Why Inclusive Marketing is Important and Beneficial
Hollywood is changing and diversity is finally making its way into the entertainment business more prominently. With diversity issues being brought back to the forefront of political news, it is important for brands to know how to not just navigate this new marketing climate, but to help drive being a voice of change. And one of the ways brands can help, while also getting tremendous marketing value, is to support content created by and starring diverse talent.
Product placement in television and movies is a phenomenal way to partner with productions and is time and time again proven to provide a financial boom to the brands who make this part of their marketing planning. Not only is promoting diversity on screen beneficial to a company’s reputation, it is essential to breaking down systematic racist oppression in the United States. But how can brands pull this off successfully if they’ve never done it before? In this blog, Hollywood Branded dives into the history of diversity on screen and the marketing plans supporting it, and provides a list of 30 upcoming production partnerships your brand should consider supporting through product placement partnerships and strategic cross-promotions.
Diversity In Hollywood Today
Although it may seem like Hollywood is more diverse in recent years, the ratio of diverse cast members to white men is still large. In a study by UCLA on Diversity in Hollywood, out of 1,281 productions analyzed in 2019, there were more white male actors than any other group.
According to the study; 614 actors were white male, 373 were white female, 86 were black male, 29 were black female, 41 were Latino male, 25 were Latino female, 32 were Asian male, 12 were Asian female, 27 were mixed-race male, 37 were mixed-race female, 5 were native male and there were no native female roles.
This is not just a problem for the sake of hiring and casting non-white workers in Hollywood, this is a problem for mental health nationally. PBS articles showed that teenagers have reported mental health problems after growing up without much positive representation on screen. Their need to identify with pop culture makes it difficult for them to appreciate who they are if all they see is negative stereotypes.
To help eliminate this problem, brands and companies should be supporting diverse talent in Hollywood using inclusive marketing techniques. The best way to do this is to start by promoting diversity internally and hiring a diverse marketing team if you don't already have one.
This will help your company's marketing campaigns stay authentic and save you from accidental marketing mistakes like the Pepsi Kendall Jenner ad.
Once you feel ready, you should research diverse productions with actors or crew members that may align with the same political values as your company. You should start a relationship with them directly or by starting a product placement partnership with their production.
If you'd like to read more in deapth about diversity in Hollywood and the benefits of inclusive marketing, check out this blog: Promoting Diversity in Hollywood With Product Placement.
Now that you understand what it takes to promote inclusivity, you can get started with supporting diversity in Hollywood and placing your products in diverse shows or films.
So, without further ado, here is a list of 15 TV shows and 15 upcoming films that you could work with to promote diversity within your brand, and to support diversity on screen.
Upcoming Scripted Series
About The Show: Created by and starring rapper and actor Donald Glover, this TV series follows Glover's college drop-out character, Earnest Marks, who decides to help his cousin navigate the Atlanta rap scene. Earnest, or Earn, struggles with money and is homeless for most of the show despite having briefly attended Princeton University. Earn attempts to fix his relationship with his daughter's mother and both of his parents.
The show puts the hardships of black families in Atlanta at the forefront of the screen while highlighting their financial struggles. Additionally the show follows Earn's struggle with the expectations of success from his family as he makes decisions that put his financial stability on the back burner.
Season 4 of this show is currently in pre-production with delayed production dates due to COVID-19.
Starring: Donald Glover, Lakeith Stanfield, Brian Tyree Henry
About The Show: Created by and staring Issa Rae as Issa Dee, this series follows Issa and her co-star Molly, played by Yvonne Orji, who navigate their young adult lives as black women. The show contrasts both characters as Issa struggles with her relationship with her long-term boyfriend while working at a non-profit and Molly works as a successful attorney but struggles to find consistent love.
This show highlights the struggles of young black women as they navigate their careers, relationships, family expectations, and discrimination.
Season 5 of this show is in the pre-production stages. They have not released any shoot dates.
