Posts tagged ‘multicultural advertising’

July 16, 2011

Mediareach Advertising Experiential Activities

Sample videos showreels of our work for NHS (Hep C) campaign, Madam Tussauds & the RAF.

Enjoy watching.

May 11, 2011

Clearcast publishes figures on BAME representation in commercials

Clearcast data released reveals the portrayal of people from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic Groups within television commercials.

As of December 2009, agencies have had the option of stating whether the actors within their advertisements are from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic groups, through the addition of two tick boxes on the Clearcast submission form; ‘Ethnic (BAME) featured artist?’ and ‘Ethnic (BAME) walk-on artist?’

The additional boxes were introduced following discussions between the IPA and Clearcast about tracking the portrayal of people from ethnic diversities in advertising.

Key findings from the submitted data include:

• Of the 34,499 commercials cleared by Clearcast, 1,845 (5.3%) contain BAME actors, according to the data supplied by agencies when they upload the commercials*.

• 1,667 of those 1,845 commercials (4.8%) have featured BAME actors.

• 715 of those 1,845 commercials (2.1%) have walk-on BAME actors.

• Significant product categories indexing greater than 100 for BAME actors are: household equipment, online retail, property, entertainment and pharmaceutical.

• Government indexes strongly overall, however, it actually under-represents featured BAME actors but indexes highly on BAME walk-on actors, giving it a high overall index.

• The worst indexing categories of scale, indexing <60, are food, motoring, mail order, retail, travel and transport, telecoms, household stores, clothing and household appliances.

• According to the data no BAME actors at all appeared in gardening or household appliance ads, although these are small categories.

*This data is reliant on agencies completing the checkboxes when they submit the ads, however, Clearcast cannot rely on the fields being completed in every case. Says Chris Mundy, Managing Director, Clearcast: “”

Says Saad Saraf, Chairman of the IPA’s Ethnic Diversity Group and CEO,
Mediareach: “All of my experience marketing to diverse audiences over 23 years has shown that people react better to advertising when they see themselves reflected in it. So what these figures reveal, rather disappointingly, is that commercials are drastically under-representing the real make-up of the UK, of which BAMEs comprising 13% of the population (ONS Mar 2010). Advertisers are therefore missing out on an important and rapidly growing revenue stream and I'd advise them to take a better look at who their customers are and am sure that representation figures will improve markedly over the coming years”.

Saad Saraf
Mediareach Advertising

January 22, 2011

Saad Saraf appointed as IPA Ethnic Diversity Group Chairman

The IPA has today (20th January) appointed Saad Saraf, Founder and CEO of Media Reach, as Chairman of the IPA’s Ethnic Diversity Group. He succeeds Trevor Robinson, OBE.

Saad has spent his career investigating the multicultural landscape of the UK and his agency Media Reach has been a driving force in the growth and development of multicultural marketing in the UK. He has also addressed many conferences and has written several papers on the subject of diversity. One of these papers includes a chapter written for the IPA’s interim report The marketing opportunities for advertisers and agencies in multi-cultural Britain (LINK), published in March 2010.

Says Saad Saraf, Founder and CEO of Media Reach: “The UK is now truly a multicultural country, and will continue to flourish in the face of diversity. The industry needs to quicken its pace to catch up with the changing face of the new society, or risk getting left behind. Not only do we need to accept it, we need to understand and embrace it.”

In 2003 the IPA Ethnic Diversity Group published its first major collaborative work on ethnic diversity which looked at the employment, portrayal and economic value of the ethnic minorities (LINK). A sequel to this report will be published on its tenth anniversary in 2013.

April 7, 2010

‘Why multiculturalism becoming the new mainstream?

More people now live in urban cities and the composition of these towns and cities are becoming increasingly multicultural, resulting in more sophisticated, well-networked and demanding consumers who value service, experiences and attention. If brands can’t communicate effectively to this changing demographic, they will find themselves losing market share in the UK.

