How Americans Are Celebrating Black History Month

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How Americans Are Celebrating Black History Month
Learn how American consumers across racial and ethnic segments prepare for and celebrate Black History Month. Read on for insights curated from our 2021 Holidays and Occasions research.
 

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. The month of February was officially recognized as Black History Month in 1976, as a part of the country’s Bicentennial celebration.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research on consumer attitudes and behaviors around Black History Month.

Today, over three-fourths of Black Americans celebrate Black History Month, compared to one in four Americans across all racial and ethnic segments.

The most common way Americans participate in Black History Month is by supporting black-owned businesses. Overall, about one in five of Americans do this, with half of all Black Americans likely to do so. Education about Black history and culture and the challenges facing Black Americans today, is also a common way many celebrate the month especially for Black Americans. Multicultural segments overall are more likely to participate in all the methods of celebration of Black History Month than White Americans.

In 2021, Barbie celebrated Black History Month by adding a new doll honoring Dr. Maya Angelou to their “Inspiring Women” collection. Started in 2018, the line celebrates real-life role models which includes other Black Women such as Rosa Parks and Ella Fitzgerald. Barbie also pledged “that more than 50% of future Role Models honored will be Black, indigenous, or women of color,” and has committed to supporting Black-focused non-profits.

Fill out the form below to contact us to learn more about our Black Consumer and Holidays & Occasions research.

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CultureRate: Better Target Your Brand While Driving Halo Effects in Ads

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CultureRate: Better Target Your Brand While Driving Halo Effects in Ads

Using our CultureRate database, we analyzed over 500 brands and 100 ads gathered across the last 12 months to establish a set of lessons that help marketers better connect with today’s “New Wave” consumers between 18 and 41, across race and ethnicity.

Brands Are Challenged by Rising Cultural Diversity and Polarization

As shown in research accompanying this initiative, marketing and insights leaders face increasing pressure to translate the rapid cultural transformation underway in the U.S. marketplace into clear action steps for brands. From 2020 to 2021, we witnessed an astonishing 10 percentage point-plus increase in the already-high importance of race and ethnicity for multicultural consumers, even as satisfaction of portrayals fell by an average of 8 percentage points.

Multicultural American support brands that support them

One thing is for certain: the increase in multicultural consciousness that arose in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns and George Floyd’s murder has not reverted to norm. Cultural Fluency is emerging as a new mandate for marketing as a whole, and can no longer be understood as a sideshow to the main act of mainstream marketing. Cultural Fluency demands that brands use culture to connect effectively and authentically within and across segments.

How CultureRate:Ad Reveals Powerful New Insights

To address these issues, we launched CultureRate in 2018, a brand and creative evaluation methodology that is now providing our members with powerful new insights into brand and ad performance across cultural groups.

CultureRate is different from any anything on the market today, in four distinct ways:

    • Culture is Intrinsic to the Entire Approach: CultureRate positions culture as the primary lens through which to understand diverse segments.
    • CultureRate is Grounded in Science of Group Emotion and Rationality: Our approach is based on long-ignored research into the psychology of group emotion and emerging insights from evolutionary psychology into the role of rationality as a mechanism for signaling group affiliation. CultureRate breaks new ground by fully recognizing that consumers not only make decisions to buy products on a path toward optimization of personal net benefits and self-actualization, but also make decisions as a member of group. We have learned nothing since 2016, if not the importance of this phenomenon and the degree to which it completely reframes our understanding of human behavior.
    • Rigorously Validated Metrics: We undertook an exhaustive process to identify metrics that matter, identifying the six most critical component metrics for CultureRate:Brand through an exhaustive review of 20 candidate metrics to derive the critical six that optimally reflected cultural dimensions while predicting brand favorability.
    • Linkage to Cultural Traits of Consumers: methodology is integrated within Collage Group’s Cultural Traits system, a rigorously proven method for measuring cultural variation, that enables marketing professions to link how using cultural insights into specific segments improve ad and brand effectiveness. Explore how Cultural Trait analysis works when applied to Black consumers

Unrivaled Rigor and Database Depth

The methodology introduces two important new metrics: the Brand Cultural Fluency Quotient (B-CFQ) and the Ad Cultural Fluency Quotient (A-CFQ), composed of six and four subcomponent metrics respectively, both of which were designed to optimally predict favorability and purchase intent. A-CFQ is also complemented by Backlash, which takes conventional brand favorability a step further by quantifying the degree to which an ad can “flip” perception from positive to negative or vice versa. Combining A-CFQ and Backlash metrics for target segments reveal the dynamics that make ads successful.

