Are Your Clients’ Digital Ads Doing Enough to Break Stereotypes?

BY Kathy Crosett
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The digital ad space is definitely a place where consumers expect brands to take risks. Choozle recently asked consumers what they thought about gender stereotyping in ads and how they responded when they saw these ads. You may want to share the findings with your clients.

Advertisers have long used gender stereotyping in ads to sell more products. For example, decades of ads aimed at selling laundry detergent featured women, the assumed purchasers and users of these products. So, how would an ad featuring a male extolling the virtues of laundry detergent be received? Of the 500 men and women, split evenly by gender, in the Choozle survey, 44% say they would not be impacted by the ad. However, up to 62% of women would think twice about seeing such an ad.

What exactly catches consumers' eyes and makes them think an ad is targeting women, for example? Wording is a key feature. A product which promises to “make your hair stronger and more resilient” is seen as targeting women, in the eyes of about 57% of the surveyed adults, a population that included folks who were at least 18 years old.  Choozle researchers also reported that 60% of survey participants believe that specific colors and fonts in ads definitely promote gender stereotypes. While Choozle didn't elaborate on those colors and fonts, we might imagine that ads with large black fronts and images with rugged edges could be perceived as being more male-​oriented in our culture.

Does the stereotyping, especially in the digital space, put people off? Not necessarily, though 37% of folks believe the ad industry, which encompasses marketers and agencies, should try to break stereotypes. When marketers change things up and take risks, over 30% of consumers say they like the brand even more than previously. And, 25% will buy something from the company that is breaking the mold.

If your clients are looking for a way to show off their bold spirit this holiday season, encourage them to produce ads which challenge stereotypes.