Wattpad Releases “Keep it Real” Report on Gen Z & Authentic Representation in Advertising

Jordan P. Kelley, Content Director, Brand Storytelling


A recent report from Wattpad Brand Partnerships delves into the perspective of Gen Z audiences and how they feel about the way they’re represented in today’s advertising. Wattpad called upon Generation Wattpad, a panel comprised of nearly 400 members of Gen Z ages 13 to 24 to provide insights into their own experiences with advertising directed at them.


Read the complete report here.

For Gen Z, authentic representation starts with putting people in images and on screen that mirror the reality of the way they and their friends look, which means proudly showcasing people in every shape, size, and shade. They are a generation made up of major supporters of all forms of diversity, which also includes sexual identity. It’s not enough to make images of the LGBTQIA+ community during pride month. Gen Z wants to see brands and storytellers join in normalizing representation of people of all sexual identities.


Mishandling representation by approaching it superficially will cost brands the loyalty of the groups they couldn’t be bothered to represent correctly. Inauthentic representation is a big miss with Gen Z, who have the capacity to be fiercely loyal and, conversely, have the potential to be very vocal in their discontent and opposition to everything from lack of representation to misrepresentation to pandering. The polled panel identified brands like Fenty, Aerie, Dove, Nike, and Adidas as leading the way in artfully and authentically achieving representation in their campaigns and content that speak to the generation.


Gen Z is a group comprised of people who aspire to be fully realized versions of themselves, and that means ditching homogeny in favor of individuality – an individuality they would like to see mirrored in images and on screen. Brands and advertisers take note - being more inclusive of all that make up this generation by leaving those in focus unaltered, unwritten, and untouched will provide members of Gen Z the satisfaction of feeling seen and, as such, win their approval.


Be sure to read the full report for an in-depth look at Wattpad’s findings.

 

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