Innovative AI-driven study shows that Latinos are the only ethnic group that is underrepresented in relation to our population percentage
Despite a 2020 spike in Hispanic actors portrayed in TV ads, the number dropped by more than 50 percent in 2022, according to a large-scale, AI-driven and first-of-its-kind study unveiled this week. The reduction in Hispanic actors mirrored a drop among Black and Asian actors as well.
While many major brands have pledged greater investment in DE&I initiatives, particularly on the media spending side, the study raises questions about how these investments will translate to hiring practices at the casting level.
The study, by creative logistics company, Extreme Reach, showed that the 2022 level of Hispanic actors dropped to 5 percent – the lowest point since 2019 when the number was 6.2 percent. By 2020, the number of Hispanic actors had increased to a high of 11.7 percent, then dropped to 9.6 percent in 2021, and continued its downward trend for a third straight year in 2022.
“Diversity is such an important topic, yet there has been little quantifiable information available at scale related to the people featured in advertising creative,” said Extreme Reach CMO Melinda McLaughlin. “We set out to give brands and agencies the information needed to make the decisions that matter to their business. This report provides a high-level view of diversity in ads that establishes the baseline for the industry, from which brands can devise their own roadmap.”
In the study, titled Diversity in Ad Creative, Extreme Reach analyzed one million TV ads that appeared in North America between January 2019 and October 2022, on both linear (traditional) television and digital platforms. Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, and supported with human quality checks, the study assessed each ad for its composition by ethnicity, gender, race, and age. The report also analyzed these segments in relation to Large and Medium/Small advertising verticals, such as Automotive, Consumer Goods, Food & Beverage, Pharma & Healthcare, Financial Services, Restaurants, and Sports.
The study reported on four broad race/ethnicity segments (White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic) “which are identifiable at high confidence levels.” As AI and machine learning models become more sophisticated, the company hopes to report on additional segments in line with the U.S. Census, such as American Indian/Alaska Native.
Among the Hispanic-related findings, the study revealed:
- While Hispanics make up 19.8 percent of the U.S. population, this is the only ethnic segment that is proportionally underrepresented in ads, at 5 percent. (By contrast, African-Americans are 12.7 percent of the U.S. population, and are represented in ads at 14.3 percent; Asians are 6.3 percent of the U.S. population and are represented in ads at 8.3 percent.
- Hispanic talent composition is highest in the 10-19 age range.
- The highest percentage of Hispanic talent is found in the following five large verticals: Insurance; Pharma & Healthcare; Financial Services; Restaurants; and Consumer Goods.
- Among the large verticals, Automotive ads displayed the lowest amount of Hispanic talent.
- The Restaurant ad vertical is the most diverse, especially among Blacks and Asians.
- Among the Medium to Small Verticals, the top five for Hispanics are: Legal; Charity/Non-Profit; Political; Real Estate; and Gambling & Lottery.
- The Toys vertical had the lowest Hispanic share, with less than one percent Hispanic talent.
Extreme Reach’s platform “plays a central role in moving the vast majority of ad creative through the marketing supply chain to any linear or digital screen which uniquely positions us to provide our clients with expansive insights previously unavailable in one comprehensive view,“ said CEO Tim Conley. “The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning now enable us to understand diversity and accessibility metrics that are increasingly important to brands.”
To download the Extreme Reach Diversity in Ad Creative study and to view its methodology, click here.