Deloitte Digital's Heat creates diversity ad score test

The goal: Prove the business impact of inclusive advertising.

Deloitte Digital’s Heat has released findings from its proprietary diversity ad score test, which shows - without a shadow of a doubt - that truly diverse, inclusive advertising is good for a company’s bottom line. 

According to "The Heat Test," the majority of brands (69 percent) with ads that represent diverse individuals in a three-dimensional way, rather than relying on stereotypes see better performances on their stock prices.

The test, developed by Heat, measures eight key metrics: People of color, women, LGBTQ, age, ethnicity, socio-economic class, disability and religion. The metrics were tested on the ads of 50 of the top 200 media spenders, and then those results were measured against each of their business and stock growth over the last seven quarters. Heat also put the metrics up against each company’s brand index score to discover public perception of the creative being reviewed. 

One of the takeaways from the research is that while women and people of color are often represented in ads, they also tend to be in stereotyped roles. For example, 94 percent of brands had women in a primary role, yet 57 percent were in power positions and more than half were in stereotypical gender posts, like an empathetic mom or devoted wife.

Similarly, most brands (92 percent) had a person of color in a primary role, but only 15 percent were culturally diverse.

Even more disheartening is that of the 431 occurrences of diversity in primary roles in all ads tested,, there were only three appearances of an LGBTQ+ character - that’s less than one percent. 

Of the ads reviewed, The Heat Map found that the highest scoring companies were 83 percent more likely to see an improvement in their brand index or consumer perception scores than the low-scoring brands. 

Heat ended its research results with the biggest takeaway from the test: "Showing real, rich human experiences wins both hearts and wallets."

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