New Research Reveals Australians are Unhappy with Stereotypes in Advertising

September 18, 2018 • Company News

Most Australians (76%) say advertisers need to do more to better represent national diversity, rather than relying on stereotypes. New research commissioned by Getty Images surveyed more than 1,000 Australian consumers to better understand the attitudes and perceptions around ethnicities, gender, sexuality, body type and age portrayed in advertising.

When asked about characteristics that were poorly represented, respondents call out: body type (50%), ethnicity (34%), religious beliefs (32%), sexual orientation (31%) and age (30%). More than half of women (57%) specifically called out the poor representation of female body types.

“It’s clear from this research that Australians aren’t happy with the way they are being represented in advertising. People want to relate to those they see on their screens and feel better represented by advertisers across the board” says Petra O’Halloran, Creative Research Editor at Getty Images. “In an age where images are all around us and inescapable due to social media, it is critical that images represent the full breadth of ethnic differences, demographics, belief systems and ways of life in Australia.”

Other findings of the report include:

  • 60% of women say advertising makes them feel worse about themselves, compared to 57% of men say it makes them feel better about themselves
  • 46% say that advertising often stereotypes and over-generalises diversity
  • 40% of Australians say that consumers should demand authenticity from brands

Misrepresented Australians

With two-thirds of Australian marketing only depicting white individuals and families, the need to refocus and produce content that caters to all Australians is more important than ever (Ebiquity/SBS 2017). Almost half (46%) of Australians surveyed agree that images they encounter of people in advertising are often stereotyped, generalising the complexity and identity of modern Australians.

“Getty Images has spent more than a decade working on expanding their database of images to break stereotypes and create a more authentic view of gender, sexuality, religion, race, mental illness and disability across advertising and social media. Images change people’s perspectives and expectations of the ‘norm’. The more you see of these images, the more they become normal and the quicker we’ll get to living in a world of equal representation,” added O’Halloran.

The Authentic Australia

 To meet this growing demand, Getty Images has partnered with Canon Australia to proudly launch ‘This Is Australia’– a collection of stock photography created by Australians that showcases the real and diverse nature of our nation and its population.

 The ‘This is Australia’ collection acts as an authentic reflection of Australia and is designed to uncover stories of diversity fostered in our local communities, as told by our communities. The collection itself comprises of over 5,000 photographs, and growing, and is the work of over 200 photographers of all levels from among Canon Australia’s local consumer base. The unique Canon-Getty Images partnership also features contributor education sessions and fast-track approval exclusive for Canon’s local community members.

“We’re proud to give Canon camera owners a platform to show their unique perspective of our country to the world and to help balance the stereotypical perspectives of Australia in advertising and media,” says Jason McLean, Director – Canon Consumer Imaging. “This is an opportunity that comes with every Canon camera for people to learn the shooting style of stock photography, get set up quickly as contributors and earn from their art. It’s great to see success for contributors already, including images being purchased to feature in a new Vegemite campaign.”

Through the partnership, Australian Canon camera owners can develop their skills and learn from their art, while contributing to an important cultural project that will reach a global audience of more than one million Getty Images customers.To assist Canon photographers to get up and running on the platform, Canon is providing its photography community the opportunity to be fast-tracked as a Getty Images contributor. In addition, the Canon Collective photography experience team is facilitating free workshops and events designed in conjunction with Getty Images for contributors to learn how to shoot stock photography.

“We are still at the beginning of our journey and we have a long way to go, but this is an important step. Change is continuous. At Getty Images we believe we have an obligation to listen to what Australians want, how they want to be portrayed, and address this accordingly. Through Canon Australia’s community of photographers, we plan on continuing to evolve this collection to ensure it continues to reach and represent all Australians and meet their needs,” added O’Halloran.

To view the ‘This Is Australia’ collection, please visit:

How to get involved

Contributions to ‘This is Australia’ will be accepted until 31 December 2018. This is how you can share your view of the real Australia with photographers and brands around the world.

  • Pick up a camera and show us your Australia. Respond to a ‘This Australia’ brief and become an official contributor to Getty Images
  • Visit the ‘This is Australia’ landing page for information on how to contribute and various experiences available for the remainder of 2018
  • Win funding for your own ‘This is Australia’ shoot by applying for a range of Canon grants

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