While most marketers believe they’re doing a good job of avoiding gender stereotypes in ads, almost half of consumers feel like advertisers are still not getting it right, according to Kantar’s 2019 AdReaction: Getting Gender Right report.
A recent report conducted by Kantar, a WPP-owned research house, revealed 76 per cent of female marketers and 88 per cent of male marketers think they’re getting it right when it comes to gender portrayals in advertising.
However, almost half of consumers disagree.
The report aligns with the views of Australian consumers who believe women, in particular, are portrayed in outdated ways, with targeting still slanted towards negative gender stereotypes.
Kantar found 66 per cent of Aussies believe advertising conforms to gender stereotypes, contradicting 83 per cent of APAC markets who think their advertising dodges traditional typecasts.
Kantar Australia senior account manager of media and digital at Lizi Pritchard said: “The status quo is not optimal and many brands don’t meet [the] gender needs of today’s consumers as well as they could.
“Marketers need to acknowledge that while society has evolved, the industry lags in its responsiveness.”
Many Australian consumers view ‘traditional’ expressions of men and women in advertising as lagging behind modern society’s attitude towards gender, with 60 per cent of APAC consumers agreeing most ads in their countries reinforce rather than eliminate damaging gender-based stereotypes.
Interestingly, while globally men are 38 per cent more likely than women to be featured prominently in ads, advertising led by ‘authoritative’ female leads outperform other ads.
The report also reveals many ways brands can improve their connection with both sexes.
Pritchard said: “Humour in particular, works well across both genders, yet, despite being a core driver of creative success among males and females, marketers are missing an opportunity to engage females with humour.
“Just 22 per cent of ads featuring only women use comedy compared with half containing only males. Re-addressing a balance like this can open brands up to more engaging and a more positive experience for all viewers.”
The report suggests too many brands maintain archaic gender skews and are losing market share to brands who appeal to both women and men.
Commenting on the study, Kantar Millward Brown joint head of media & digital Hannah Walley said: “There’s some truly brilliant work going on, but brands aren’t connecting with women or men as meaningfully as they could be.
“As an industry, we need to get out of our bubble and think hard about how to make ads that challenge outdated and over-simplistic assumptions, to resonate with as wide an audience as possible.”
B&T is doing its own part to tackle gender diversity in the industry, with the upcoming Changing The Ratio event.
Find out more about the event here.