Approximately 15% of the UK’s population is made up of individuals from multicultural backgrounds, including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, African, Caribbean, French, Spanish, Polish, Lithuanian, Roma, Arab and South African to name just a few. This seemingly small figure however becomes a lot more significant when conservative estimates from calculate their spending power at more than £300 billion. If the trend is set to continue, being a multicultural marketing agency may be the new ‘mainstream’ agency.

Anecdotal evidence from the clients and communities we work with indicate that most established ethnic communities in the UK have had a lighter recession than most. While the rest of the UK has gotten itself into debt, these communities, including Indians, have relied on their shrewd saving habits and family support networks to see them through the bad times. However, during both the good and the bad times, they’ve always had a little money to spend.  So why are more brands not speaking to them?

That’s not to say that multicultural markets and the wider mainstream consumer markets don’t have anything in common; whether it’s property, food, drink, fashion, banking or lifestyle, they all aspire to something better and represent a share of the market place for brands. However, even after a torrential recession, the penny still hasn’t dropped for many marketers that they need a harder working and wider reaching, inclusive marketing mix.

Traditional mainstream media, although it works for a good portion of the market, doesn’t always translate well into other cultures and brands can lose any connection and relevance with a significant portion of the spending public. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore Britain’s multicultural markets if they want to strategically grow and increase their market share. In fact, cultural media, community messaging and niche marketing is fast becoming the conduit of the advertisers’ in-the-know, who’ve already spotted the value for money and ROI that others are yet to cotton on to.

Spending 100% of your budget on 60% of the population

In cities such as London where up to 40% of the population is made up from what is traditionally considered an ethnic background, diversity is what defines us.  The question then begs to be asked is: in post recession times where budgets are carefully set out and strategically allocated to render the highest possible returns, does it still make sense that brands are spending 100% of their marketing budget on reaching only an average of 60% of the population?

The greatest challenge for specialist marketing agencies like Mediareach Advertising is to show marketers what we already know. The same mainstream message does not fit all audiences and often, to reap maximum returns on advertising and PR investment, you have to speak to individual markets with messages they can relate to.  Meeting niche and multicultural markets halfway can go a long way in securing new market share for your product or service.

Commercially speaking, targeting specific communities with specific products could greatly increase your profit margins without increasing your marketing budget. An example of this is the fact that most Afro-Caribbean and African women residing in Britain spend an average of six times the amount of money on hair and beauty products than their mainstream peers and yet very few beauty and hair product campaigns effectively reach out to this audience.  If the product suited the market and marketing budget was redistributed across this market segment this could mean higher return on investments for your company.

Playing it safe doesn’t serve your bottom line

We say this tongue-in-cheek but it seems that many brand managers and marketers in Britain have too long been sitting in their ivory towers to realise the changing demographics of modern Britain.  Every few years there is a courageous brand manager or marketer who steps out and sets the bar just a little higher than the rest, often with great success.  For the most part however, brand managers across the country aren’t willing to look beyond the same formula that they have been using for the past couple of years.

Unfortunately, and especially in post recession Britain, the same old formula will no longer cut it with consumers.  Fast developing social networking sites, peer to peer information and an ever growing diverse demographic will no longer make allowances for the same old mass produced ‘one size fits all’ marketing campaign. Even financial institutions are investigating alternative credit systems like Sharia finance for a better financial model to avoid another financial disaster. Brands may come to realize that prosperity in post recession Britain will depend on their ability to move with the culture and display open honest two-way communication with their customers.

Thinking outside the box and looking at options you’ve not considered before instead of playing it safe doesn’t have to be an uncalculated risk with dire prospects of failure.  Specialist agencies such as ours can make this a calculated, results driven strategic step to help brands grow and brand managers shine.

The new year may offer many new opportunities but none as exciting as the opportunity to get in on the action of an under-valued market and strengthen the future for exciting brands.