Starring: Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis
About The Show: This family-style show, created by TV Producer Kenya Barris, follows an upper-middle class black family: the Johnsons. The plot follows the characters as they navigate identity struggles, relationship challenges, and sociopolitical issues that affect their family.
The popular comedy series has been recently renewed for a seventh season and will soon begin production.
Starring: Tracee Ellis, Anthony Anderson
About The Show: This comedy is a spin-off of Black-ish that follows the Johnson's oldest daughter, Zoey Johnson, as she attends college. Zoey discovers that adulthood is much harder than she thought and she isn't fully prepared to handle it gracefully.
Season 4 of this show was recently renewed in January but no production plans have been released.
Starring: Yara Shahidi, Chloe Bailey, Halle Bailey, Jordan Buhat
About The Show: This drama series, created by Sam Levinson, follows Rue Bennett, played by Zendaya, who navigates her life as a high school student recovering from and dealing with drug addiction. The series puts identity struggles and mental health issues at the forefront of the plot as it displays Rue's struggles with anxiety, manic depression, and drug addiction as well as her discovery that she is attracted to Jules Vaughn, a transgender girl who just moved to town.
Something this show does well is give an opportunity for the audience to learn about and relate to a variety of characters, each with their own unique struggles. Each episode starts with a flashback narration of a new character's childhood trauma and how it affected them growing up. From weight insecurities, deceased and drug-addicted parents, to transphobia and toxic masculinity, there is a character with every struggle in the book, making the series relatable to a wider range of people who may not have seen their struggles represented so clearly before on screen.
The show has recently been renewed for a second season with delayed production dates as a result of COVID-19.
Starring: Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Jacob Elordi, Alexa Demie
About The Show: This Netflix original, created by Laurie Nunn, is a comedy following the struggles of a young boy in high school, Otis, whose mother is a sex therapist. By the first episode Otis ironically becomes a secret sex therapist to his fellow classmates, despite him being a virgin.
This series represents the wide spectrum of sexuality and how young people may be discovering their own sexuality during their teen years. Additionally it shows the growing pains of the characters as they struggle with everything from divorced or drug-addicted parents to sexual assault and financial struggles.
This series recently premiered its second season and is anticipating shooting its third this August if all goes well and no more delays are caused by COVID-19.
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey
About The Show: This drama mini-series, created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, tells the story of several aspiring actors, writers, directors, and producers, in Hollywood during the 'Golden Age.' Each character is trying to make their dreams come true despite the odds being stacked against them.
The story initially follows main character Jack Castello, played by David Corenswet, who has to work as a male escort for Hollywood's elite working women while posing as a gas station attendant.
The show features actress Laura Harrier who aspires to play bigger roles in Hollywood productions despite her being a black woman. She is shown competing against her white co-workers who acknowledge she has more talent than them, but this doesn't mean she gets offered the same roles.
Hollywood also features Jeremy Pope who plays a black gay man who is also working at the gas station for money. He articulates to his friend Jack Castello that he wants his scripts respected and made into productions without people considering his skin color.
The show revolves around what could have been possible had these headstrong characters worked together to help each other succeed in the Golden Age of Hollywood. The show features race, sex, marital and financial issues that many people still face today when young and searching for success.
The first season just premiere this year on Netflix and is looking to be renewed for a second season following COVID-19 restrictions.
Starring: David Corenswet, Laura Harrier, Darren Criss
About The Show: This dystopian TV series follows Dolores Abernathy, played by Evan Rachel Wood, who we discover is an AI robot created by Anthony Hopkins' character and his company. The company designs fantasy worlds for high-paying customers to use as an escape.
The show highlights the separation between the humans and "hosts" as the system starts to break down and some of the robots start to rebel. Its star- studded cast has guaranteed its success over three seasons.
Although this show is set in the future and does not explicitly discuss any current discrimination problems, it has a fairly diverse cast and represents a form of slavery as we see the hosts are considered property but are humanized in the show. It brings an interesting conversation to the table about the rights of AI creations contrasting with the idea of legalized slavery.
