In February 2016, only 1% of Brazilian TV commercials’ protagonists were black. In February 2019, that share had risen to 17%, according to a survey by the Heads Agency. The remarkable growth reflects anti-racism campaigns aiming greater inclusion that come simultaneously from abroad and from within Brazil; and follows the changes that have occurred in the country – in which 54% of the population is black - since the creation of racial inclusion policies 10 years ago, according to IBGE, the government agency responsible for demographic statistics.
Off-screen, a 2019 survey by Clube da Criação (Creation Club - a non-profit entity founded by advertisers), showed that, among the largest advertisers, only 0.74% of senior management positions are held by blacks. Among 404 executives surveyed, only 32 have African-Brazilian physical features.
The movement to change the Brazilian advertising scene has been underway for years by several civil entities, such as Feira Preta (Black Fair) and Instituto Identidade Brasil (Brazil Identity Institute - Id-Br), with the motto “Yes to Racial Equality”.
On Father's Day this year, 2020, Bank Bradesco displayed a TV commercial titled “Be an Example” and starred by a black family. For Bradesco, the campaign’s feedback was striking: the advertisement had 138 million views and an absolute majority of “likes” on social networks - a historic record for the bank.
On its turn, Ambev, a company of the largest brewery group in the world, released earlier this year a mea culpa, affirming that what it was doing for racial inclusion was not enough and announcing the creation of a council with black leaders to establish programs and goals to face the issue, both on the external and internal front. The results came quickly: when the Milwaukee Bucks basketball game, on August 26, 2020, was suspended by the athletes in protest against police violence, Ambev decided to remove the advertisements it had prepared for its Budweiser beer brand. Instead, the company published phrases of solidarity to the players on a black background.