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For the past several months we have happily witnessed increased diversity and inclusion in advertisements.  This is a welcome change.  The challenge for all of us is to ensure that these positive changes are not simply “tick the box” efforts.  It is easy lifting to add diverse talent to advertisements.  It also makes a lot of sense as it is simply a reflection of the reality on the street.  While this satisfies a preliminary need for diversity, it does not necessarily qualify an ad for being inclusive and “in-culture”. Read more

Blurred people in Dotonbori road  in the Namba District, Osaka - Japan.
Blurred people in Dotonbori road in the Namba District, Osaka - Japan.


Last week someone asked me a very simple question – Why aren’t more companies engaging in multicultural marketing?  The numbers are clear – one in five Canadians is foreign-born, equivalent to the size of the population of Quebec.  1.2 million Permanent Residents will be arriving over the next three years, and 640,000 International Students are coming here for college and university, with a growing percentage staying post-graduation.  The same question was raised recently in the United States by a group of the leading multicultural Agencies, and the CMOs of some of America’s largest brands, from CPG to auto.  Their rallying cry was that corporations needed to do more.  They indicated that American corporations were spending only 5% on ethnic marketing.  Their position was that the investment should be equivalent to the size of the ethnic population.  In Canada, that would translate into 20% of everyone’s budget – growing yearly.  Many corporations aren’t even spending the 5% quoted in the States.

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AIMM is the Alliance for Multicultural Marketing in the United States. It is a division of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). AIMM worked with its membership – which includes the leading brands in the United States – to analyze and place into a database thousands of ads. Their goal was to create a Cultural Insights Impact Measure (CIIM) which would be capable of measuring the impact of culture in ads. Their research was definitive. Those who invest in inclusive, insightful messaging will steadily outperform those who don’t.

The charts highlight the value of investing in cultural advertising:

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Multicultural communities offer great hope for Torontonians in need

‘Toronto’s multicultural communities are a wellspring of generosity,’ write advocates

It’s no coincidence that economists believe the health of Canada’s economy is dependent on robust immigration. The country’s aging population and falling birth rate make this conclusion a certainty. Equally certain is the essential relationship between large numbers of newcomers and the continuance of charitable services Torontonians rely upon.

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Free Webinar | Ethnic Consumers: Opportunities and Buyer Behaviour

There have been many surveys on consumer behaviour and attitudes during COVID-19, but are taking our research a step further to account for the unique voice of ethnic consumers.

Join our upcoming webinar to learn about where opportunities exist by category and delve into the latest survey results about buyer behaviour in this key segment.

CMA members, e-mail membership@thecma.ca to receive an invitation for this webinar.

Changing logos is a start, but experts say racialized brands need to do even more

In light of renewed discussions around anti-Black racism and police brutality, several well-known brands like Aunt Jemima have recently decided to change their name, logo and internal structures in an effort to eliminate stereotypes and discrimination.

While these long-overdue changes may seem superficial, experts believe they will have a lasting impact on consumer culture.

“We’re heading into an era where people have to be discerning. We cannot be what they used to call the ‘passive plebes’ anymore,” said Cheryl Thompson, a creative industries professor at Ryerson University.

At the very least, Thompson says, these changes will encourage consumers to think about what they’re buying and what it represents ⁠— leading people to demand more of companies. Read more