CSR (corporate social responsibility)

SeeHer and Horowitz Research’s Gen Z Vibe Check

Tarya WeedonCultural Insights Strategist, Horowitz Research

Yatisha FordeSenior Director, Insights & Thought Leadership, ANA

Tarya Weedon of Horowitz Research and Yatisha Forde of the ANA discussed how to connect and create trust with Gen Z through accurate representation, authentic allyship and honest dialogue. This generation is redefining American culture with their views on gender, sexuality and fluidity. Champions of gender equality, they are a vocal cohort at the forefront of reversing the negative effects of traditional gender rules and stereotypes. Gen Z are hyperaware of when a campaign’s message is inauthentic or a brand does not “walk the walk.” Fewer Gen Z than other generations think advertising accurately reflects them. Tarya and Yatisha offered advice on how to pass the “vibe check” with this generation. Their study had two legs, a qualitative phase which was interacting over a two-week period with an online community with 70 Gen Zers in the U.S. The quantitative phase was an online survey among 800 U.S. respondents ages 14-to-24. Key takeaways:
  • Forty percent of Gen Zers said labels should be chosen by the individual, not society.
  • Over 50% said both male and female identifying people can do anything from using makeup to doing manual physical labor, and from being emotional to being in STEM.
  • Eighty-eight percent disagree that increased acceptance of non-traditional ways about gender and sexuality is bad for society.
  • Half of Gen Z self-identify as gender non-binary, and 64% identify as sexually fluid.
  • Forty-six percent said claiming support wasn’t enough. To be seen as trustworthy, a brand needs to show its support in action.
  • Forty-seven percent said it felt like pandering when an ad highlighted a cause that they’re not involved in.
  • Although respondents thought that all brands have a responsibility to influence perceptions about gender and sexuality, they felt some types of brands have a bigger responsibility than others. The biggest responsibility came to beauty/self-care brands (50%), clothing (49%), pharma/health (20%) and food/beverage brands (18%).
  • Just 47% of respondents felt like advertising accurately reflected their generation.
  • Recommendations included making diversity part of the brand ethos, reimagining gender and sexuality in advertising content, leveraging SheHer guides and GEM best practices, including more diversity and aspects of intersectionality in advertising and finding ways to open dialogue that is inclusive and without judgment.

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Making Prosocial/Cause-Related Ads More Effective

Last year, we reported on an analysis which found that many advertisements with prosocial and cause-related messages are not as effective as surveys on consumer attitudes suggest. This urged researchers to explore how to make such ad messages more effective. Several new studies provide insights on this issue.    Read more »

Inside the Journal of Advertising Research: Sonic Branding, ASMR Engagement, and Who Wins in Activist Messaging?


At this Insights Studio, researchers in Europe, the U.K. and the U.S. presented work in relatively new fields that have high-impact potential for the advertising industry. Starting with a forthcoming paper on sonic branding, the authors described their ground-breaking framework for measuring the implicit effects of sonic branding using music to manipulate visual scenes in video, film and TV. Next, a deep dive into autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR)—a sensory-inducing device in ads—included strategies for helping brands collaborate with successful ASMR influencers. Lastly, a preview of an article to be published in the March Prosocial Advertising Special Issue showed how brand activism influences attitudes and purchase intentions, revealing a credibility gap between established activist brands and brands emerging in that space. Taking questions from Paul and from attendees, panelists in the concluding Q&A explored links between sonic branding and ASMR, the demographics of ASMR followers, ways for emergent activist brands to close the credibility gap with established activist brands, and future research possibilities.

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The Importance of Employee Treatment

Most discussions about corporate social responsibility are focused on companies’ efforts regarding sustainability and societal goals. A new study shows that many consumers think that a company’s concern for and treatment of their own workers is a key element of CSR.    Read more »

Does Having Multicultural Marketing Mean Your Brand is Inclusive?

  • MSI

Multicultural marketing is popular today. Its aim is to increase inclusion through consumption. But does propagating such marketing make a brand inclusive? An inclusive brand is one that creates, communicates and delivers offerings that serve underrepresented communities, say researchers in this Marketing Science Institute (MSI) working paper. In this way, such brands enhance lives through increased equality, acceptance, respect, belonging and empowerment.

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Navigating the Evolving Media Landscape

  • OTT 2023

The media landscape continues to evolve, arguably at a faster rate than ever. Leading media and measurement experts presented research-based insights on how viewers use different forms of TV/video on various platforms. Attendees joined us at the Warner Bros. Discovery Studios in California and via livestream to understand the latest data and discussions of the data’s implications.

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DEI Backlash?

  • Summary by Agustina Perez Blua (Google)
  • Cultural Effectiveness Council

On October 18, the Cultural Effectiveness Council examined how the diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) environment may have changed after a period of reinvigorated commitment in the wake of widespread protests following the George Floyd case. Experts discussed the current state of DE&I in media, marketing, and advertising and how to navigate it, as well as examples of inclusive advertising that have both boosted brand sales and experienced backlash.

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