Saturday, August 18, 2018

Advertising NZ diversity

New Zealand’s banking sector has been making great strides in promoting diversity in their business, and one of the areas that’s most visible is in their television advertising. In fact, TV advertising in general is more inclusive in New Zealand than many other countries, and that, too, is especially true in bank ads.

The ads that banks run are typical of much of the advertising on New Zealand television: The ads depict people of many different backgrounds, including different cultures, different races, mixed races, and LGBT+ people. This is a relatively recent change, and very subtle.

I’ve only seen TV ads in New Zealand for the couple decades I’ve lived here, so I don’t know what was on before that. And, when I first arrived, many of the ads were originally for the UK, USA, or Australia. The ads made for New Zealand have reflected both Māori and European people, with Pasfika people featuring, too. But it’s recent years we’ve seen immigrants included, and LGBT+ people, too. Again, banks are leading the way.

Consider an ad from last year, “Bank of New Zealanders” from the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), New Zealand’s second-largest bank by assets:

The ad shows varieties of different New Zealanders, and at 24 seconds we see woman look at her phone and then run out of a lecture hall. What that’s about becomes clear at 43 seconds. The first time I saw the ad was literally a, “Wait, what?!” moment because, to be honest, I don’t usually pay that much attention to ads until I see something that I personally connect with.

Last month, ASB, New Zealand’s fourth largest bank by assets, began running a very unusual series of ads, especially the 60 second version:

The 30-second version is a little less odd:

There's one scene that stood out for me, and those people were in one of several 15-second versions of the ad:

I haven’t seen that particular 15-second version, and I also don’t know whether it’s been broadcast on TV or not. In fact, the only 15-second version I remember seeing is a severely cut down version of the first three—and it doesn’t include the couple that caught my attention [WATCH].

These ads aren’t particularly unique, but they are ads that are on television right now (apart, maybe, from the 15-second one I’ve included in this post). Also, all NZ's biggest banks have included diversity in their advertising; they’re just not running ads that include LGBT+ people at the moment.

The important thing about this is that the ads in this post are representative of how diversity is shown in TV ads in New Zealand, regardless of industry. At the same time, though, what makes these ads particularly notable is that they’re from banks, which traditionally are slow-to-change businesses. If banks can adapt to the diversity of modern New Zealand, it’s no surprise that other industries do, too.

New Zealand is not perfect by any stretch: We still have people who complain about diversity, or just particular groups. As a society, we have a long way to go. But the fact that diversity is being shown in even bank ads shows how far we’ve come in embracing our modern New Zealand. And that’s definitely worth advertising.


rogerogreen said...

It's astonishing how much "diversity" is loathed among some white people in the US. "Reverse racism"

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Yes, and that was the actual reason I noticed this at all: I saw American TV ads and noticed how, umm, monochromatic they were: Such as, white only or black only actors. I also have never seen same-sex couples portrayed on everyday US TV commercials, though I have seen some special ones.