Top Lessons for More Inclusive Marketing

For this research we filtered our database to derive a high-quality sample of around 250,000 consumer responses to over 300 brands and 100 ads for the population of 18-41 year old Americans we dub the “New Wave.”  We focus on this younger segment because it is the first in American history to grow up in a culturally and intrinsically diverse environment and thereby redefining the future of values and respect for diversity that will make or break brands in the next years. Our research into brand performance revealed that:
    • Brands need to appreciate the different reasons multicultural Americans love brands.
    • Multicultural consumers are much more likely to appreciate brands when they specifically see that the brand is for “people like me.” Gain an edge: go to extremes to show how your brand is for multicultural Americans. 
    • Trust is a game changer for Black Americans. Lean into opportunities to show how your brand has supported the segment, how your brand embodies values core to the segment, and/or connects to the Black Group Trait of Perseverance.
    • Hispanic Americans’ uniquely express their affiliation for a brand through their willingness to advocate for the brand to others. Leverage Hispanic Group Traits of Warmth and being Tuned-In to prime them to be a trend-setter on your behalf. Give Hispanic consumers a reason to talk about your brand and they will reward you with mentions, word of mouth and other opportunities to drive earned media attention.

Our research into ad performance revealed that:

    • Halo effects are much more common than you think, even as targeted ads remain important, especially for Black and Hispanic consumers
2021 Top 20 Ads: Black Halo Effects
    • Brands can drive inclusivity by showing how consumers are part of a spectrum of shared experience. Associate Black or Hispanic agency with the Passion Points of other groups.
    • Cross-generational familial bonds provide immense power for storytelling: The extended family relationships of younger consumers are your unsung opportunity.
    • Black consumers will punish you for poor representational choices, especially on themes that are universal. Ensure any “vignette” approach to a universal experience includes Black people.
    • Culturally-specific humor may not halo well. Increase the reliability of halo effects by appealing to universal themes of Connection (family, friends, and community).
    • Social justice messages that address multicultural issues work well when the consumers see the direct benefit of an investment in opportunity for real people.
    • The preferences of White consumers may be a poor guide for the general market appeal.

Collage Group members receive one free evaluation of a brand and of an ad of your choice. Members frequently combine CultureRate:Brand and CultureRate:Ad analyses to track how changes in advertising performance impact brand performance over time. Contact us at the form below to learn more.

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Holidays and Occasions: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s

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Holidays and Occasions: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s

Learn how American consumers across racial and ethnic segments prepare for and celebrate the winter holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s.

The beginning of winter brings a multitude of holidays for Americans to celebrate. While revelers will still have to cope with COVID-19 protocols during the 2021 festivities, vaccines and experience may better equip Americans to celebrate more openly this year than last. With an eye toward shifts in consumer behavior we bring you our updated findings from the 2021 Holidays & Occasions study to help your brand understand consumers’ changing expectations and how they plan to celebrate during this holiday season.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research presentation,  Multicultural Holidays & Occasions.

Christmas is one of the most beloved and widely celebrated holidays in America. Over three-quarters of each racial and ethnic segment celebrate it, with its highest popularity among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Americans. Consumers from many backgrounds celebrate the holiday by enjoying seasonal food, listening to Christmas music, and putting up festive decorations.

However, multicultural consumers say that their Christmas celebrations often differ from typical depictions. Cultural nuance at Christmas is key information for brands producing traditional Christmas marketing content as it may land as unrelatable to some Americans consumers. often Over a quarter of Hispanic and Asian consumers agreed that their versions of Christmas celebrations split from a standard “American Christmas.” This is often the case because of the inclusion of cultural celebrations.

Christmas celebration traditions

Hispanics often celebrate Christmas through several holidays such as Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), Three Kings Day (January 6th), Las Posadas (the 9 nights leading up to Christmas), and Tamaladas (a Christmastime tamale-making party). Highlighting these holidays activities during the winter months is a great way to connect with Hispanic consumers.

Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day holiday observed on the 25th day of Kislev (typically in December). Also known as the festival of lights, this holiday is celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers, and fried foods. Though fewer than one in ten Americans celebrate the holiday, over a third of all consumers actively welcome brands to celebrate it through advertising and marketing efforts.

American retailer Target was able to successfully do this in their most recent holiday ad campaign “The Holidays Are Meant To Be Shared” which features a family celebrating Hanukkah by lighting the menorah, among several other different holiday activities.

