Campaign India Team
Dec 07, 2023

48% Indians want more inclusive representation from brands: ASCI

Depiction of women in Indian ads continues to be skewed stereotypically while diversity and inclusion of LGBTQI+ groups nearly absent, according to a Kantar report

48% Indians want more inclusive representation from brands: ASCI
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and the UN Women convened Unstereotype Alliance (UA), launched a collaborative study on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in Indian advertising.
The report, prepared by Kantar, deep dives into a critical component of corporates' ESG (environmental, social and governance) goals.
The study was unveiled at the DEI Edge Summit, co-hosted by ASCI and UA.
Key findings of the Indian study
48% of Indians expressed the need for more inclusive representation by brands, as against 33% of consumers across the world. India’s socially aware consumers are an encouragement for brands on the way to inclusiveness and a wake-up call for those yet to embrace D&I.
This is even as India emerges to be in the bottom tier of Inclusiveness as per the Social Progress Index.
There was a near absence of representation diversity in Indian advertising. The study found less than 1% representation of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities featured in less than 1% of the ads and only 4% of Indian ads depicted people aged above 65 years. 

While the presence of women in ads was comparable to men, sticky stereotypes prevail. 58% of women are portrayed with fair skin tones versus 25% of men on-screen.
39% of women were shown with less diverse physical appearances versus 16% of men on-screen.
17.5% of women were depicted as the sole caregiver and in traditional, less authoritative roles as against 3.5% men characters, with male characters three times more authoritative than their female counterparts. 
Women also tended to be shown as younger with 86% of them between 20 and 39 years of age compared to 62% of men.
The report also highlighted the positive aspects such as gender presence is now not an issue, with 2X solo female presence ads seen in non-Hindi advertisements relative to Hindi ads.
Manisha Kapoor, CEO and secretary-general, ASCI, said, “There is no doubt that advertising shapes society. Indian advertising is missing the diverse and inclusive narratives that can provide a real edge to brands, as can be seen in the study. Along with The Unstereotype Alliance and other partners, ASCI would like to nudge and support the advertising industry in getting its DEI representation right. The opportunity to include diverse perspectives and stories is a powerful one, and the event showcases the immense benefits both brands and society can derive from such progressive inclusions.”
Susan, Fergusan, country representative, UN Women, said, “Over the past two years, the Unstereotype Alliance in India has united brands, organisations, and individuals who believe in the transformative influence of advertising and media in fostering an inclusive society. Our efforts transcend campaigns; we strive to dismantle stereotypes, fostering a cultural shift that champions diversity and inclusion in the advertising industry."
The research scoured through ads that aired in October 2023, coupled with Kantar’s analysis of advertisements over the past few years. 


Campaign India

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