Lack of intersectional representation in luxury travel advertising, research finds

Underrepresented groups feel there is a lack of intersectional representation in advertising within the luxury travel sector, according to research by Mail Metro Media. 

In a survey conducted among minority individuals in the UK, 39% of Black consumers said they felt represented in mass market travel advertising compared to 22% in luxury travel. 

Within the disabled community, 8% expressed feeling represented in mass market travel advertising compared to 4% in the luxury sector. 

Speaking at Aspire’s annual Leaders of Luxury conference on June 6, Mail Metro Media’s director of insights Luke Hand said: “There is a disconnect between [mass market] travel advertising and luxury travel advertising.”

The research revealed that while there is a consensus that brands are “doing a much better job than they used to”, underrepresented consumers often feel that some brands are only interested in “box ticking”.

Brands may show some representation but they “aren’t showing the true diversity and intersectionality that exists within those communities”, Hand said. 

He added: “The Black community would like to see luxury brands show their diversity with a wide range of skin tones and hair types.The disabled community want to see more people with disabilities who are just living normal lifestyles.

“It’s our job as marketers to find out what those nuances are [within underrepresented communities] and represent them authentically.”

Hand also warned against brands offering “tokenistic gestures” and only being representative at certain times of the year, such as showcasing rainbow logos during Pride month.

“It annoys these communities more when brands deliver tokenistic gestures rather than actually not doing anything at all,” he said.

“They really do get behind brands that show a long-standing relationship and understanding.”

He added: “If you want to deliver truly authentic advertising campaigns, you have to break tradition in order to understand [underrepresented communities]. Ask real people and address the creative process.”

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