The 7 Best Inclusive Marketing Campaign Examples

The 7 Best Inclusive Marketing Campaign Examples

Inclusive marketing celebrates and promotes the rich diversity of the world we live in. It’s a technique used by professionals to reflect differences in society by representing people of all backgrounds and walks of life through marketing and advertising.

If you want your campaigns to appeal to a wider audience, it’s important to understand the basics of inclusive marketing and how it helps consumers connect with brands. It allows these brands to identify with people on a deeper level by reflecting their age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, appearance, sexual orientation, marital status, physical and mental ability, and more.

You’ll find many brilliant inclusive marketing examples across various digital and social media channels, in print publications, advertising campaigns, and elsewhere. The concept itself is nothing new and, from Nike to Coca-Cola, and from Gillette to TikTok, it has been adopted by global companies across multiple industries who value the importance of a diverse and inclusive society and how this should be reflected in their brands.

So, let’s dig a little deeper before highlighting some of the best inclusive marketing examples out there.

What are the Benefits of Inclusive Marketing?

Everywhere you look, industries and brands are embracing inclusive marketing. Open a fashion magazine and you’ll see all kinds of body types. Chances are your favourite film or TV show features actors with disabilities or from the LGBTQ+ community.

Inclusive marketing provides a platform for minority groups and those who are underrepresented. It’s a clever strategy used to acknowledge and tap into the vast buying potential of people from a diverse range of distinct backgrounds. Why? Because we can relate to them.

Recent research by Microsoft highlighted the commercial perils of ignoring inclusive marketing. Of those who took part, 49% said they’d stopped buying from a specific brand that was unrepresentative of their values and beliefs. That’s why inclusive marketing has become the foundation of many successful business strategies. It’s been adopted and put into practice by multiple brands and particularly for clothing, food, motoring, technology, education, finance, and other widely used services.

Inclusive marketing generates new customers and bridges gaps so the voices of the underrepresented are heard. It creates loyalty and trust and influences positive change in society by recognising the needs of everyone across a diverse range of customer groups.

Below are 7 iconic inclusive marketing examples that could help your brand form its own inclusive marketing strategy.

7 Iconic Inclusive Marketing Examples to Inspire You

As we’ve pointed out, a lack of inclusivity in your campaigns is a dangerous line to tread. It can lead to a decline in a brand’s popularity and negatively impact sales. Adopting inclusive marketing techniques shows social awareness, sensitivity, and acceptance of diversity. It improves visibility and equality and demonstrates you’re in tune with the times.

Some brands have been forced to adjust their campaigns to make them more inclusive. Calvin Klein moved away from white, pencil-thin models to a black, plus-sized LGBTQ+ model because it needed to appeal to a wider, more diverse audience. Similarly, Victoria’s Secret turned to a transgender model and those with fuller figures as part of their drive for greater inclusivity. TikTok also launched a new initiative to support Black creators and musicians and ensure greater diversity and representation was available on the platform.  

Here’s what successful inclusive marketing examples look like:

1. Coca-Cola – Hilltop ad

Perhaps the most iconic commercial and inclusive marketing campaign of all time. In 1971, Coca-Cola brought a group of diverse people from various cultures and countries together to sing on a hilltop in Italy. The impact was enormous, and the company received over 100,000 letters of glowing praise – surely the equivalent of several million tweets in today’s digital age. The song ‘I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke’ was even turned into a pop version and the commercial has been remade numerous times during the half-century that has passed since it first hit the screens.

2. Burger King – Impossible Whopper

Dietary preferences are also part of inclusive marketing in the same way race, religion, gender, and other diversity themes are. Burger King nailed it with the Impossible Whopper campaign which drew in vegetarians, vegans, and non-beef eaters. The clever bit came when meat eaters failed to recognise Burker King’s plant-based burger in a taste test. One man proclaimed: ‘You Can’t Imitate Beef’ while tucking into an Impossible Whopper. Well, clearly you can. With plant-based diets on the rise, this campaign firmly established Burger King as a fast-food chain not just for meat lovers.

