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Why we need wider awareness of implicit discrimination in marketing

by LLB Reporter
25th Aug 23 6:38 am

When looking at marketing messages, we should be considering different contexts in order to be aware of implicit discrimination, says new research from the University of Bradford, School of Management.

Marketers should take into account microsocial contexts, such as racial background, sexuality or migration status, as well as macrosocial contexts (geo-political settings, current political discourse, etc) when considering marketing messages. This, the researchers say, could help marketing practitioners better identify, understand and counteract racism and discrimination.

According to Professor Eva Kipnis “Nike’s 2017 advertisement, for example, ‘What will they say about you?’ failed to challenge female sports stereotypes in Saudi Arabia given the restrictions on women’s physical education at the time.

“In a different marketing campaign, a lesbian couple featuring in international supermarket chain VkusVill’s 2021 campaign had to leave the country due to Russia’s ‘antigay propaganda’ legislation.

“Practitioners can utilise this research to equitably address all consumers in multicultural marketplaces without exclusion, restriction or mistreatment.”

The framework can be applied to understand the different forms of racism and discrimination that consumers might experience by identifying how multiple context expressions operate.

The research was based on the examination of carefully selected studies from peer-reviewed marketing and consumer research journals. These were categorised by micro- and macrosocial context expressions that might contribute to marketplace discrimination.

This paper was published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.

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