Kwanzaa, a seven-night holiday observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, is a holiday to honor African American and Pan-African culture and traditions and celebrates African American unity. Though not widely popular with the total population, the holiday holds great importance for many Black Americans. According to our study, 18% of Black Americans celebrate Kwanzaa. This is also a holiday for brands to consider celebrating. About 30% of Black consumers agreed that all brands should celebrate Kwanzaa in their advertising. This provides the opportunity for brands to highlight Kwanzaa and its traditions to educate Americans unfamiliar with the holiday and connect with Black consumers.

Finally, New Year’s also provides brands an opportunity to be the life of the party. New Year’s is celebrated by most Americans across all ethnic groups, though Hispanics are particularly likely to enjoy the festivities. Although sparkling wine is typically a toasting drink to usher in the new year, other alcoholic beverages play a prominent role in the celebration. Hispanic consumers are most likely to drink beer and hard cider during their celebrations, while Black consumers are most likely to drink liquor/spirits.

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Start 2022 Strong with New Diverse Consumer Insights

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Start 2022 Strong with New Diverse Consumer Insights

More than 200 of America’s top brands have access to the deep cultural insights needed to engage America’s diverse consumers. Do you? Here’s an overview of the new reports we’re releasing in Q1 2022 and beyond that you’re missing out on. Contact us today for access:

​Health and Wellness

Explore how consumer attitudes and behaviors toward health and wellness are evolving across diverse segments, including barriers to access, provider preferences, and more.

Small Business Owners in America

Learn how to connect authentically with America’s small business owners. This research gives you a look into the attitudes and behaviors of culturally diverse owners and includes action items to integrate marketing best practices for effective engagement.

LGBTQ+ Terminology​

Engage the LGBTQ+ community with a deeper understanding of changing expectations and trends in self-identification. Understand the meaning and preferences for terms like non-binary and intersex, and the nuances of personal pronouns. Dig deeper into the labels and/or identifiers each segment prefers and double-click by age, race/ethnicity, and gender when relevant.

CultureRate:Brand & Ad

Assess the Cultural Fluency of your brand and ads and explore how you stack up vs. your competitors. Members of our consumer research platforms have access to a dedicated report on a brand and ad.

New Launches in 2022

Also rolling out in 2022 are the launch of a new program and add-on module. More details on timing and content of these releases are coming soon.

Parents & Kids

In 2022, Collage Group will continue to expand our research into new territories. This includes a new research program exploring cultural variations in the attitudes and behaviors of parents and kids.

Medical Conditions

This add-on module for members who have a current demographic subscription will cover health care-related attitudes and behaviors of consumers with various medical diagnoses. The conditions and intersections covered will be released in February, but will likely include conditions such as chronic pain, depression, diabetes and more across race and ethnicity.  

Collage Group members have access to more than 10 years of consumer insights in over 300 studies with new data unveiled 3-to-4 times a month. As a member, you also get to the full reports recently released, including: Holidays & Occasions, Passion Points, Cultural Traits, Digital & Media and Category Essentials. Contact us to learn more about membership. 

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Change is Now: A Special Video Presentation

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Change is Now: A Special Video Presentation

For years, multicultural Americans have driven all the country’s population growth and have added trillions of dollars to the U.S. economy. These changes can be seen everywhere from food and media to healthcare and financial services, and so much more.

Cultural Fluency is the key to authentically connect with American consumers across race and ethnicity. But, engaging multicultural consumers is only the starting point. Cultures evolve through generational change and forces encompassing how we identify ourselves, including gender, sexuality, family structures and much more.

Navigating these changes can be challenging, even for the most seasoned and culturally aware brands. In fact, no single marketer can speak well to every segment without understanding the incredible transformation of the American consumer.

For more than a decade, Collage Group has helped 200+ iconic American brands engage, support, and champion the voices of America’s diverse consumers. Explore our new video series to learn how you too can unleash the power of culture to drive brand growth.

Fill out the form below to connect with our Sales team learn how you can get started on your path to Cultural Fluency.

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Media Consumption Across Gender

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Media Consumption Across Gender

Media is a major aspect of American life. Whether it’s social media, visual entertainment, or audio content, Americans spend a significant amount of time and attention in the media sphere. American’s focus on media presents an awesome opportunity for brands to connect with consumers. But to do this efficiently and effectively, brands need to understand where people are going to consume media content, and why they’re going there.

  • Are they following specific topics?
  • Are they following influencers?
  • Are they looking for products to purchase?
  • Are they just killing time?
  • Is it device dependent?
  • Does it depend on the race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender of the characters or hosts?

