NEWS14 May 2018

Advertising not representative of lower-income households, finds study

Media News Trends UK

UK – Advertising and media are too focused on wealthy and middle-class households, with poorer sections of society negatively stereotyped, according to research from UM.

Poverty purse spending money_crop

Of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed by UM, six out of 10 ( 62%) expressed concern that TV adverts often only portray wealthy homes, while two-thirds ( 63%) believe those with a lower income are negatively stereotyped in advertising.

Additionally, 41% of survey respondents from C1, C2, D and E social grades felt that media representations of those from their social background are often caricatured.

A third of respondents ( 32%) felt that public perceptions of those with low wealth have worsened over the past three years, and of those, 57% blame media coverage for the negative perceptions. When asked for their view on why poorer sections of society are not represented in advertising, 43% of respondents said it’s because it ‘makes people uncomfortable’.

The study, part of UM’s ongoing research on stereotyping in advertising, highlights the need for brands and the industry to address socio-economic diversity as well as focusing on gender, ethnicity and sexuality-based stereotyping.

Michael Brown, head of insight at UM, said: "We keep being told that successful advertising is all about authenticity, yet poorer Britons feel caricatured – if and when they appear in advertising at all. 

"Many brands are rightly taking a stance against gender- and sexuality-based stereotyping, backed by the recent moves by the Advertising Standards Authority, but there are still more harmful stereotypes apparent both in the media and in ads."



6 years ago

Hi Katie - please can you let me know what does UM stand for? I'd like to be able to find this report you're referring to in your article.Thanks!!

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6 years ago

Hi Luis, it's media agency UM:

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