Black, African American

Making Inclusive Advertising Effective

Ads that highlight under-represented groups and their experiences can have broad appeal and be highly effective. However, they can backfire – even among the group the ad is focused on – if they fall into the “sadness trap”. 

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CultureConnect Podcast Series: Episode #4: Contending with Algorithmic Bias

May 5, 2022 — Episode #4: Contending with Algorithmic Bias, a conversation with, Janelle James, SVP, Ipsos IUU (Council Co-Chair), Kalinda Ukanwa, Assistant Professor of Marketing at USC’s Marshall School of Business. Amanda Bower, Machine Learning Researcher at Twitter. Hui Wang, VP/Director of Global Data Intelligence – Analytics Service, at Publicis Media. Kathy Sheehan, Senior Vice President at Cassandra. Ilinca Barsan, Data Science Director at Wunderman Thompson.

We’re increasingly dependent on algorithms in a variety of areas. This has led to problems with algorithmic bias, in which statistical and econometric models or a programmed set of instructions systematically treats members of some groups differently than others. This can be due to the unconscious biases of engineers who build the models, biases in the data they are trained on, biases inherent in the models themselves or algorithms’ treatment of human attributes as single, isolated components rather than intersectional identities. We look at the ways in which models, programs, and algorithms in the media, marketing, and advertising industries can unintentionally favor majority populations and ignore or even discriminate against minority segments and how to overcome this problem.

CultureConnect Podcast Series: Episode #5: Contending with Algorithmic Bias pt 2

June 17, 2022 — Episode #5: Contending with Algorithmic Bias pt 2 , A conversation with, Kalinda Ukanwa, an Assistant Professor of Marketing at USC’s Marshall School of Business. Amanda Bower, a machine learning researcher at Twitter.

Technology is an essential part of our everyday life. We rely on it to help us navigate our finance, employment, housing, health care and purchases, among other things. But, perhaps unknowingly, we may be impacted by algorithmic bias, in which systematic repeatable errors in AI treat members of some groups differently than others. In part two of our look at algorithmic bias, we delve further into what consumers and companies can do about it.

How to Improve Prosocial Messages

Many companies have employed prosocial messaging and more diverse portrayals in advertising. New research explored if and how those strategies can improve consumers’ perceptions of brands and increase sales.  Read more »

New Lenses on Brand Identity

  • Summary by Hannah Stone (Verizon), Young Pros Officer

This ARF Cognition Council event explored how brands can improve consumers’ perceptions of their pro-social messaging based on insights from fresh analyses of data from a variety of sources. Experts from Ipsos, Dartmouth College and Research Measurement Technologies shed light on a diverse range of research on ways that brands can convey pro-social messages in their advertising.

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The ARF Diversity Report

The newly published ARF Diversity Report is a comprehensive summary of research on the state of diversity in the marketing industry, and how diversity affects company and marketing campaign performance.

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The ARF Diversity Report


The 2020 US census revealed that the United States is far more diverse and multiracial today than ever before in its history. Approximately 38% of the population belong to racial minority groups. The trend is expected to continue, which has resulted in companies increasing their focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), both internally and in their marketing efforts. In order to inform member companies of where we are as an industry, as well as to offer best practices and actionable insights in their own DEI efforts, the ARF has put together The Diversity Report. The report is available for purchase, as a fundraising effort to support ARF WIDE.

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  • Article

Diverse Reactions: Getting Diversity and Inclusion Right in Advertising

Kantar’s Deepak Varma presented research on racial representation in advertising which sought to understand consumer reactions to single race ads compared to multi-racial and diverse ads from diverse audiences (Black Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Whites). Using creative assessment tools coupled with facial coding, eye-tracking and intuitive associations, the study measured unconscious bias in addition to explicit and implicit reactions to advertising. Breaking down consumer responses to diverse ads from Uber, Instacart and Bounty, Deepak stressed the importance of emotional connections through powerful stories that cut across all races.

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