Collage Group’s 2021 Media Study answers these questions. Our research reveals the specific platforms media users go to by gender, and what they’re using them for. This research also dives deep into content and platform drivers, including topics of interest and what consumers value in the personalities (e.g., influencers, podcast hosts, characters) they interact with across social, visual, and audio media.

Below are a several key insights we unearthed about media consumption by gender.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research on attitudes and behaviors around Media Consumption by Gender.

Media Consumption by Gender

Social Media

Key Insight: Women visit social media sites to keep up with friends and family significantly more than men. However, women’s platform preferences vary by age.

About 9 in 10 women who use social media do so to keep in touch with family and friends. Overall, Facebook is the most popular platform for women staying in touch with people they know, but there are significant differences in platform preference between younger women (18-40) and older women (41-75). While 78% of older women primarily use Facebook as their main platform to stay connected with others, younger women use a more varied line up of platforms with their 2nd (Instagram) and 3rd (Snapchat) choices garnering substantially higher usage rates than older women’s respective preferences.

Women are More Likely to use Social Media than Men

​Visual Media

Key Insight: Compared to other consumers, younger women watch cable TV the least and stream video content the most.

While almost a third of older men and women still subscribe to cable and satellite TV, only about a quarter of younger women now pay for traditional TV services. While all groups are likely to use multiple visual streaming platforms to access the content their favorite content, younger women subscribe to more streaming platforms per person than both men their age and older consumers of any gender.

Younger Women are Using the Most Streaming Services

Audio Media

Key Insight: When choosing podcasts and radio shows, women prioritize relaxing content.

Over one third of women say they prefer podcasts that help them relax and forget about their worries. When it comes to choosing radio shows, even more women (43%) say that relaxation and providing a reprieve from worry is a primary consideration. In both cases, women are significantly more likely to use these criteria than men when selecting podcasts and radio shows.

Women Prioritize Podcast and Radio Shows that are Relaxing

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Close 2021 Strong with New Diverse Consumer Insights

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Close 2021 Strong with New Diverse Consumer Insights

More than 200 of America’s top brands have access to the deep cultural insights needed to engage America’s diverse consumers. Do you? Here’s a sampling of our latest reports that you’re missing out on. Contact us today for access:

America Now

Transform change into opportunity. This deep dive report explores changes to diverse consumer attitudes at a key transformational moment. Learn where there is no going back and build strategy for the future.

​Health and Wellness

Explore how consumer attitudes and behaviors toward health and wellness are evolving across diverse segments, from conceptions and wellbeing, barriers to access, provider preferences, and more.

Digital Media Consumption

Discover how Americans are consuming media / social media content and the evolution across consumer segments. These reports explore use of streaming services, non-English languages, and much more. Learn more in samples of our Digital & Media reports on race/ethnicity, generation and sexuality.

CultureRate:Brand & Ad

Assess the Cultural Fluency of your brand and ads and explore how you stack up vs. your competitors. Members of our consumer research platforms have access to a dedicated report on a brand or ad, which includes recommendations for a path forward to improve the rankings.

Category Essentials

Access semi-annual reports to keep up with America’s diverse consumers across race/ethnicity, age, sexuality and gender. These reports evaluate consumer attitudes and behaviors across 12 different consumer goods industries. New reports will be released that dig deeper into apparel and travel and hospitality.

Collage Group members have access to more than 10 years of consumer insights in over 300 studies with new data unveiled 3-to-4 times a month. As a member, you also get to the full reports recently released, including: Holidays & Occasions, Passion Points, and Cultural Traits. Contact us to learn more about membership. 

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Travel & Hospitality: Five Key Insights for Engaging Multicultural Consumer Preferences

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Travel & Hospitality: Five Key Insights for Engaging Multicultural Consumer Preferences

As a second pandemic summer comes to an end, many Americans are planning their holiday travel amidst consistent and lasting changes to their preferences and expectations of the travel and hospitality industries. For marketing and consumer insights professionals in travel and hospitality, understanding these shifts in diverse consumer behavior is vital to improving short- and long-term brand engagement strategies.

Collage Group’s latest Passion Points research unveils how American consumers across racial and ethnic segments engage with travel, and which segments care most deeply about this important aspect of American life. Passion Points are the activities and areas of life people are deeply interested in. They are the “things” that people prioritize when spending their time, money, and attention. And they are concrete expressions of culture.

