Diversity Sells


By: Giovanni Villamar, Group Account Director

We didn’t say it. Darnell Hunt, head of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African Americans studies, did. That’s the conclusion from the recently released study, “Flipping the Script.”

The evidence from the study clearly acknowledges that America’s increasingly multicultural and diverse audience prefers diverse content with input from diverse talent. And this is most evident when it comes to the bottom line:

  • Films with relatively diverse casts enjoyed the highest median global box office receipts and the highest median return on investment
  • Median 18-49 viewer ratings peaked for broadcast and cable shows that at least match the minority share of the population in terms of overall cast diversity
  • Median 18-49 viewer ratings were highest for broadcast and cable scripted shows in which minorities wrote between 21% and 30% of the episodes

From a marketing perspective, what can we take away? Like Hollywood, creativity is what helps build affinity and has direct correlation with the ‘bottom line.’ As such, diversity doesn’t just begin and end with having a diverse cast as part of the creative output. When work is developed with multicultural input from the start, it’s likely to provide greater resonance and affinity with a broader audience. Just like when Hollywood has a multicultural voice at the writer’s desk, it’s likely to get better ratings with a multicultural audience. And marketers need to be conscious of having a multicultural perspective from the outset, too. The output is likely to be more credible, relevant, and representative.