity & Inclusion Increase Business Outcomes

VAB’s Do The Right Thing: How Diversity & Inclusion Drives Brand Outcomes finds a significant correlation between advertising that includes messages tied to diversity and inclusiveness and business success. The findings are the result of VAB’s analysis of hundreds of advertising campaigns and 3,300 commercials from 50 brands across multiple categories spanning the last five years. More than 20 diversity and inclusion campaign case studies from Johnnie Walker, Nike, Target, ThirdLove, Ulta Beauty, and other brands are included.

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Inclusive Advertising Campaigns Drive Awareness and Increase Attention

Earlier this year, Target released an ad featuring The Honey Pot founder, Beatrice Dixon, in support of minority female-owned businesses. According to VAB’s analysis, the ad had one of the highest attention scores of all Target ads among viewers. Additionally, Honey Pot sales increased 20-30 percent across its retailers following the campaign launch.

Marketers embracing topics that resonate with consumers see increases in social conversations, online video views and search queries

In 2016, Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker released its Keep America Walking campaign with visuals presenting an authentic representation of America’s cultural diversity and a message of inclusion. The response was overwhelmingly positive for the ad (90 percent). VAB found it helped increase the brands’ digital interactions and drove two-thirds of its total earned digital interactions over the last five years.

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Inclusive Advertising Grows a Business’s Bottom Line

In 2018, Nike debuted the first in a series of commercials about people pursuing their biggest dreams. The initial spot included visuals of athletes competing, while also touching on gender, disabilities, and other diversity issues. It was narrated by former NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick declaring, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” Nike introduced the ad at the beginning of its third quarter, resulting in record-breaking sales and the company achieving its highest third-quarter revenue up to that point in time. Subsequently, record-breaking sales have been achieved in each quarter since the commercial’s launch through early 2020.

Sean Cunningham, president & CEO, VAB: “Increasing customer activation and growth in today’s business environment is a major challenge for marketers. Motivating underleveraged customer segments with messages that genuinely resonate can ignite business results. Do The Right Thing provides statistical evidence that embracing diversity and inclusion as a core brand component leads to positive outcomes, such as increased engagement across each stage of a customer’s path to purchase, as well as sales growth.”

VAB utilized data from third-party measurement services such as and Comscore, along with publicly-available company sales data for its analysis.

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