We have officially entered the populist age, Not only here in America but in Europe, parts of Africa and South America amongst other places there's an overwhelming sentiment against "others". Groups perceived as outsiders infringing on the rights and space of the rightful dwellers in each country. Typically, in advertising terms these "others" wouldn't be considered part of the general market but would be included under the umbrella of multicultural. Brands usually bring in Multicultural Advertising agencies to cultivate campaigns targeting these groups.
In this new populist age, one may be inclined to think that multicultural advertising and multicultural advertising agencies would see a significant reduction in activity and interest. But to the contrary what I predict we'll see is Multicultural Advertising Agencies thrive along with the rise of populist sentiment and policy.
The sentiment of populism that's on the rise is disconnected from the growth in the population. As a matter of fact, some may argue populist or nationalist views are directly correlated to the shrinking of one group and the rise of another. Despite recent changes in political and social landscapes there's nothing to suggest the predicted and much talked about rise in multicultural populations is slowing down. This means brands are still going to have an increase the mandates to reach these audiences and the services of agencies that specialize in doing so will continue to be in demand. As a matter of fact, we've seen the rise of general market agencies positioning themselves or posing as being able to handle multicultural campaigns in response to this trend that will become a norm.
Companies are about the bottom line! On the surface it may seem crass but often in ad campaigns agencies will use current social and political sentiments to push product. As stated before populism may be on the rise globally, but the mantle is carried, and message endorsed by the statistical minority. More inclusive messaging an embrace of multicultural communities and cultures is in the majority and we see this reflected in ad campaigns.
Take this year's Super bowl, ad messaging from companies like Budweiser and Audi and others were all about multiculturalism, inclusion, gender equality. Not because these companies feel an overwhelming responsibility to these social causes, but because the majority of the target market are sympathetic to or part of these causes and they'd like to build affinity with them. As the multicultural audience grows the need for agencies to translate the brands message and align it with causes and attitudes that this emerging audience can relate to is going to become the norm.
Demographics that embrace a populist sentiment for the most part are monolithic in more ways than one (pun intended!). As this view becomes mainstream it'll lead to emerging arts, culture, fashion etc to be driven to the margins perceived or real.
We'll see these expression forms become more edgy/underground and reflective of the social climate, and although an assumption it's probably a safe one to think a lot of the reflection will be that of a multicultural audience instead of a monolith.
To push product or services especially amongst coveted 18-34 demo companies have always sought to ride the new wave of popular art music culture and moving forward will be no different except for most of this wave will not be in the new mainstream populist but with the marginalized multicultural.
The growth of Multicultural Advertising agencies will coincide with the rise in populism. Audience growth, companies looking to grow revenue, and also wanting to be part of emerging but underground arts and culture will all contribute to this rise. Agencies that are in this space should prepare for and welcome this new reality.
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