Fewer People of Color Seen in Commercials in 2022: Study

Race in Commercials Extreme Reach
(Image credit: Extreme Reach)

Diversity in television commercials took a hit in 2022, with the share of people of color shown in ads dropping to 27.6% from 34.5%, according to a new study.

White people represented 72.5% of the actors in ads, up from 54.6%, the study found.

Black actors got 14.3% of the roles in ads, down from 16.5%. Hispanics fell to 5% from 9.6% and Asians in ads dropped to 8.3% from 8.4%.

“Diversity is such an important topic, yet there has been little quantifiable information available at scale related to the people featured in advertising creative,” said Melinda McLaughlin, CMO of Extreme Reach, which compiled the study. “We set out to give brands and agencies the information needed to make the decisions that matter to their business. This report provides a high level view of diversity in ads that establishes the baseline for the industry, from which brands can devise their own unique roadmap.” 

The majority of voices heard in commercials are male, with men making up 73% those speaking in ads, up from 65%, the study found. ■

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.