Stereotypical images of Asians persist in APAC advertising: report


A new report from Getty Images has revealed a stark lack of proportional and authentic representation of Asian communities in advertising across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

About the report: Getty Images' report, titled "Inclusive Visual Storytelling for Asian Communities," was based on insights from their VisualGPS research in the region.

The report found that the most popular visuals in Australasia, Japan, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan continue to rely heavily on inauthentic imagery, failing to capture the diversity of Asian cultures and demographics. It provides a comprehensive framework for inclusive visual storytelling in APAC advertising.

About the findings: Getty Images' research suggests that the visual representation of Asian communities in advertising perpetuates common stereotypes, showcasing Asians as youthful, slender and predominantly in work-related contexts. Asians are also predominantly portrayed in white-collar jobs and Pacific men are predominantly in working-class roles.

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Less than 10% of the most popular visuals accurately represent Asian people and their lived experiences, leading to a disconnect between the portrayed imagery and the diverse realities of Asian cultures.

Setting the guidelines: The report includes guidelines addressing representation gaps, such as disparities in cultural specificity, underrepresentation of older adults, lack of diversity in gender representation and limited portrayals of Asian working life. By presenting a spectrum of perspectives, including age, body, culture, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, profession, race and ethnicity, the guidelines equip media and advertising professionals with practical insights.

According to these guidelines, four out of five consumers across APAC members agree that simply increasing the representation of individuals from diverse ethnicities, backgrounds and appearances within advertising and media is insufficient, stating that companies also need to do a better job at capturing people’s true lifestyles and cultures.

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Meanwhile, three out of five also said to feel they have been discriminated against based on body size, lifestyle choices, race, ethnicity, gender identity, disability and sexuality.

More work to be done: The report acknowledges the strides New Zealand has made in diversity but emphasizes the need for improvement, particularly in Asian and LGBTQ+ representation. The industry is urged to prioritize diversity, recognizing its impact on resonating with diverse audiences and fostering a more inclusive visual landscape.

According to the report, it is imperative for the media and advertising industry to recognize the intricate diversity within Asian cultures and align with consumer expectations for authentic and meaningful portrayals.

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