Families Don’t Come from Central Casting
The All American Family has been recast according to Pew Research Center. Of course you would know this after a few hours of TV watching – if you don’t ignore commercials to grab a snack or take a bio break. Advertisers are producing more inclusive spots featuring the complexity and diversity of the people next door.
Here are five real-world reflections of family life circa 2019 and a sampling of advertisers who are holding up that mirror.
- We are not all blue-eyed blondes. And we don’t want to be. Multiracial couples and families are not the statistical anomaly they once were. Despite token backlash and tiny Twitter tantrums, advertisers featuring ethnic diversity within the same family include Cheerios, Coors Light, State Farm, JPMorgan Chase, Macy’s and Smile Direct Club.
- Special blends aren’t just for Starbucks. More often than not, families consist of yours + mine + ours + others. This diversity shows up in advertising for Olive Garden, Oscar Mayer’s, Samsung, Humana and Coldwell Banker.
- Love is love. Same-sex couples in ads once caused a stir but the idea is mainstream now. Male couples and female couples star in commercials for Campbell’s Soup, Starbucks, Visa, Calvin Klein and many more popular brands.
- Handi-capable people are not invisible. People with disabilities are still underrepresented given how many are in the general population, but advertisers are starting to bring them out of the background and into the spotlight. Grandparents, parents and children with disabilities are featured in commercials promoting Microsoft, Toyota, Nike and Gap.
- Mom and/or Dad is the breadwinner. Parents in ads are now a little older and a little more career-involved, often shown traveling for business, at the office or working from the kitchen table. They can even pop up in what would have once been considered “non-parental” situations … such as doing homework or preparing for a date. Advertisers adding this realism to the mix include Progressive Bank, Ikea, Tide and American Express
Image Number: 1439R-13754028 : Credit: Jamie Kingham / Image Source
Image Number: 1589R-12603847 : Credit: JGI/Tom Grill / Blend Images
Image Number: 1589R-13707680 : Credit: Inti St Clair / Blend Images
Image Number: 4464R-15309650 : Credit: ARTINA FILMS / Album / Hoxton Collection
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Image Number: 4448R-20348477 : Credit: Maskot
Bonus: The family dog is now a cat. Maybe all those Internet cat videos were an influence, but it could simply be the numbers. There are more cat-families (and multi-cat families) than dog owners. Cats have featured roles in advertising by Ford, Cover Girl, DirecTV, Swiffer and Doritos, to name just a few feline-friendly brands.