3. Etsy – Gift Like You Mean It: New Guy

Etsy’s brilliant ‘Gift Like You Mean It’ campaign promoted inclusivity in clever and relatable ways. In this video, Etsy sets the scene of a couple spending their first Christmas together with other family members. The difference? It’s told through the eyes of a same-sex couple who appear apprehensive about how they’ll be received. They needn’t have worried as they are warmly welcomed into the home and handed a joint present of a cross stitch featuring both of their names – the kind of gift that may not be available in high street stores, which is Etsy’s main target audience. In another smart ad, Etsy shows how it offers a gift solution for people – in this case a girl named Shiori – who feel excluded because of their uncommon name.

4. Nike – The Toughest Athletes

Mums-to-be and women were the focus of this inclusive Nike ad. It balked at gender stereotypes by reminding us that pregnancy and childbirth should not prevent women from being strong and successful athletes. Using a voiceover from Serena Williams, it sends out a powerful message by showing women and mothers from a diverse range of races, ethnic backgrounds, and ages training in Nike sportswear. As impactful as the ad was, some critics argued it rang hollow as only two years earlier Nike had faced a strong backlash after many of its world-class, sponsored athletes revealed their payments had stopped or been greatly reduced while they were unable to compete during their pregnancy. Such was the public outcry that followed that Nike changed its contracts so that athletes would no longer be penalised for being pregnant.

5. Urban Decay – Pretty Different ad

People with disabilities are often underrepresented in advertising and marketing. Cosmetic company Urban Decay reversed the trend with this inclusive social media video. Grace Kay, the star of the video, was born with Down Syndrome but rose above her disability to become an actor, entrepreneur, artist, and founder of the clothing brand, Candidly Kind. Grace is portrayed as the new face of beauty and cosmetics, and this was quickly picked up by mainstream media, drawing positive attention to the Down Syndrome community.

6. Absolut Vodka – Chosen Families

Absolut was the first brand to advertise in LGBTQ+ magazines in the 1980s, its vodka became the first spirits bottle to feature the rainbow flag, and its commitment to diversity through inclusive marketing continues to grow. Since the early 2000s, Absolut has created numerous campaigns supporting the LGBTQ+ community while promoting gender equality and equal rights. In the brand’s own words, their latest, powerful Rainbow campaign, Chosen Families, champions its strong belief that “People should be free to love who they choose, and everyone should be free to express themselves.”

7. Gillette – Your First Shave ad

Gillette cast off its stereotypical masculine image by making a transgender man the focus of its groundbreaking ‘Your First Shave’ ad. It features Toronto-based artist, Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, learning to shave with some coaching from his father, alongside the tagline: “Whenever, wherever, how it happens – your first shave is special.”  Brown spoke of the importance of including his father because of the support he showed throughout his transition as a transgender man. The ad received a popular reaction, including from other trans men. Also, while engaging with the #MeToo movement, which supports victims of sexual assault and harassment, Gillette dropped its well-known tagline: “The best a man can get,” and replaced it with “The best men can be,” to acknowledge the damage toxic masculinity can cause to men, women, and diversity in general.

Tips for Implementing Inclusive Marketing

We’ve given you plenty of inclusive marketing examples, so here are some handy tips to help you implement your inclusive marketing strategy. By following these steps, you, too, can appeal to a wider and diverse audience.

Understand Your Target Audience

Before you can implement your inclusive marketing strategy, you’ll need to identify your target audience. Ask yourself: ‘Who Am I Hoping to Reach?’ Consider the demographics then decide on the tactics and techniques you’ll use to market your products or services to the people or groups you’ve identified. Not only will this help you create a more efficient and effective inclusive campaign, but it could also improve its chances of success and lead to more sales.

Do Your Research

Testing out your ideas on other people can determine whether your campaign appears inclusive and ticks the right diversity boxes. Consider focus groups that provide constructive feedback or compare your plans with similar campaigns that have previously been a success. Public opinion is vital when conducting research as the people and groups you’re asking are likely to be similar to those you are marketing to. If your plan doesn’t work, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Devise a Plan

You’re satisfied your inclusive marketing campaign represents all elements of diversity you want it to – it’s now time to take it to the next step and develop a plan for the launch. Create a timeline and set deadlines for stages of the launch such as video shoots, web updates, and product designs to ensure all elements are delivered on time. Everyone involved in the campaign should have access to the plan and be kept updated on developments to ensure successful delivery.

Need Help with Your Inclusive Marketing Strategy?

If your business is looking to implement more inclusive marketing, the digital team at MRS Digital can take your campaigns to a whole new level. We help brands get their message across to their target audience through successful content marketing that supports your wider goals. Don’t hesitate, contact us today.

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