IPSOS: Over 60% of Consumers Want Less Gender Stereotyping in Advertising


Are your clients’ ads hitting home with their target audience? The practice of using impossibly thin models to show off the latest styles is not ringing true with most consumers who see ads. And, in this increasingly multicultural world, marketers who fail to reflect population changes could find themselves falling out of favor with shoppers.

Ipsos recently polled consumers worldwide about their takeaways from advertising they see. The survey population included about 1,000 U.S. adults. The good news is that consumers believe marketers are moving in the right direction with their advertising. A big majority, 73%, say they see a wider range of consumers in today’s ads. As a result, people are buying products from marketers they approve of. At least 38% of consumers have been “inspired” by an ad in the past year.

Consumers say marketers need to go a lot further with changes to advertising. Specifically, shoppers believe:

  • Advertising doesn’t reflect the world around them: 72%
  • Ads should portray their friends, family, community and acquaintance more accurately: 60%

Consumers are particularly concerned with the influence advertising has over how consumers see themselves and society. At least 63% worry that ads filled with traditional and stereotypical gender roles for males and females hold sway over how young people think about their role in society.

Over half of consumers still feel that advertising negatively pressures females. Younger women are likely to have lower self-​esteem when they believe their bodies are no match for what’s depicted as ideal in ad campaigns. In fact, 38% of consumers say they’re ashamed of their bodies after viewing some kinds of advertising.

This area is tricky for your clients to navigate. Of course, they want to generate an emotional response by connecting with consumer aspirations in their ad campaigns. But, if they emphasize the wrong details in an ad, such as too many men or women acting in traditional roles, or employee very thin attractive models and actors, they risk offending their target audience.

Remind your clients to review their ad campaigns through a lens that focuses on today’s consumers. To help them refine campaigns that target a specific audience, check out the personal goals section of any profile in the AudienceSCAN reports available from AdMall at SalesFuel.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.