Brands apply Passion Points to both extend reach and deepen connection with America’s multicultural consumers. These activations can vary, from authentic creative and brand positioning to partnerships and sponsorships. In all cases, Passion Point research provides critical insight for understanding which activations will be most successful.

Download an excerpt of our research for travel-related attitudes and behaviors marketers and insights leaders can use to connect with diverse America. And read below for five key insights for engaging multicultural consumer travel preferences.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research on consumer attitudes and behaviors around Travel & Hospitality.

Passion Points - Travel

1. Most Americans are Eager to Travel

While many Americans remain concerned about the safety and health of traveling amidst the pandemic, most Americans are eager to travel, with Acculturated Hispanic and Asian Americans leading the pack at 74%.

Most American are Eager to Travel after COVID-19

2. And More than Half of Americans Want to See the World

Despite a preference for traveling domestically, 55% of Americans say they have a strong urge to see the world, with Black and Asian consumers saying they are most interested in traveling abroad.

Many Americans Report a Strong Urge to see the World

3. 1 in 3 Americans Have a Favorite Travel Destination

Many Americans may already know where they want to travel. While one-third of Americans say they have a preferred vacation or travel destination, Black consumers are the least likely – at 23%.

One in three Americans have a favorite travel destination

4. Consumer Preferences for How They Travel Vary Across Race and Ethnicity, and Asian Americans Enjoy Flying the Most

The experience of flying is most enjoyed by Asian Americans (63%), while less than half of Hispanic consumers say they enjoy the experience. However, Hispanic consumers show great variation in their preference for flying across acculturation levels.

Asian Americans most enjoy the experience of flying

5. And a Large Majority of Consumers Enjoy Road Trips

Many Americans may be taking to the roads for holiday travel, as more than 75% say they enjoy road trips. Make sure not to miss the extreme variations across Hispanic acculturation: Unacculturated Hispanics are the least likely to enjoy the road (15%), while acculturated Hispanic consumers prefer this method of travel (78%).

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How Great Brands Are Engaging and Celebrating Hispanic Culture

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How Great Brands Are Engaging and Celebrating Hispanic Culture

Collage Group Hosts Univision, Toyota, Publicis Media, Bimbo Bakeries and UnitedHealthcare for Hispanic Heritage Month Discussion & Celebration

From leadership and literature to music and art, Hispanic Americans have made substantial contributions to shaping the rich cultural fabric of the United States. At the launch of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, 2021, Collage Group is honored to have hosted nearly 200 marketing and insights professionals for a special virtual event. We were joined by five brand leaders to share insights and ideas for brands to recognize and celebrate Hispanic culture.

Fill out the form to watch a replay of the presentation and panel discussion, and download an excerpt of the insights:

Collage Group Chief Product Officer David Evans started off the event with insights on the demographic profile and cultural traits of the Hispanic consumer, as well as insights form our just-released Holidays & Occasions work specific to Hispanic Heritage Month.

David’s presentation was followed by a conversation with Collage Group member panelists moderated by David Wellisch, Collage Group CEO and Co-Founder. Panelists included:

    • • Roberto Ruiz, Univision, EVP of Research, Insights & Analytics
    • • Erika Caldwell, Toyota, Multicultural Brand and Marketing Lead
    • • Arnetta Whiteside, Publicis Media, VP, Research and Knowledge Management, Cultural Quotient
    • • Pepe Gil, Bimbo Bakeries USA, Marketing Director
    • • Anne Gowen, UnitedHealthcare, Senior Director of Marketing, Medicare & Retirement Marketing team

Panelists answered key questions about their challenges and successes in authentically engaging and supporting Hispanic Americans, including:

Q1: The Hispanic community has grown substantially during the past decade and now represents nearly 19% of the U.S. population, or more than 62 million consumers.

    • • For our media and agency panelists: how has this growth impacted the ways in which brands are prioritizing and engaging Hispanic consumers?
    • • And for our brand panelists: how has your brand evolved to effectively engage all Hispanic consumers across language spectrum and country of origin?

Q2: What challenges has your brand faced with engaging this fast-growing, impactful consumer segment, and how have you worked to address them?

    • • For our media and agency panelists: what are the most significant challenges that brands are currently facing in effectively and efficiently engaging the Hispanic consumer?
    • • For our brand panelists: what are the most significant challenges that brands are currently facing in effectively and efficiently engaging the Hispanic consumer?

Q3: What efforts to support the Hispanic community on issues such as jobs, health care, racial and ethnic inequality and immigration have you seen from your company during the past six months?

Q4: What do you think the Hispanic community – and the majority of Americans – are looking for from brands?