Saad Al’Saraf


Mediareach Advertising

multicultural marketing agency

March 25, 2010

IPA highlights multi-cultural marketing opportunities

A new report has been released by the IPA to provide the advertising industry with an update on the rapidly expanding multi-cultural landscape of the UK; both as a potential employer and a market place.
‘Marketing opportunities for advertisers and agencies in multi-cultural Britain’ highlights that multi-cultural communities will become increasingly visible and more influential as they rise up the business and corporate ladder and become budget holders.
The report adds that targeting diverse groups should be on the agenda of every UK brand and marketer, or they will risk losing out on a potentially lucrative new market.
It also points out that responding to the needs of a diverse, culturally-rich group will require understanding of the cultural, religious, identity and ethnicity issues embedded within these groups.
Finally, as migration into the UK rises, it is predicted that ethnic media outlets will continue to thrive because of the lack of relevant content offered by mainstream media.
“The UK is now truly a multicultural country, and will continue to flourish in the face of diversity. If we don’t recognise that people are different we are not going to get anywhere,” said Founder and CEO of Media Reach, Saad Saraf.
“Business is about engaging people and more so in the current financial downturn. We’ve got too many products and too few customers. When people have a choice and prices are falling, that’s when marketing mavericks look at segmentation and precision marketing.”
He added, “The industry needs to quicken its pace to catch up with the changing face of the new society, or risk getting left behind. Not only do we need to accept it, we need to understand and embrace it.”
The report by the IPA’s Ethnic Diversity Group also provides an overview of population data as well as an outline of Black, Asian and Eastern European media and explanations of the complexities of marketing to different cultures.
It includes a foreword from Trevor Robinson, and extensive chapter from Saad Saraf, Founder and CEO of Media Reach and Sanjay Shabi of CultureCom.

March 1, 2010

Are brands losing share in the multicultural market place

Walk into any of he 95,000 supermarkets, convenience stores and cash and carry’s, which are controlled largely by the multicultural communities, and one thing you are sure to find out.

These stores, which shifts up to 33% share for a number of major brands, but is this honeymoon going to continue or are we going to see an increasing number of foreign brands imported to the UK to cater for the needs and demands of a growing diverse multicultural consumers.

So what can major brands do in the face of this on-slaught:

1) ignore this phenomenon and assume they are large enough to withstand brands chipping into their sales and competing to win more shelf space from them resulting in their brands continuing to slide further down

2) develop a strategy based on understanding their audiences, motivations and purchasing patterns in order to address their needs, fend the competition and increase their market dominance and share.

Established brands can’t ignore the challenges to their dominance and must continue to learn and innovate to stay on top of their game otherwise they will continue to see their sales and market share dwindling.

Saad Saraf
Multicultural Marketing Specialist
Mediareach Advertising

September 26, 2009

Target The Growing Multicultural Market in the UK

If there was a challenge to marketing directors, agencies, government departments and the creative industry today is how to engage this ever increasing diverse multi cultural society of ours.

With the minority ethnic population figures growing to 12% nationally, the picture in certain metropoles such as London, Leicester the ethnic communities are more than a third of the population as a whole.

So why do we need to look at this niche market;

* Disposable income in excess of £90 Billion
* 40% of London population are from ethnic communities
* 320 languages are spoken in London
* 1/3 of businesses in London are owned and run by ethnic
* The food sector is dominated by ethnic food and restaurants
* Strong dependence on own media (TV, Radio, Press, Digital & Cinema)
* Multicultural marketing is good for companies in the UK and abroad
* More than 2 million Eastern European have come to the UK over the past year
* The UK is destined to receive 1.2 million people from Bulgaria & Romania over the next 18 months
* The demography in London is changing beyond recognition and brands must change their tactics and marketing approach

The disposable income of the minority ethnic communities is put at £90 Billion Pounds and members of the community aspire to a better status and to the ownership of luxury brands (Cars, Electronic Consumables, Watches, large Property)

Minority ethnic people are loyal to their roots and cultural heritage. They love their food, music, films and television.
(Asian cinema halls are seeing a revival with gate receipts overtaking that of mainstream cinema complexes).