This series has recently been renewed for a fourth season but will have production delays due to COVID-19.
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Tessa Thompson
About The Show: This show, created by Ryan Murphy, is set in the past, specifically, in New York City in the 1980's, as it follows the African-American and Latino LGBTQ experience. The show follows competitors, who are often models or dancers, in the underground gender-nonconforming ball room scene of New York.
The show tackles topics about sexuality and gender identity crises, as well as the AIDS and HIV epidemic which is highlighted more in the second season, set in the 90's.
Aside from being well-written and representing a variety of important LGBTQ issues, the show has broken new ground politically. In 2018 it broke the record for the cast with the highest number of Transgender actors as series regulars.
Production is currently on hold for this series, but is hoping to resume next year.
Starring: Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Billy Porter
About The Show: This comedic single-camera series was created by Justin Spitzer, a former writer for The Office. The show follows a similar narrative to The Office as it shows the lives of the employees working at "Cloud 9" superstore number 1217 in Missouri.
The series offers a diverse cast ranging from different ethnicities to different body types and allows more audience members to feel represented on screen. Additionally, the series has an open critiquing narrative of the class structure in America and follows the financial struggles of some of the characters.
The series has recently been renewed for a sixth season and will resume production around July 2020.
Starring: Lauren Ash, Colton Dunn
One Day At A Time
About The Show: This show is a re-imagined version of the 1975 TV series of the same name. It was re-written by Whitney Blake and Allan Manings. The series follows a Cuban-American family living in Los Angeles. It focuses on single mother Penelope, played by Justina Machado, who is a veteran recovering from PTSD. The show also follows her children, mother, landlord, and lonely boss.
Aside from it's well-represented cast, the show also focuses on mental health issues, immigration issues, sexism, homophobia and racism as the characters grow together.
The series has recently put its production of season 4 on hold due to COVID-19, but hopes to resume soon.
Starring: Isabella Gomez, Justina Machado, Stephen Tobolowsky
About The Show: This spin-off of The Fosters follows adopted siblings Callie and Mariana as they move to Los Angeles together to start their careers. They move to a communal living apartment where they are forced to share everything with strangers and grow into their new lives.
The series' diverse representation comes from the wide range of residents that live in the communal apartment with Callie and Mariana. From racism and sexism struggles to sexual and gender identity, the series gives young viewers the ability to feel represented and empowered.
The series was recently renewed for a third season and will resume production following the end of COVID-19 restrictions.
Starring: Maia Mitchell, Ziru Adele, Cierra Ramirez
About The Show: This brand new show, created by and starring Kenya Barris, tells the story of Kenya Barris, playing a pseudo version of himself. According to the show's creators in an Indie Wire article; the show, "uncovers the messy, unfiltered, and often hilarious world of what it means to be a 'new money' black family trying to 'get it right' in a modern world where 'right' is no longer a fixed concept."
The show was recently renewed for a second season and will be shooting in Los Angeles in the future, following the green light from Netflix as COVID-19 continues to delay productions.
Starring: Rashida Jones, Kenya Barris
Work in Progress
About The Show: This groundbreaking show, created by and starring Abby McEnay, tells the story of a 40-year-old woman who describes herself as a “fat, queer, dyke,” and her struggles with mental illness and relationships while living in Chicago.
The first season introduces her transgender love interest, Chris, played by Theo Germaine who identifies as a transgender nonbinary individual in real life. The show’s attention to authenticity, and efforts to represent life in a more realistic way, makes it lovable and relatable for many fans.
The show’s second season was recently announced with delayed production due to COVID-19, but is hoping to resume soon.
Starring: Abby McEnay, Theo Germaine
About The Show: This Netflix comedy, written by and starring Ryan O’Connell, reflects real life. O’Connell wrote from his experience of living life as a gay man with mild cerebral palsy. This is one of the only shows today that stars a disabled lead actor.
