Inclusive ads influence short-term consumer behaviour and forge long-term brand loyalty: Diageo’s Ruchira Jaitly

In an exclusive conversation with, Diageo’s CMO, Ruchira Jaitly, spoke about how the brand ensures progressiveness and inclusivity as important elements in its marketing playbook

Archana Raj
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Ruchira Jaitly

Ruchira Jaitly

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New Delhi: Whether it's P&G's Vicks ‘Touch of Care’ campaign, Fasttracks' ‘Come Out of the Closet’ campaign, Gillette's ‘Man Enough campaign’, or Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, a lot of ads have been churned to walk the lanes of inclusivity. 

Yet, compared to 33% of consumers across the world, 48% of Indians expressed the need for more inclusive representation by brands.

In an exclusive conversation with, Diageo’s CMO, Ruchira Jaitly, spoke about how the brand ensures progressiveness and inclusivity as important elements in its marketing playbook.

Lack of inclusivity in Indian advertising

Discussing the need for ‘portraying progressiveness in ads,’ Jaitly analysed the media and advertising landscape and found that less than 2% of ads across various categories genuinely embrace diversity and inclusivity.

According to Kantar’s analysis of advertisements over the past few years, there is a significant lack of diversity in Indian advertising.

The study found a dismal representation of the LGBTQ+ community, at less than 1%.

While the presence of women in ads was comparable to that of men, persistent stereotypes prevailed. Only 17.5% of women were depicted in non-traditional roles, with 3.5% of men shown as sole caregivers. Male characters were portrayed as three times more authoritative than their female counterparts.

Jaitly noted that financial products are often marketed towards men, even though women are increasingly influential in financial markets. 

This underrepresentation calls for better, more inclusive storytelling that reflects the diverse realities of our audience, she added. 

To understand the impact of inclusive representation, Jaitly said that the brand partnered with experts to delve into the effects. 

“Our research showed that inclusive ads not only influence short-term consumer behaviour but also build long-term affinity and brand loyalty, particularly among younger generations with progressive views on a fair and inclusive society,” she highlighted.

She noted that younger consumers, such as Gen Z, have vastly different ideas about inclusion compared to older generations. This shift underscores the need for brands to adapt if they want to remain relevant and preferred, she emphasised.

Tracking the progressive media space

While acknowledging the challenges and lack of inclusivity in the advertisement landscape, Jailtly stated, "At Diageo, we track something called progressive media space, which is an initiative that goes beyond simply creating inclusive content. We ensure that the media channels we use also support progressive and inclusive dialogues."

“This often means partnering with platforms that may not be mainstream but are important for reaching diverse communities; for instance, we support podcasts that cater to the LGBTQIA+ community, providing valuable guidance and support for individuals navigating their own gender identities," Jaitly added.

Jaitly further stated, “We measure and report our progressive media spending, which has tripled in recent years.”

Elaborating on the progressive media initiative, she mentioned that this initiative is tracked and reported to the brand’s global PR and marketing teams. 

“The focus on progressive media is supported by ensuring that the talent behind our content, whether writers, directors, cinematographers, or on-screen talent, comes from diverse backgrounds,” she added.

“Currently, 44% of the talent involved in creating our content is classified under the diversity and inclusion categories,” she added.

Instances of ‘impactful with inclusivity’ campaigns

When discussing impactful marketing campaigns for brands and businesses, Jaitly highlighted Black & White, a whiskey produced by Diageo, where the brand created ‘Cards for Sharing.’  

She emphasised that it was the incorporation of diverse characters and progressive narratives that notably boosted the brand's equity scores and valuation.

Aravani Art Project and Pearl D'Souza, the two artists showcasing their art on Walkers & Co.'s billboards, were another such initiative to give a national platform to emerging artists in the space of inclusion and diversity.

Engaging consumers with inclusive ads

According to a survey by Facebook, 71% of people expect brands to promote inclusion and diversity in their online advertising. People are more likely to engage with and buy from brands that promote diversity.

When discussing engaging consumers within this purpose-driven content of inclusivity, Jaitly stated, “Our goal is to create a win-win situation: benefiting both consumers and society, while also strengthening our brand. When these elements align, the true impact is achieved.”

Measuring the results of inclusivity in promotions

“We measure our progress against our goals and adjust our approach based on the results. This involves looking at brand equity and other key metrics to evaluate success,” she added.

Kantar, in its latest report, revealed there is a 54% increase in brand equity and a 30% increase in short-term sales of brands if their advertising positively showcases underrepresented groups.

Walkers & Co., in collaboration with Film Companion, unveiled the Walkers Project and unveiled their participation in the Cannes Festival, aiming to celebrate diverse and creative cultures.

Highlighting this, Jaitly said, “Our presence at the Cannes Festival wasn't merely for representation; it was also about ensuring the effectiveness and measurability of our initiatives.”

She said, “By focusing on progressive media investments, we aim to reach our target audience with meaningful content that enhances both brand equity and business outcomes.” 

This iterative process involves setting clear objectives, implementing plans, and continuously refining them based on feedback and results, ensuring our purpose-driven content resonates with and engages consumers effectively, Jaitly concluded. 

Diageo India brands