MPA Awards Winners 2018

How we can improve gender equality in advertising

How we can improve gender equality in advertising

A new era of advertising is dawning as the Committees of Advertising Practice is developing a new rule to curb archaic and harmful gender stereotypes.

Achieving gender equality may be bigger than our industry, but there’s no doubting the enormous responsible on our shoulders. The effect advertising has on a consumer’s behaviour can be damaging if not done right.

At The Market Creative, we have made a pledge to put behaviour not gender first. Here are a few recommendations for improving gender equality in advertising:

Build women into the process, not just the results
Behind the camera. In the studio. On the board. Wherever decisions are made. Placing women in decision-making roles encourages more representative creative work, and can add new dimensions to outdated, gender-based stereotypes. Representation behind the scenes is just as important as representation in your campaigns.

Lead, don’t follow
Advertisers can gain advantages from not only following, but from driving social change. Remember consumers are aware of both our industry’s persuasive agenda and also of its potential social impact, and increasingly take this into account when evaluating ads.

Social research
Undertake comprehensive consumer research. This should not focus on products, brands, and advertising alone, but capture the social climate and motivations of the target audience.

Consider media

Brands need to tread carefully in certain media as people can think worse of a brand placed in potentially ‘toxic’ environments. Media owners and media agencies clearly have a part to play in delivering freedom of identity to society; ensure this is on your media partner’s radar.

A dollop of common sense
Brands should tread very carefully whenever showing women in stereotype moulds. The risk is that they may alienate a large part of their market - unless it’s done with a giant dose of irony and with the aim of subverting cliches.

Think beyond short-termism
“Femvertising” ad campaigns can generate great press, and may even cause real change in society. But is that enough to ensure real representation in the long run? Challenge creatives and designers to bring the same energy to everyday ads and accounts.

Download our free report Gender Equality in Advertising: influencing Consumer Behaviour for the Better. 

Article written by
Sue Benson, Managing Director, The Market Creative