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Reflecting a diversified country: a content analysis of newspaper advertisements in Great Britain

Emmanuel Mogaji (Business and Management Research Institute, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, United Kingdom)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 7 September 2015




Identifying the protected characteristics under the Equality Act of the UK, the purpose of this paper is to discover the extent to which the protected characteristics are featured in British newspaper advertisements, as evidence of diversity and equality in the country.


Content analysis of advertisements obtained from nine national newspapers of the UK collected over 12 months. The criteria used to select the newspapers were category, popularity (circulation figures) and the readership demographics (range and variety of the audience).


Disabled individuals are under-represented in print advertisements, and so are close relationships between individuals of the same sex signifying a civil partnership (or sexual orientation). There seems to be an equal level of portrayal of males and females, though men still feature more in a business setting while women are seen more in home settings.

Practical implications

The findings suggest opportunities for advertisers to integrate disabled individuals into their marketing campaigns, not just as a business strategy for targeted markets but as individuals in a diversified community. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people could also be featured in advertisements for products and services that couples usually buy together, for example, holidays and mortgages.


This study expands on the existing study on the portrayal in advertisements of stereotypes of genders, different age-groups and ethnic minorities. The portrayal of disability, sexuality and religious beliefs were considered within newspapers in UK, bridging some crucial gaps and providing outcomes relevant to numerous types of stakeholders, including the brands, advertising industry and academic researchers.



Mogaji, E. (2015), "Reflecting a diversified country: a content analysis of newspaper advertisements in Great Britain", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 908-926.



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