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Revealed: Top 20 Ads and Brands Resonating Across Diverse America

Lysol, Netflix, Google, and Band-Aid rank among the most Culturally Fluent brands in our analysis of more than 500 brands and 200 ads across the last 18 months.

Collage Group is pleased to unveil our rankings of the more than 500 brands and 200 ads evaluated as part of our extensive CultureRate:Brand and CultureRate:Ad database. Lysol, Netflix, Google, and Band-Aid rank among the most Culturally Fluent brands, while Dove, National Geographic, Oreo and Campbell’s produced the most Culturally Fluent ad creative.

Fill out the form below to access the Top 20 Brands and Ads ranked as part of our CultureRate research.

Top Ten Ads and Brands

The research includes more than 20 industries across 100 subcategories, and is organized into 10 broad sectors, including: Alcoholic Beverages, Automotive, Education, Financial Services & Banking, Food & Beverages, Health & Wellness, Household Products, Media & Telecom, Personal Products, and Retail & QSR.

The rankings follow the release of new U.S. Census data that shows America is much more racially and ethnically diverse than ever. For example, the multiracial population (individuals reporting more than one race) jumped 276% over the past decade—from 9 million in 2010 to 33.8 million in 2020.

“Consumers are expecting more of brands as cultural transformation of the American consumer accelerates,” says David Wellisch, Collage Group Co-Founder and CEO. “Given the rapidly changing demographic landscape, a deep understanding of cultural resonance and its drivers is an essential capacity to create a winning brand strategy in diverse America.”

Collage Group’s proprietary measurement and benchmarketing tool, CultureRate, offers brands a superior way to measure brand and ad Cultural Fluency–the organizational ability to use culture to efficiently and effectively connect across consumer segments.

CultureRate research centers on a key metric referred to as the Cultural Fluency Quotient (CFQ). CFQ scores are designed specifically to measure cultural resonance across segments for both brands (B-CFQ) and ads (A-CFQ). Researchers developed the measurement by testing 20 distinct components scores in multiple combinations to accurately measure cultural resonance while providing predictive insight into higher purchase intent and brand favorability. CFQ scores provide marketing and insights professionals with a tool to gauge their brand or ad cultural fluency and evaluate the competitive landscape.

Top Ten Brands for Cultural Fluency* include:


1.   Lysol

2.   Netflix

3.   YouTube

3.   M&M’s

3.   Clorox

4.   Band-Aid

4.   Dawn

5.   Google

6.   Amazon

7. Hershey’s

Top 15 Ads for Cultural Fluency* include:


1.   Dove: All Hair is Beautiful

2.   Oreo: Stay Home, Stay Playful

2.   National Geographic: Reimaging Dinosaurs

2.   Dove: Skin Stories

2.   Lysol: Questions Need Answers

3.   Frito-Lay: Let’s Summer

3.   Campbell’s: Snowbuddy

3.   Disney: Magic is Here

4.   Tropicana: Breakfast Across America

4.   Dunkin’: Welcome to Dunkin’

4.   Clorox: Caregivers – Bodega

4.    Subaru: Crosstrek Girl Trip

4.   Coca-Cola: History Shakers

4.   McCormick: Taco Night

4.   Cascade: Do It Every Night With Cascade Platinum

*Only brands with an average awareness of over 60 respondents per segment are included to avoid low sample issues. Several brands and ads tied for the top rankings. Collage Group’s CultureRate Explorer tool includes all rankings.

CFQ reports ranking the top brands and ads are now available for each major industry in Collage Group’s CultureRate Explorer tool, with deep dive reports available exclusively for subscribers of Collage Group’s cultural intelligence platforms. Each deep dive report includes overall category CFQ rankings by consumer segment and acculturation levels, as well as Cultural Reach scores that show how many segments with whom an ad or brand is resonant. Where a robust sample is available, sub-category rankings are also included.

“These reports are just one of the many ways Collage Group supports its members,” says David Evans, Collage Group Chief Insights Officer. “When coupled with Cultural Traits, Passion Points and the combined 78 million insights in our cultural intelligence platform, more than 200 of America’s leading brands are leveraging CultureRate to effectively and efficiently leapfrog competitors to engage and win America’s diverse consumers.”

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Media Consumption Across Generations

Optimize your brand’s connection with consumers across generations by understanding where they consume media content, and why they’re going there to do so. Keep reading for key insights and a downloadable deck on social media, visual entertainment, and audio streaming.

Media is a major aspect of consumers’ everyday lives. Americans spend a significant amount of their time and attention consuming social media, visual entertainment, and audio streaming content. For brands and advertisers across industries to succeed, they need to understand where people are going to consume media content, and why they’re going there.

  • Are they following specific topics?
  • Are they following influencers?
  • Are they looking for products to purchase?
  • Are they just killing time?
  • Is it device dependent?
  • Does it depend on the race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender of the characters or hosts?

Collage Group’s 2021 Media Study answers these questions by providing granular insights across generations. Our research reveals the specific platforms American media users go to, and what they’re using them for. The data dives deep into content and platform drivers—spanning categories, passion points, and identity attributes.

Fill out the form to download an excerpt of our Media Consumption Across Generations presentation. Read below for key insights. 

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Social Media

Key Insight: Influencers drive younger generations to social media just as much as keeping up with friends and family.

This is paramount to understanding Gen Z and Millennial behavior online. For instance, these generations tend to be much more commerce-focused on social media. This also unlocks insight on why specific sites are used. Instagram is the favored platform for keeping up with influencers, much more so than it’s being used to follow real life connections, like friends and family.

Gen Z Media Consumption Chart

Visual Media

Key Insight: “Single-show sign-ups” explain why younger generations, particularly Millennials, use so many platforms.

Gen Z and Millennials are especially particular about the content they consume. They know what they want, and they’ll go to greater lengths to get it. Even if it means subscribing to an entire streaming service just for one show. Movies and shows are a strong passion point for these generations, and their desire to be in-the-know on pop culture accelerates this behavior.

Streaming Service Subscription Chart

Audio Media

Key Insight: Millennials (the most enthusiastic podcast listeners) are busy with careers and kids, so they tune in while doing other tasks.

Almost three-quarters of Millennials listen to podcasts and radio shows while driving, studying, working, or doing chores. For them, it’s a way to use their time efficiently while also carving out some “me time” to listen to shows they like. In the car, AM/FM radio remains most common, with Spotify a strong runner-up. While multitasking generally, Millennials use a variety of platforms. Additions to their audio streaming repertoire include social media sites like YouTube and Pandora.

Audio Media Platform Preference Chart

Find the full set of research includes category-specific data across generations, as well as race, ethnicity, sexuality and gender, and searchable data on our Instant Insights tool–all available to members of Collage Group cultural intelligence platforms.

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Consumer Holidays Trends: Thanksgiving 2021

How will Americans prepare for and celebrate Thanksgiving this year?

In a not-so-post-pandemic era, it’s essential for brands to keep an eye on the behaviors and attitudes surrounding special occasions. Insights from Collage Group’s Holidays & Occasions research enables you to communicate with your audience authentically and effectively. Fill out the form below to download a sample of the study. 

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The mass majority of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. In our most recent round of surveys fielded in May 2021, respondents gave us fascinating insights around the following topics: 

• What traditional and non-traditional foods get included in Thanksgiving celebrations

• How certain segments react to stress during the holidays 

• Which segment is most likely to have a “friendsgiving”

Collage Group helps marketers and insights leaders connect around this occasion by providing insights that clarify the similarities and differences in how American consumers across diverse segments prepare for and experience Thanksgiving. These insights allow for more efficient and effective activations that capture greater mind and market share.

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How Consumers Across Generations Celebrate Halloween

Learn how consumers across generational segments interact with and celebrate Halloween.

Our latest Holidays & Occasions research covers major attitudes and behaviors of Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers around Halloween. Read on for a few insights from this year’s study. The full report is available to members of Collage Group’s Generations program. 

1. Halloween is most highly celebrated by Gen Z and becomes less popular with age.

71% of Americans celebrate Halloween.

2. Most Americans likely have self-expression in mind when preparing for and celebrating halloween.

The Millennial and Gen X Segments Are Most Likely to Hold this View.

3. Younger Halloween celebrants are more likely to associate the holiday with a party atmosphere.

4. Millennial Americans are most likely to carve pumpkins as part of their Halloween celebration.

Almost Half of Gen Z and Millennials Go to Haunted Houses during the Halloween Season.

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How Consumers Engage with Cookouts and Barbecues

Learn how Americans across racial and ethnic segments prepare for and experience cookouts and barbecues.

Brands are constantly tapping into the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors surrounding consumer holidays and occasions. This summer, most consumers across segments are looking forward to barbecues and cookouts. In Welcome to the Traegerhood, Traeger Grill reminds us that cookouts and barbecues have the power to create a sense of community–a concept much longed for in the midst of the pandemic. Brands can look to this commercial as an example of relevant, effective storytelling.

The following consumer insights belong to a series of Collage Group reports on holidays and occasions. This targeted research allows for more efficient and effective brand activations that capture greater mind and market share.

1. Multicultural Americans Are More Likely to Have a Family Sauce or Special Recipe for Barbecues and Cookouts

39% of Americans say their family has  a special sauce or recipe for cookouts or barbecues.

Acculturated Hispanics are least likely (36%H) to say their family has a special sauce or recipe for cookouts or barbecues,
compared to Unacculturated (54%) and Bicultural (60%) Hispanics.

2. Millennials Take the Most Active Role in Food Preparation at Barbecues.

The Differences among Generations Are Likely Tied to Life Stage.

3. Food Is the Star of the Show—and Most Important Element—of Most Americans’ Cookouts.

Music Is More Likely to Be a Crucial Component of Cookouts for LGBTQ+ Americans.

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Consumer Attitudes Towards the Olympics

Collage Group helps marketers and insights leaders connect around this occasion by providing insights that clarify the similarities and differences in how American consumers across diverse segments prepare for and experience the Olympics.

The world’s most unifying sporting event is right around the corner. The Olympics, taking place in Tokyo this year, are one occasion brands need to understand to fully capture diverse America’s attention.

One of this year’s most moving campaigns comes from consumer giant Proctor & Gamble, whose #LeadWithLove campaign hits every cultural mark. Their latest commercial, Love Leads to Good, brings awareness around the Olympic games through inclusive casting and thoughtful storytelling. 

The following consumer insights belong to a series of Collage Group reports on holidays and occasions. This targeted research allows for more efficient and effective brand activations that capture greater mind and market share.

1. Hispanic Americans Are More Likely to Believe the Olympics Brings Unity across Different Countries.

According to our most recent study, 76% of Americans believe the Olympics are a great way to bring unity across different countries.

2. Most Americans Take Advantage of the Olympics to Watch Sports outside Their Typical Viewing Habits.

However, Gen Z is notably less likely to expand their viewership to new sports.

3. Three in Four Multicultural Americans Agree that the Olympics Are a Great Way to Celebrate Diversity.

The Olympics are a great way to celebrate diversity.

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Principles for Engaging Younger, More Diverse Consumers: Deep Dive into Gen Z
Understanding America’s Diverse Consumers

Gen Z, the generation born from 1997 to 2012, is one of America’s most influential consumer segments.

One in five Americans are part of this generation and it is the second largest: at 75.6 million people, Gen Z is only slightly smaller than the Millennial generation at 75.8 million. These younger consumers, now 8-to-23 years old, are highly invested in their beliefs and passions, and orient toward inclusion and diversity not seen in older generations.

How can you capture the growing influence and expenditure of this influential, younger consumer segment and earn their loyalty for years to come?

Understanding the unique characteristics of Gen Z Americans – from trends and experiences to expression and entertainment – can help you authentically engage. In April 2021, Collage Group’s Chief Insights Officer David Evans explored key areas of our consumer fundamentals for Gen Z in this deep dive presentation hosted by the Insights Association.

Fill out the form to watch the full presentation and download an excerpt of the deck.

In the full presentation you’ll find a deep dive into Gen Z demographics and economic opportunity, identity-related marketing expectations, cultural traits and passion points. Read below for a five key insights into Gen Z consumers.

1. Gen Z is coming of age in an intrinsically diverse society, with multicultural consumers representing nearly half of all Gen Z Americans.

This generation is among the first in American history to be defined by the multicultural experience, and 27% of Gen Z are first- or second-generation Americans. You cannot appeal to Gen Z Americans without respecting their complex set of identities.

2. Younger generations, specifically Gen Z, are increasingly likely to identify as LGBTQ+.

This is an interesting phenomenon we identified in our research on consumer identity, which suggests that as society is more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, and people discover the myriad possible identities out there, young people are more willing to embrace their LGBTQ+ identities.

3. Gen Z is on track to be the most educated generation, but this comes at the steepest price in history.

Those entering collage now face approximately $37,650 in tuition and fees for attending a private, nonprofit four-year university.

The confluence of high levels of education, at a high cost, and the difficult economic and social realities of our current climate play into the cultural traits we’ve identified for Gen Z, specifically “pressured” and “skeptical”.

4. Gen Z has grown up in a period of unprecedented uncertainty, adding even more layers to the stresses of adolescence and young adulthood.

Most recently, amid pandemic, economic recession, political polarization and social justice movements, Gen Z has had a lot to bear within a very short span of time. Unsurprisingly, Gen Z is struggling to find balance between meeting others’ expectations and living their desired lives – and much more so than other generations.

5. Gen Z Americans see many challenges standing in the way of their futures that society has failed to address.

These young consumers tend not to trust many institutions and believe brands and corporations should play a role in addressing the problems they face.

Are you interested in learning more about Gen Z consumers and how to apply these insights to your campaigns?

Collage Group’s consumer research database now contains insights from hundreds of studies, thousands of questions and millions of data points on American consumers across ethnicity, generation, sexuality and gender. With more than 35 original studies released each year, you can dive deeper into the cultural traits, identity, passion points and more of Gen Z Americans, as well as other high-grow diverse consumers.

Through our Generations consumer research platform you can access to the insights you need to understand and engage the attitudes, behaviors and values of all generational segments: Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X and Boomer. Contact us to learn more.

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Five Essential Things To Know About Gen Z Consumers

Want to better connect with Gen Z? Read on for 5 takeaways and a presentation centered on enhancing your brand's ability to authentically connect with the Gen Z generational cohort.

Collage Group’s Essentials of Gen Z consumers presentation explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research for the generational: demographics and economic opportunity, identity related marketing expectations, and Cultural Traits. Read below for several takeaways and then fill out the form to download an excerpt of the study.

Gen Z Essential Traits

1. Gen Z (aged 8-24yrs old in 2021) are more diverse than older generations. In fact, Gen Z is on the doorstep of becoming a majority minority cohort; 49% of the generation are people of color. Gen Z’s intrinsic diversity equates to greater expectations for inclusive marketing practices.

2. Gen Z is also significantly more likely to identify as LGBTQ+ than older generations. The difference between older Millennials (31-39 yrs. old) and older Gen Z (18-23yrs old), alone, is sharp: almost twice as many older Gen Z Americans identify as LGBTQ+ than their Millennial counterparts.

3. New Wave generations – Gen Z and Millennials—are more likely to say they go out of their way to support inclusive brands. Gen Z were also the only generation that included looking for brands that support LGBTQ+ and racial justice in their top five priorities.

4. Gen Z is uniquely open about their sexuality. This is even significantly different from Millennials. 20% Gen Z claim their sexuality as a primary means of self-identification. That’s a stark break from previous generations, where sexual identity is more of a taboo subject.

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Christmas in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic
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Christmas: the most wonderful time of the year, even during a pandemic. Keep reading for stats on timeless Christmas themes to lean into this year while pivoting to the realities of COVID.

Christmas is one of the most beloved and widely celebrated holidays in America. Over three-quarters of each racial/ethnic segment celebrate it, and 73% of people view Christmas as the biggest holiday of the year.

Every year, consumers of all backgrounds traditionally ring in the holiday by spending time with loved ones, putting up festive decorations, giving gifts, and enjoying seasonal foods. And as Americans adapt to the pandemic, our research suggests they will continue to incorporate these traditional sources of comfort and joy into their holiday.

Download an excerpt of our webinar presentation, “Multicultural Holiday Behaviors During COVID – Food, Beverage, and Alcohol.”

This year, brands are leaning into core Christmas themes in COVID-relevant ways.

For instance, McCormick reminds viewers that even if you can’t get together with your family this year, “their dishes can still make it to the table.” And Lowe’s emphasizes the importance of home as a central part of our lives. This year especially, with so much time spent at home, Lowe’s highlights home decorating as a gift that “brings joy to all.”

These core consumer Christmas values won’t be abandoned just because the circumstances have changed. You can, and should, still activate against these themes. But keep in mind that you also need to know how things are different to understand where and how to tweak messaging.

Our recent data gives us insight on the shifts you can expect to see in consumer attitudes and behaviors as they modify their plans to celebrate the holiday safely. Consider these high-level consumer trends as you prepare your final holiday push for maximum impact.

1. Consumers will celebrate in 2020, but celebrate differently.

2 in 5 consumers expect that the pandemic will prevent them from carrying out their usual Christmas plans. That may mean abstaining from large family gatherings, nixing travel plans, or forgoing festive outings.

Continue to activate on core Christmas themes like family – but do so in a way that’s relevant during the pandemic. For instance, recent holiday spots by Etsy and Chewy feature family members opening presents with one another over video chat.

Alternatively, shake things up by leaning into the probability that the pandemic will likely create new activities and traditions. Show how your product or service can inspire new ways to celebrate because of the pandemic. For instance a recent spot by Maker’s Mark features roommates getting together to decorate their fire escape with Christmas lights, then huddling outside on it to watch a virtual fireplace on their TV while sipping cups of holiday cheer. Or illustrate how new quarantine activities can inspire Christmas gift ideas this year, like Best Buy.

2. Consumers prioritize convenience and safety for holiday shopping this year.

With no end to the pandemic in sight, consumers are modifying holiday shopping habits as they seek convenience and safety. Many are looking for contactless options: 67% of people say they’ll probably shop online more for the holidays this year.

Telling people how they can shop online for your products needs to be central to your campaign. For example, Walmart recently debuted a heartwarming and relatable spot highlighting everything we now buy online these days to cope with the pandemic. And Sam’s Club customers can take a virtual tour of the Griswold “Christmas Vacation” house as they shop the festive décor and gifts Sam’s Club offers.

3. Many people are still struggling financially as a result of the pandemic and economic recession.

Half of all Americans worry that they can’t afford holiday shopping this year.

Show sensitivity towards your customers by offering extended discounts. For instance, Target and Home Depot are offering Black Friday deals all season long. Additionally, signal that you care by supporting vulnerable communities financially or through donated goods. Amazon, recently announced plans to donate to over 1,000 charities to support communities hit hardest by the events this year. And Visa encourages consumers to shop local this holiday season and give back to the small businesses at the heart of their communities.

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2020 Holiday Consumer Behavior: Thanksgiving in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic
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The coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally changing how American consumers gather for Thanksgiving and shop on Black Friday this year. Read on for insight into the consumer mindset and advice on how to best position your brand for success in this untraditional holiday season.

Thanksgiving. The word immediately calls to mind iconic images of Americana: roast turkey, family gatherings, football, the Macy’s Day parade. But Thanksgiving isn’t just a truly American holiday—it’s also one of the most celebrated! Our research from 2019 revealed that 84% of Americans regularly celebrate Thanksgiving, making it the second most celebrated holiday for Americans after Christmas. White and Black consumers are most likely to celebrate, while Hispanic and Asian celebration rates are lower, perhaps due to members of these segments that have recently immigrated and not yet adopted the holiday.

Thanksgiving is normally a popular occasion for Americans to travel and reunite with family and friends. Last year more than 26 million airline passengers were screened by the TSA during the week of Thanksgiving. And a survey we ran in 2019 revealed that 59% of Americans reported typically celebrating Thanksgiving with extended family, while 40% reported celebrating with friends.

But this year, nothing is normal. When we surveyed consumers in August 2020, 44% already expected the COVID-19 pandemic would interfere with their normal Thanksgiving plans. Since then, coronavirus cases and fatalities in the United States have risen dramatically.

Another survey we fielded in September 2020 found that only 19% of American adults reported feeling safe travelling on commercial airplanes. And the CDC recently issued official guidelines recommending that people stay close to home and only gather with immediate family members on Thanksgiving to lower the chances of spreading the virus. These fears are not unfounded. In October, Canadian officials linked rising case numbers all over the country to Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations

The coronavirus pandemic will likely result in a larger number of small Thanksgiving gatherings across the United States. And this means that many Americans—perhaps 18%—will be cooking their own Thanksgiving meals for the first time. Despite these changes, many other aspects of Thanksgiving 2020 will look the same as any other year. 

For example, the top things that people associate with Thanksgiving (spending time with family, eating delicious foods, cooking, baking, and watching football) are still possible, in some form, during the pandemic. And maintaining these traditions will likely be a welcome reminder of more normal times.

Brands can use these challenges to connect with consumers. McCormick’s new ad does this by showing how their products help create a sense of togetherness and ensure success despite separation. They encourage people to cook their relatives’ signature dishes as a way to be together. And they use the image of a young woman fumbling with a turkey—an inexperienced Thanksgiving cook—to remind viewers that “it’s gonna be great” despite the challenges

Thanksgiving is also a crucial time of year for brands because of Black Friday and the beginning of the holiday shopping season. This is yet another aspect of American life that will look different in 2020. According to recent research, two thirds of consumers plan to shop online more for the holidays this year, while 60% plan to put off shopping until it’s absolutely necessary.

Brands and stores have already begun to adjust their Black Friday campaigns in expectation of untraditional shopping patterns.

A common move is to expand your online strategy well beyond Cyber Monday as consumers fear shopping in crowded stores. For example, Target and other retailers are advertising that all deals are available both in-store and online. Retailers are also fighting against consumers’ instinct to hold off on shopping by offering Black Friday deals throughout November.

Unfortunately, about half of consumers are worried they won’t be able to afford holiday shopping this year. Brands can activate on this moment by showing how their products can figure in homemade or low-cost gifts. For example, Ashley Home Store released a commercial showing two children who make their parents a simple dinner and decorate the table with homemade decorations. The parents love it! And with the slogan, “celebrate the magic of home,” Ashley Home Store is also subtly reminding people of the importance of staying home and safe during the pandemic. Similarly, Ross advertises their Christmas bargains by saying, “you don’t have to spend a lot to give a lot to the ones who mean the most.” By offering extended sales, brands can also show they recognize the economic challenges many are now facing.

This Thanksgiving and Black Friday will look different than those past. But that doesn’t mean marketing is out. Brands can still connect with consumers by activating on tried and true themes and reminding people they understand the challenges they face.

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