Ethnic groups not reflected in TV advertising

Actors from black, Asian or other ethnic minorities appeared in just 5.3 per cent of UK TV ads screened in 2010, according to data from Clearcast.

Hamish Pringle says advertising "not institutionally racist"
Hamish Pringle says advertising "not institutionally racist"
Official statistics show that around 13 per cent of the UK population is from an ethnic minority but according to the results, just 1,845 of the 34,499 commercials that went through Clearcast in 2010 featured black, Asian or ethnic minority actors. This was based on information supplied by agencies.

Jabeer Butt, the deputy chief executive of the Race Equality Foundation said: "No one would want to stifle creativity by suggesting that we have to have a certain percentage of black and minority ethnic people portrayed in ads. However, these statistics suggest that advertisers are missing an opportunity to reach a growing segment of consumers."

Actors from ethnic minorities most frequently appeared in ads for household equipment, property, entertainment and pharmaceutical brands. They appeared less frequently in ads for food, motoring, retail, and telecoms.

Ethnic minorities were relatively well represented in Government ads, though mostly in walk-on parts. As feature actors they were under-represented.

Hamish Pringle, the director-general of the IPA, which has invested in its own diversity initiatives, said: "Portrayal is a very important element in this. If people see people like them in communications then they are likely to think ‘this is for me’. Thankfully this isn’t an institutionally racist business – it’s simply because the radar isn’t quite on every time there is a casting decision taken."

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