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Want Gen Z to Think Positively About Your Brand? Here’s What They Want to See

Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to think positively of brands with diverse and inclusive ads…


  • Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to think positively of brands that embrace diversity
  • The younger gen is the most diverse to date and demand inclusion
  • They’re also more likely to identify as LGBTQ+ and expect brands to represent them accurately and authentically

YPulse’s ad/marketing effectiveness behavioral report explores everything from where Gen Z and Millennials seeing ads that are influencing young people’s purchases, to how brands can make their ads entertaining. We also found some of the differences in how the two generations perceive and prefer marketing messages. For one, Gen Z and Millennials are seeing the ads that make them want to buy in very different places. Our research also shows that nearly across the board Gen Z is less receptive to advertising, whether on their social feeds or online videos. They’re also more likely than Millennials to say that brands don’t understand people their age, with 64% agreeing with this statement compared to 49% of Millennials. So, how can brands win this gen over? There is one marketing practice that Gen Z is much more likely to embrace. Our behavioral survey asked 13-39-year-olds “Which of the following makes you think positively of a brand?” and we found that Gen Z is even more likely than Millennials to think positively of brands with inclusive marketing:

Body diversity is vital to attracting Gen Z
YPulse’s Representation in Action trend research explores how reflecting diversity is crucial across many industries, with the majority of young consumers telling us that when they choose what to buy, it’s important that products and brands represent all types of people. And Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to say they think positively of brands featuring models with a range of body types in an ad. It shouldn’t be ignored that the majority of Millennials do as well. In fact, they were the ones who started the body positive movement, which we’ve been tracking for years.But Gen Z has grown up with body positivity as their norm, and they have even more of a desire to see it in the ads they consume.

Racially diverse casting is just as important
Meanwhile, Gen Z is also more likely to feature diverse models or an interracial couple in ads. Half of this generation identifies as BIPOC, and they are demanding representation. While diversity and inclusivity has always been something that Gen Z has been important to them, it became an even bigger priority following the Black Lives Matter protests from 2020. In fact, racism / discrimination is one of the biggest problems their generation faces today—and they feel as though racism in the U.S. has gotten worse. Clearly they want brands to fix or address the problem head-on by being more diverse and inclusive, in a genuine and meaningful way.

Gen Z wants their gender and sexual identities reflected in ads
Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to think positively of a brand who features transgender models and same-sex couples in ads. We recently told you that Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to identify as LGBTQ+ so it makes sense that they’re more willing to think positively of brands who feature models from the LGBTQ+ community. We also found that Gen Z is less likely than Millennials to agree that advertisements do a good job portraying people of their gender, and more likely to agree that ads use stereotypes about their gender. Clearly, when brands break beyond the gender status quo, it’s noticed and appreciated.

YPulse Business users can access the full Ad/Marketing Effectiveness behavioral report
and full data here

Don’t have a YPulse Business account? Find out more here.