US Insights

Are Marketers Getting Gender Wrong?

Aaron Peterson

Senior Director - Insights Division

Brands 02.07.2019 / 10:00


Most marketers think they are avoiding stereotypes, however female marketers are more wary than their male colleagues.

Our understanding and acceptance of gender is evolving. What once was considered in more binary terms is now increasingly being discussed as a spectrum. And yet, marketers are struggling the prevent themselves from reinforcing gendered stereotypes in their messaging.

Our AdReaction: Getting Gender Right report is designed to accompany marketers on their gender progress journey. It is based on the most comprehensive global analysis Kantar has ever undertaken to assess how women and men are portrayed in ads, and how they respond differently to marketing. Analysis covers consumer responses to tens of thousands of brands, ads and campaigns, as well as a global survey of marketers, all delivering fresh new insights into the role of gender in brand strategy, creative response and media targeting. These insights are complemented by best practice examples and case studies.

In this series, we'll cover each of the six areas of the report. First up: Getting Gender Wrong.

Generally, most marketers think they are avoiding stereotypes, however female marketers are more wary than their male colleagues, who show much higher confidence, even more so in the US than globally.


Meanwhile, consumers on the other side of scale think that marketers are ‘getting it wrong’. According to Kantar Consulting U.S. Yankelovich MONITOR (2015), 76% of female consumers and 71% of male consumers believe that the way they are portrayed in advertising is completely out of touch. 

Their concerns are further validated by research from JWT/Geena Davis Institute. In Unpacking Gender Bias in Advertising, an analysis of 2,000 Cannes Lions films from 2006 to 2016, researchers found that men speak seven times the amount women do in ads, men get four times more screen time than women and men are 62% more likely to be shown as ‘smart’. Considering that this was found among what is considered 'best-of-the-best' in advertising, it raises serious questions about how poorly average, everyday advertising handles gender.

So, what are marketers getting wrong? Not being progressive means reinforcing rather than helping to eradicate harmful gender-based stereotypes. High profile initiatives such as Unstereotype Alliance and the Gender Equality Measure are attempting to do just that, but all marketers should ask themselves: has our approach to gender evolved along with the world around us?

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

To sign up for one of our webinar presentations of the study, click here.

Source: Kantar

Editor's Notes

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