The story follows Ryan’s character as he decides to re-write his life and go after his dreams. He finds that it is harder than he thought when he is met with doubt from many external forces, but he works to overcome it.
This show’s second season began shooting in February and was set to wrap in April, but due to COVID-19 concerns, it is now on hold.
Starring: Ryan O’Connell, Punam Patel
Upcoming Film Productions
Many of these productions do not have a full cast and crew list released, so their full diversity cannot be assessed yet. Additionally, there may be more productions in the future that announce diverse casts, so keep an eye out for any other upcoming productions!
About The Film: This film will be a remake of the 1998 film "Blade," which centers on a half-mortal, half-immortal vampire hunter who tries to avenge his mother's death. It will be directed by Hong Kong-based director Tsui Hark.
Little information has been put out about the specifics of the plot and who else will be staring alongside Mahershala Ali, however the production is in development and is moving towards a theatrical release.
Starring: Mahershala Ali
Five Against a Bullet
Studio: Suretone Pictures
About The Film: This film was brought back from the dead after Bruce Willis was previously attached as talent in 2012. Now staring Jackie Chan, the film will be about a Mexican politician that responds to the murder of his father by hiring the world's five best bodyguards and giving them the mission of cleaning up his area.
Much of the plot is still under wraps, but the film is in development and will likely be directed by Jeff Nachmanoff and produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura.
Starring: Jackie Chan
Studio: Universal Pictures
About The Film: This new comedy will follow the story of a group of female accountants that join forces against a similar male group in order to solve a fraud case.
The pitch is in full development and will star Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington. It possibly may be directed and produced by Eva Longoria.
Starring: Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington
The Lunch Witch
Studio: Universal Pictures
About The Film: This new comedy starring Kate McKinnon will tell the story about a real life female witch who meets her match when a young elementary-school girl takes an interest in her. You can read the official synopsis here.
No official production information has been released, but the project is in full development.
Starring: Kate McKinnon
The Card Counter
Studio: Paul Schrader Productions
About The Film: This new thriller will be directed by Paul Schrader and will have Martin Scorsese as its executive producer. No distributor has been attached yet, but the film began production in February before being postponed due to COVID-19.
In addition to Tiffany Haddish and Oscar Isaac, Williem Dafoe and Tye Sheridan will be starring in the film.
Summary: William Tell (Isaac), a gambler and former serviceman, is approached by Cirk, a vulnerable and angry young man seeking help to execute his plan for revenge on a military colonel. Tell sees a chance at redemption through his relationship with Cirk. Gaining backing from mysterious gambling financier La Linda, he takes Cirk with him on the road, going from casino to casino until the unlikely trio set their sights on winning the World Series of poker in Las Vegas. But keeping Cirk on the straight-and-narrow proves impossible, dragging Tell back into the darkness of his past.
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish
The Thomas Crown Affair
Studio: MGM Studios
About The Film: This remake of the 1968 and 1999 heist movie will instead feature Michael B Jordan as the lead.
Previously starring Steve McQueen in 1968, the film will likely feature refreshing cast changes to promote diversity. The specifics of the plot are under wraps so it is unclear how close to the original plot MGM will stick.
No production information has been released about this project as of yet.
Starring: Michael B Jordan
Studio: Phantom Four
About The Film: This new Sci-Fi fantasy from Phantom Four productions will feature Idris Elba as "a disgraced astronaut who embarks on a mission to reach the bottom of a newly discovered oceanic trench. It is theorized to be the lowest point on planet Earth. He encounters an increasing level of danger, and soon finds himself in a psychological (and physical) fight against mysterious forces."
Bradley Cooper and Gal Gadot were previously attached to the project in 2018. As the project continues in development we can expect more cast members to be revealed. No current production information has been released.