The basic rule therefore is to understand this diverse multicultural audience and to address their needs and market to them but above all we need to listen to what they want to see , view and hear rather than imposing our thoughts on them which has resulted in driving them away from mainstream art and culture.

People of ethnic background are aspirational and value education and status highly, they seek careers such as Doctor, Pharmacist, IT professionals, Banking and Management.
More than 50% of the population are under 25 years old (a youthful audiences)

Most of the people from the ethnic origins are religiously sensitive and culturally conscious. Therefore, they react/ respond differently to generic communication messages. But they do have needs and requirements: to get them interested we need to understand and appreciate their culture and traditions in our work/drives.

Conventional and traditional communication channels are not enough to capture “ Hard to Reach Communities”. Other marketing communication means such as outreach need to be utilized.

I am intrigued to see ethnic events such as Mela’s, Carinvals, fashion events, Music are able to attract tens of thousands of people ready to spend and to be entertained, in fact some of these events attracts hundreds of thousands of minority ethnic audiences while mainstream art establishments fails to draw a handful of people.

So what are you doing wrong?

Above all what seems to be lacking is an understanding of the audiences, most marketers I have spoken to, can not tell were a typical minority ethnic person in streets come from , what languages do they speak and what religious background they belong to. Some confessed that every Black person they describe as Caribbean and every brown as an Asian.

I am also bemused as to the insensitivity of some of commissioners and marketers to our needs and requirements. I find myself strangely enough drawn to the Arabic media and television more than the usual bland 5 channels I am offered and being forced to pay even when I spend very little time watching them.

I tend to find the editorial content does not cater for and represent me and at times offends my culture and traditions.(sometimes I must admit I never thought I will do shield my children from such content).

In today’s fragmented and increasingly turbulent markets, ethnic marketing offers a new strategic focus for product/market development and, in many respects, companies which ignore this do so at their own competitive peril.

Companies wishing to do business with ethnic minority groups need to review the basic premises of their marketing plans to take account of the growing market pluralism and the multi-ethnic reality of modern Britain.

This presents a tricky challenge to marketers, as marketing to them is not as simple as it would seem. The ethnic population in Britain is very diverse, not only in the different nationalities and races they represent, but also in terms of culture, attitude, lifestyle, behaviour.

Therefore, they respond to marketing / communication messages very differently from the mainstream. What works for the mainstream market doesn’t necessarily work for the ethnic consumer, as the triggers and hooks would be quite different. Not to mention the language barriers and difficulties that exist, especially within the early settlers and new immigrants.

The complexities are even more intriguing when you have to consider the differences that exist between each ethnic community, as they come from varying backgrounds. Cultural and religious sensitivities come into play, along with traditional values and beliefs, nationalistic feelings, political influences, and more. This makes the marketers role even tougher.

For instance, within South Asian communities, the disparity between Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis is huge, despite the fact that they come from the same sub-continent.

There are differences in language, religion, food habits, festivals, attire etc. On the other hand, similarities exist in the way they live, where the family is the most important social unit, the concept of large joint family where grandparents, parents, brothers, children all live together as opposed to the westernized nuclear family system.

Within South Asian, Afro-Caribbean and Chinese communities, community networks are very strong, and community leaders as well as religious leaders play an important and influential role in opinion forming and changing behaviour.

Due to the language barriers, especially amongst women, older generations and certain new immigrants, these community tend to rely on their own media / ethnic media channels and community networks for information and entertainment, which is evident from the plethora of ethnic TV stations, radio stations and print publications that have burgeoned over the last 10 years in Britain.

Mainstream clients most of the time seem to be obsessed with ticking boxes and paying lip service when it comes to targeting our communities properly. This lack of attention is being picked up be members of the minority ethnic communities who are reciprocating in kind by not reacting to the clients inadequate communications.

Mainstream media under delivers, due to high dependence on ethnic media among the first and second generations. The irrelevance of programs offered by terrestrial television have further pushed the ethnic audiences away.

These reasons has driven audiences to migrate from mainstream media to the ethnic ones which are witnessing a boom.

