Your clients may think that their previous ad campaigns have been inclusive, but have they really been? The political climate of 2020 was shaky. So, consumers are paying attention to the people that companies select to represent their brands in ads. Representing women in ads appropriately is one area under particular scrutiny. A collaborative study conducted by SeeHer and dentsu points out that companies need to, “accurately portray all women and girls in marketing, advertising, media and entertainment so they see themselves as they truly are in all their potential.”
Obviously (I hope), your clients’ ads aren’t outwardly atrocious like the notoriously sexist ads of the 1950s and 60s. Remind your client that it makes good business sense to produce ads showing women of all races and ethnicities.
Representing Women in Advertising
According to SeeHer and dentsu, gender is a very important issue to Hispanic and Latinx (90%), Black (82%) and white (68%) women. All of these women place significant responsibility on brands to help improve gender equality:
- Hispanic and Latinx Women: 52%
- White Women: 45%
- Black Women: 41%
There are a few ways brands can live up to the advertising expectations women have set for them.
Housewife No More
More often than not, American women feel as if they aren’t being represented well. In advertisements and media in general, women are shown as attractive instead of accomplished and dainty instead of strong. There are also more ads featuring women as caretakers instead of leaders, or in more submissive roles in general rather than assertive. 82% of Black, 75% of white, and 69% of Hispanic and Latinx women feel they are represented falsely in ads.
Representing women accurately in advertisements means including them in ads outside of the stereotypical housewife product ads. Between 45% and 50% of all women want brands to show ads featuring women in leadership positions and 31% to 36% would like to see ads that show women excelling in areas that are stereotypically male dominated, such as sports.
An advertising focus on a narrow definition of beauty is particularly offensive to women who want to be celebrated for their accomplishments. 73% of Hispanic and Latinx, 72% of white, and 67% of Black women share this opinion. Many women are also disappointed when they see that women’s faces and bodies featured in ads have been retouched. Women want brands to show their models and actors as their natural, beautiful selves.
There’s no denying that much of media portrayal is still skewed toward straight, white consumers. Hispanic and Latinx women, in particular, would like to see more diversity from brands representing women of a variety of sexual orientations in ads.
Representing Women Going Forward
The current climate gives advertisers much to consider when planning their next ad campaign that includes representing women, no matter what types of media they plan on using. To let your clients know which ad media types their target audiences interact the most with/take action because of, check out their audience profiles on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel.