Brands are falling behind in their representation of real Australia with 46% of Australians agreeing that images they encounter of people in ads are stereotyped, finds a new study from Getty Images.

Getty Images and Canon are calling for brands to end ageism and a stereotyping in advertising and to better represent multicultural Australia.

The call follows new research from Getty which revealed 76% of Australians believe brands need to do more to ensure images of Australians reflect real life.

The research surveyed over 1,000 Australians to better understand how representation of modern identities is perceived within brand marketing.

Research encouraged respondents to identify characteristics that they found to be poorly represented, including body type (50%), ethnicity (34%), religious beliefs (32%), sexual orientation (31%) and age (30%).

As a result, Getty and Canon have launched an inclusive photography campaign, called This is Australia, which features more than 5000 stock images that aim to represent a variety of ethnically and religiously diverse people.

With two-thirds of Australian marketing depicting white individuals and families, Getty Images creative research editor Petra O'Halloran says creative white-washing is "prevalent and socially harmful" and ignores the business benefits of connecting with a richly diverse Australia.

“This research does not surprise us as it echoes our keyword search data. Getty Images is calling for the industry to take stereotyping and misrepresentation more seriously and work more consciously to include representations of Australia's diverse population,” she says.

“Images have a profound impact on the way we view the society we live in. They allow us to capture and represent the full breadth of demographics, belief systems and ways of life. It's a brand's responsibility to act on this.”

Work from the collection has been seen in Thinkerbell's 2018 campaign for Vegemite, Tastes Like Australia, which features a Getty contributor's image of a female Muslim surfer.

“We are still at the beginning of our journey and we have a long way to go, but this is an important step. Change is continuous. At Getty Images we believe we have an obligation to listen to what Australians want, how they want to be portrayed, and address this accordingly,” O'Halloran says.

“Through our community of photographers, we plan on continuing to evolve this collection to ensure it continues to reach and represent all Australians and meet their needs.”

McKenna Uhde