Q5: Tell us about the efforts you are undertaking to celebrate Hispanic culture during Hispanic Heritage Month?

Fill out the form above to watch the replay and find out how these brand leaders responded.

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Without Cultural Fluency, Brands Risk Major Backlash from Ads

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Without Cultural Fluency, Brands Risk Major Backlash from Ads

Effective ads require cultural fluency, the ability to use culture to efficiently and effectively connect across consumer segments.

The Challenge

Conventional ad testing poses challenges with legacy norms and sample bias and can exacerbate a cultural disconnect between your brand and the consumers you need to engage for growth.

The Opportunity

Built on a framework of a deep understanding of the cultural and emotional influences that inform how consumers from diverse backgrounds process ads, CultureRate:Ad helps you connect across culture.

If done incorrectly, advertising can create Backlash, which we define as flipping perception from positive to negative, creating a substantial decline in Brand Favorability. According to our CultureRate:Ad research, a startling 20-25% of consumers experience a “flip” in perception after watching just one ad. Our measurement of Backlash, combined with other metrics, can reveal characteristics of your ad that could be harmful to your brand.

This is a common challenge by leading brands. Read on for several examples of consumer backlash resulting from ads that missed the cultural mark.

Jeep | Winter 2021

Washington Post
With the attack on the U.S. Capitol only a month prior to the airing of this ad, emotions were high – fear, and anger, and joy – and all still fresh in the public consciousness. Calls by Jeep for unity and “the middle” were panned as “late” and “tone-deaf.”

Featuring Bruce Springsteen, a working-class hero of days gone by, the somber embrace of nostalgia didn’t seem to be an answer to the challenges of “the road ahead.” While it may have been intended as heartfelt, especially coming from the Boss, the dissonance between tone and message seemed to offer more confusion than reconciliation for Americans across all political persuasions. The ad was eventually pulled, following consumer backlash combined with a Springsteen drunk driving scandal.

Twitch | September 2020

esports.com
In its attempt to celebrate the Hispanic community during Hispanic Heritage Month, Twitch was heavily criticized for their campaign launching “stereotypical” emotes and spotlighting primarily English-speaking streamers. The streaming community responded with outrage. Within three hours, Twitch apologized saying they “missed the mark” and removed the emotes from the platform.

Peloton | Fall 2019

New York Times
With an ad widely criticized as “sexist and dystopian,” Peloton effectively tanked their stock by nearly $1.5 billion. The ad features a woman who received an exercise bike from her partner as a Christmas gift. She’s inspired to record a video diary of her new exercise routine, which she says, “changed her.” Critics slammed the ad as “offensive” and “damaging” calling attention to the fact that she was thin at the beginning of the ad, and implying her partner was patronizing for telling her to get fitter and lose weight.

Dolce & Gabbana | Winter 2018

Fast Company
In a failed attempt at a gaffe, a D&G ad featured a confused Asian woman attempting to eat spaghetti with chopsticks. Dressed in a red, European style dress the ad subtly suggested that while the woman embraces European fashion, she’s too stupid to truly understand European culture. Chinese consumers took to social media (Weibo), calling the ad offensive, racist and deliberately misrepresenting their country as a third-world nation.

Pepsi | Spring 2017

New York Times
With borrowed imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement, Pepsi failed in its attempt “to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding”. The ad, featuring Kendall Jenner, shows attractive young people smiling, laughing, dancing, and clapping at a public demonstration. Supported by cheers and applause from the crowd, Jenner, a white woman, gives a grinning police officer a can of Pepsi. Social media erupted with criticism accusing Pepsi of “appropriating imagery to sell its product, while minimizing the danger protesters encounter and the frustration they feel.” Within a day of airing the ad, Pepsi immediately pulled it and offered a public apology.

Answering the Challenge

While connecting across diverse consumer cultures certainly comes with challenges, there is good news. You don’t have to risk spending millions on an ad campaign that generates Backlash and causes harm to your brand, and even your company’s stock price. Collage Group’s CultureRate:Ad offers brands a superior way to assess the cultural fluency and resonance of ads. 

CultureRate:Ad measures ad performance using a proprietary metric, the Ad Cultural Fluency Quotient. With a deep oversample of diverse Americans, brand leaders get rich insight into how consumers process ads across race and ethnicity, generation, sexual orientation, gender, and other factors. Brand leaders use CultureRate:Ad and CultureRate:Brand to build cultural fluency, the capability to drive total market growth from inclusive, diverse-led marketing.

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