Starring: Idris Elba
About The Film: This new Sci-Fi thriller will star Tessa Thompson as “a competitive fencer is at the end of her career and is desperate to be the world’s best. In order to gain an edge, she pursues an experimental technology, allowing her to train via lucid dreaming. She begins a tumultuous affair with her instructor that threatens her real-world marriage and her pathway to Olympic gold,” according to Deadline.
This production is in priority development. It will be directed by female director, Nicole Dorsey, and will be executive produced by Thompson.
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Marwan Kenzari
Studio: Bold Films
About The Film: This upcoming drama will feature Stiller and Patel in an unlikely story about male strip clubs and hit men. According to the official summary, the story will follow main character Banerjee, a successful male strip club owner in the 1980's, who hires a hit on the choreographer he hired after he becomes paranoid and negotiations between them turn sour.
Patel will be the lead, playing Banerjee, while Stiller will likely play the choreographer. The project is in development and no production information has been released.
Starring: Dev Patel, Ben Stiller
The Great Outdoors
Studio: Universal Pictures
About The Film: This film is being produced by Hart while he also stars in the film. His production company is attached to the project as well as Michael De Luca's production company, who will be producing alongside Hart.
This film will be a reboot of the 1988 film about a man who plans for a relaxing outdoor camping trip and is imperiled when his annoying in-laws come to visit.
Starring: Kevin Hart
Studio: Blumhouse Productions
About The Film: This new horror film will feature Jamie Foxx as main character Al Simmons, and Jeremy Renner as Detective "Twitch" Williams.
Based on the comics by the same name and remake of the 1997 New Line film "Spawn," a member of a CIA black ops team is betrayed after being set up by his cohorts to be murdered. He is double-crossed in Hell and finds himself stuck in a demonic creature shell, hoping to be reunited with his wife.
This film will be shot in Toronto, Ontario and likely be directed by Todd Mcfarlane, who previously directed the 1997 version.
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Jeremy Renner
One and Done
Studio: Universal Studios
About The Film:
This film, just announced on Deadline, will be written, produced, and directed by men of color. The Universal-backed project will be co-produced by Will Packer and written by Chad Sanders and Chris Spencer. The plot of this film centers around one of the nation’s top high school athletes, his unprecedented decision to attend an HBCU, and his fight against the NCAA system.
This film has already gained media attention despite it only being in the development stages. It will feature the world of sports for young boys of color and the struggles many athletes have felt before.
Starring: No talent has been attached to this project yet
The Perfect Find
Studio: AGC Studios
About The Film: The production of this new comedy is fast approaching. Starring Gabrielle Union, the story will follow a young woman who starts a career in the world of beauty journalism for a challenging boss. Things take a turn when she realizes she accidentally falls for her boss's son, who is also the company's videographer. You can read the official Synopsis here.
This film will be adapted from the book by Tia Williams. This film had planned on shooting from early June to mid-July, but no updates have been given on the production and it is still listed as being in the pre-production stages.
Starring: Gabrielle Union
Get Started with Product Placement Today
Now you have 30 upcoming opportunities for your brand to partner with. So remember, getting started with inclusivity marketing isn't easy, and it will take time to implement a diverse team to do it well. However, it is essential to the success and survival of your company to start working to promote diversity in your workplace. One of the easiest ways to get started is product placement in one of these many upcoming productions.
If your company has not worked in product placement before and isn't sure how to move forward, our company is always willing to take on new clients and help them get in touch with productions they want to work with.
If you are interested in learning more about product placement and how it works, read some of the below blogs our team has written:
- How To #27: 10 Surprising Reasons Why Brands Do Product Placement
- How To #23: 4 Steps To Partner For 'Free' With A Movie To Create Unique Ad Content
- How To #29: How Much Does Product Placement Cost
- Brands Win By Leveraging SVOD Product Placement
If you'd like to read more on diversity in Hollywood, read these blogs from our team:
Our ebook is an awesome guide to learning how product placement and cross promotional strategies work for brands. Download your free copy below!