Ads ‘stuck in superdiversity time warp’

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Many businesses are lagging behind when it comes in to reflecting New Zealand’s superdiverse reality in their marketing – and with younger consumers in particular demanding brand authenticity, bridging that gap represents a big opportunity, according to the latest research findings from TVNZ’s Forecast initiative. 

Forecast explores the defining issues facing New Zealanders today from a consumer standpoint. Its latest investigation puts the spotlight on superdiversity and its findings were presented by Nigel Latta at a business event in Auckland last night (3 May).

New Zealand is home to some 160 languages and 230 ethnicities and it tops the OECD in terms of immigration per capita.

Brands that pay attention to this diversity have a lot to gain, says Kath Mitchell, TVNZ’s group insights manager.

“Forecast explores the idea that superdiversity has redefined what New Zealandness means. With the make-up of the New Zealand population changing, what does that mean for marketers?” she says.

“Our sense of national identity is evolving in both subtle and striking ways. What jumped out in this research was that more people strongly identify as a New Zealander than like to be called a Kiwi.

“Yet everywhere you look you see brands using the language of Kiwis and New Zealanders interchangeably. We’re not saying, ‘goodnight Kiwi’, but if you want to bring more people into your business, it’s something to think about in terms of inclusivity.”

Not enough businesses get it right when it comes to reflecting New Zealand’s changing cultural mix in their marketing. “People told us they think a lot of businesses are stuck in a time warp and aren’t reflecting the changes taking place in society. One size doesn’t fit all. There’s a big opportunity for businesses to advertise in a more modern way that feels relevant and real to their customers. We all need to improve our cultural capability.”

The future generation will demand more from advertisers, Mitchell says. “People look at the world their kids are growing up in and they recognise the younger generation are more accepting and tolerant of other cultures – for them diversity is just normal. We talked to students from Waitakere College which has over 50 nationalities on the school roll. Those kids put huge stock on authenticity. Diversity and visible representation is an important part of people’s connection with brands.

“The research explores the challenges and opportunities superdiversity brings. At TVNZ we recognise we’ve got a way to go ourselves. As a business, we’re going to take on board what this research has to say and learn from it – and we hope others will too.

“That’s why we enlisted Nigel Latta to help us share this research. Nigel loves blowing stuff up. This time we ’re giving him a chance to explode some misconceptions about superdiversity.”

The Forecast research on New Zealand’s superdiversity involved 1000+ respondents across the country and was carried out by Colmar Brunton for TVNZ.

Forecast investigation on superdiversity was carried out in two parts:

Stage 1: Qualitative Research – 4 focus groups (8 in each group) with a mix of ages 25-65 and mix of ethnicity, Including a mix of NZ born and non NZ born and some recent immigrants to New Zealand. 4 locations – Auckland, Wellington, Invercargill, Whangarei.

Stage 2: Quantitative Research: 1001 online interviews with a nationally representative sample (age, gender, region) of New Zealanders aged 18 to 69 years. A mix of NZ born (751) and those not born in NZ (250)

Separate interviews were also conducted with students of Auckland’s Waitakere College.

  • Previous Forecast investigations into the 55+ generation is available here

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