US Insights

Risk and Reward: Getting Gender Response Right

Kate Ginsburg

VP, Product Marketing & Innovation

Brands 03.06.2019 / 12:00


Marketers need to work hard to get gender response right.

AdReaction: Getting Gender Right has uncovered key findings about avoiding gender stereotypes and applying progressive targeting strategies in marketing plans. In chapter four, we explore how marketers need to work hard Getting Gender Response Right.

Women and men are more alike than they are different. Recent neuroscience research suggest there is no such thing as a male brain or a female brain – as little as 8% of the brain can differ. Given this finding, it is no surprise that Link™ ad testing data shows that when advertising responses are reviewed by gender, key variables like enjoyment, involvement and branding were nearly identical. In the US, there was very little overall difference across platforms in response to ad creative between men and women.


A good ad is generally a good ad – regardless who sees it. However, there can be differences in the way different gender groups enjoy the same ad. In this example of an ad for Adidas, female athletes were included with male athletes, even though the thematic approach of the ad was typically masculine. Both men and women appreciated the ad, however, men were more surprised by the female characters, while women enjoyed the scenes more.


Before a brand can devise an effective gender marketing strategy to reduce the risk of not getting it right, marketers must be clear where consumers view their brand’s gender progress and aspirations. A large gap between a brand’s position on a gender progress spectrum and where they aspire to be requires more concerted marketing efforts to close the distance. Brands that make the mistake of attempting to hop too many spots on the gender spectrum too quickly typically receive backlash and criticism for inauthenticity.

Marketers must be socio-cultural sensitive and aware that what might work in one market, may not work in another. Brands that explicitly tackle gender spectrum issues must do so authentically or are at risk of audiences interpreting the move as exploitation to create brand engagement versus pushing the cultural environment forward. Brands can also be equally effective by taking a “gender neutral” stance in their campaigns by catering to both masculine and feminine needs without making an overt point of gender.

For more information and to check out the full study, click here.

To listen to a presentation of the study, click here.

Source: Kantar

Editor's Notes

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