Saad Saraf
Media Reach Advertising

September 26, 2009

Diversity Works for London?

Diversity is the differences we all have and what makes us all unique in one way or another.

We differ in terms of ethnicity, gender, culture, national or regional origins, socio economic status, religion and political views, marital status, disability and sexual orientation.

Respecting individual differences leads to an increased prod-activity and creates and increases the marketing opportunity; broaden our horizons as well as increasing adaptability and flexibility for the overall society.

On the other hand if diversity is not handled correctly it can cause tensions between people within organisations and hence have negative impact on the business and almost likely to result in poor performance.

In today’s Internet age organisations cannot create a false image of themselves and on how caring they are to staff. Disgruntled and badly treated staff will inform the whole world about the organisation real treatment to staff on internet sites which will have articles and even films describing what goes on in an organisation.

We must acknowledge, understand these differences, accept them and celebrate all these differences amongst people and staff.
We should understand the various cultures that exist in the UK today and perhaps see them as an opportunity to target an important niche in a caring yet innovative way.

We must understand that cultures do not remain static; they evolve over time and are influenced by exposure to others from around the globe. Whenever different communities come together things happen and the wheel of change starts moving.

How did Diversity change Britain?

The disposable income of the multicultural communities in the UK are in excess of £90 billion pounds and to tap into these diverse groups companies and organisations must make an effort to understand the diverse cultures and lifestyles.

Major developments have happened in the UK in the past 15 years which had influenced our eating habits, furnishing, fashion to name but a few.

Most of the UK’s music icons and sport stars tend to come from a variety of diverse backgrounds.

The Bollywood film industry is grossing huge amount of money with more multiplexes devoting more of their cinema showing Bollywood films (research shows that Asians are 5 times more likely to visit cinemas and see Indian movies than the mainstream.

Our eating habits have changed beyond recognition as we now eat different foods everyday such as Indian, Chinese, and Italian & Lebanese. The ready to eat ethnic food market is growing at a phenomenon pace with sales in excess of £3 Billion pounds.

The restaurant sector has its major share of success with more than 100,000 restaurants in the UK owned by ethnic people taking in excess of £14 Billion pounds.

So lets talk about ethnicity

The ethnic population in the UK currently exceeds the entire population of Scotland and it is anticipated that by 2012 the population size will exceed the entire population of both Scotland & Wales.

The majority of Londoners in 2012 will be of an ethnic background (51%).
In organisations people make the difference and each person is unique and part of the team, we must enjoy and encourage the understanding of different people to evolve a work culture based on mutual appreciation.

The buying patterns of the ethnic communities differ from that of the mainstream as ethnic and multicultural groups buy in bulk and in large sizes and hence the purchasing power of an ethnic family on foods can be as much as double that of a mainstream English family. This has led a number of supermarket chains to stock ethnic foods and the difference is clear as the shelves are stocked with large sizes.

These changes are bound to affect the way we market to these groups and communities in the future as the traditional marketing methods are no longer valid and can result to huge wastage of client’s precious budgets.

Targeting niche markets and audience clusters are bound to result in effective result driven marketing and will lead to a bigger slice of the market share for dynamic and leading brands.

Saad Saraf
Media Reach Advertising

September 26, 2009

The UK market is changing.. Are you?

The UK is changing. We’re living longer, getting more technologically advanced and most importantly, living in a diverse society. Is this important? We think it is. We’re talking about multicultural marketing. Most people translate that to mean ethnic minorities, but that isn’t, and shouldn’t be, the case. What is culture? Cultures do not remain static. They change and evolve over time and are influenced by exposure to others from around the globe. And that’s what’s happening to the UK today. All cultures are evolving together, influencing one another. We now make a mosaic society – shimmering tiles of various colours, pieced together to create a masterpiece – the UK. Ignore one, and the picture is incomplete. Some people think it’s just a phase. Others think it’s getting harder to communicate to an increasingly diversified market. We think otherwise. A challenge? Yes. Impossible? Not a chance.
Saad Saraf
Mediareach Advertising

September 26, 2009

How to reach ethnic minorities

By Saad Al-Saraf (pictured), founder and CEO of the UK first ethnic and multicultural advertising agency, Media Reach Advertising

One of the most important weapons in the marketer’s armoury is information about their customers.

It’s an asset that many marketing departments are willing to spend thousands of pounds acquiring, to help them understand the best way of reaching potential and existing customers, and which marketing messages will be the most powerful way of communicating the benefits of whatever it is they’re selling.

Yet many of the marketers I speak to can’t tell where a typical person from an ethnic minority comes from, what languages they speak or what religious background they come from.

I’ve even met people who have admitted to me that they describe all black people as Caribbean and all people with brown skin as an Asian.

Although this bemuses me rather than offends me, I also find it a poor state of affairs given the fact that in the UK, the community of people from ethnic minorities has a disposable income in excess of £60bn.

In the greater London, with its population of more than 10m, 40 per cent come from ethnic communities and one-third of businesses are owned and run by someone from an ethnic minority.

Why does this matter to you and the way you do your job?

A wealth of reasons. People from ethnic backgrounds are aspirational and value education and status highly. They seek out careers in medicine, banking, IT and management.

They aspire to better status and to the ownership of luxury brands, cars, electronic consumables, watches, property and so forth.

Furthermore, it is a young market, with more than 50 per cent of the population aged under 25, and it is a market where people are loyal to their roots and cultural heritage, and often are religiously sensitive and culturally conscious.

Therefore, this market responds differently to generic communication messages to the mainstream audience.

But they do have their needs and desires – and £90bn to spend on them.

In today’s fragmented and increasingly turbulent markets, ethnic marketing offers a new strategic focus for product and market development.

I think companies which ignore this do so at their own competitive peril. People from ethnic minorities are already becoming immune to blanket messages that are not tailored to their sensitivities.

With the number of people from ethnic minorities living in Britain only on the rise, pretending that homogeneous marketing campaigns are still the most effective way for marketers to do their jobs is shortsighted.

For those who choose not to ignore this growing market, there is a tricky challenge – marketing to ethnic communities is not as simple as it might seem.

For the ethnic population in Britain is very diverse and different groups respond to the marketing messages they receive not only in a different way from the mainstream, but also differently from each other.

For example, among the people originating from South Asia – Indians Pakistanis and Bangladeshis – there are huge cultural disparities. There are differences in language, religion, food habits, festivals, clothing and so on.

Yet there are similarities in the way they live, where the family is the most important social unit, and with the concept of large joint families, where grandparents, parents, brothers and children all live together, instead of the Western concept of a nuclear family.

What can marketers do?

Reaching these audiences isn’t always easy. Due to the language barriers, especially for women, older generations and some newer immigrants, there is a shift away from mainstream media – which can often be irrelevant at best, and can offend culture and traditions at worst – and a reliance on ethnic media channels and community networks for information and entertainment.

This is evident from the plethora of ethnic TV stations, radio stations and print publications that have burgeoned in the last 10 years in Britain.

It’s not enough just to run your ad campaigns in the ethnic media though – cultural decoding and language translation are not the same thing.

Instead, stop seeing ethnic marketing as a box to be checked, and start paying attention to targeting our communities properly. Forget about tokenistic gestures: start thinking ethnic and don’t simply translate.

The basic rule is to understand a diverse, multicultural audience, and address their needs.

But above all, listen to what they want to see, what they want to view and what they want to hear, rather than imposing on them what you think they want to hear.

It might sound like an intimidating prospect, but it isn’t.

There are experts out there who can help guide marketers through the maze of ethnic media and cultural sensitivities, and who have contacts with community and religious leaders who play such an important and influential role in opinion forming and changing behaviour in communities of South Asian, Afro-Caribbean and Chinese people.

And what could have you got to lose? At best, you could be uncovering untapped customers for your company.

And all you’ve got to lose is your ignorance about the people who make up 11 per cent of the population of the country where you live.

Saad Saraf
Mediareach Advertising