Brands, publishers, and production houses have been casting more diverse individuals in their content for the past few years, acknowledging the fact that diversity is highly important to expand audience viewership.
A recent study done by the Creative Artists Agency, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, states that the average opening weekend for a film that attracts a diverse audience, often the result of having a diverse cast, is nearly three times on average a film with non-diverse audiences. Christy Haubegger, leader of CAA’s multicultural development group, emphasized the idea that “people want to see a world that looks like theirs.”
On a larger scale, film producers are gearing toward more diversity in their cast in order to generate more viewership and box office sales. In terms of branded content, the same strategy should be applied if you’re looking to expand your audience and gain more viewership for your videos.
If you are a brand that wants to generate sales, viewership, and word-of-mouth, staying focused on one type of demographic, psychographic, and ethnic group would most likely keep you noticeable within that specific group, but you would be missing out on other categories of audiences who might relate to your brand and be exposed to your content.
L’Oréal Paris’ True Match Foundation video is a perfect example of how the brand decided to include more diverse individuals in their campaigns, which pushed their sales and led people to praise the brand.
The video showcases 23 shades of foundation with 23 people of different skin tones from different ethnic backgrounds. What’s interesting is that they also cast a man of color within a group of females. That alone opens the door for a lot of men who are into fashion and beauty lifestyle products to relate to the brand on a personal level, given that L’Oréal has been targeting mostly women in their content.
According to Marketing Week, UK brand manager Adrien Koskas says in an interview that the “power of the campaign” has been “phenomenal” and helped the True Match product to become the best-selling foundation in the UK for the past five months in a row.
Consider who else your regular audience would be interested in your brand and try to include casts that relate to them so you can open a door for potential audiences to acknowledge your brand in your next branded content.
One sports brand that was highly successful with its diversity inclusion in its branded content was Equinox, which cast LGBTQ individuals from different races and backgrounds in its LGBTQ Alphabet campaign.
The video received major praise back during Pride 2016, from a large spectrum of audience, reaching more than 2 million views on Facebook.
In the video, Equinox portrayed 26 characters from different sexual orientations, age groups, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Imagine 26 different voices speaking on behalf of a wider audience. Having different and multiple characters in one video would most likely speak and address audiences represented by these characters.
What’s interesting is that Equinox did not cast one type of queer actor within the LGBTQ community, but everyone within that category without leaving anyone behind, which is why — as a brand — if you’re planning to create a video targeted for a specific community, make sure to feature a large and diverse cast for that community instead of portraying stereotypes of commonly-known characters.
Another successful video in terms of diverse casting was Nike’s Equality campaign that showcased athletes of color such as LeBron James and Serena Williams as well as athletes from Christian and Islamic backgrounds and a queer female soccer player.
All these characters in one video with a unified message about equality in sports would most likely bring together different target audiences to resonate with the message of the ad.
Nike did a great job in communicating to communities and individuals from different backgrounds, yet what brings them all together is their passion for sportsmanship. So it’s the passion and the hobby itself that is being practiced by different groups that helped the brand in creating content that would resonate with all of them.
The video has trended on Twitter, and the idea of equality and equal opportunities has spread around conversations and discussions within many groups.
As a brand, you should think about what you have to offer that is common between people from different backgrounds and utilize your service as a common language in your branded video. For example, if you are a brand that sells sports equipment, try to show that the lifestyle you communicate and the products you serve bring different people together because all these individuals, although they are different, have the same interest. Casting a diverse audience and using this type of communication can grow your audience viewership and gain attention from different groups.
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By Jad-Evangelo Nasser, Storyhunter Writer