The British regulatory body Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) made headlines around the world, by announcing its plans to take “a tougher line” on “ads that mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes,” in order to better serve the public. The ASA does not have the power to outright ban offending ads as it primarily investigates consumer complaints, but it can publicly recommend that certain campaigns be pulled. Most U.K. media companies follow its guidelines.
Debates over gender stereotypes are nothing new in the American ad industry, but R/GA SVP of Strategy and Partnerships Jessica Greenwood believes that this sort of state-sanctioned smackdown on sexist spots will never happen in the United States.
Agencies and brands “need to be more intentional with our creative, casting and storytelling decisions,” said Lynn Power, CEO at JWT in New York. “[That will] go some way to change our collective unconscious bias.”
At Cannes Lions in June, JWT unveiled research which found that men appear in ads four times more often than women, and Unilever announced that it had partnered with UN Women to get stereotypes out of its advertising.
Kristina Monllos. Why the US Ad Industry Will Never Regulate Gender Stereotypes. Adweek.
Kristina Monllos. Men Appear in Ads 4 Time More Than Women, According to Research Revealed at Cannes. Adweek.
Aline Santos. Gender is changing. So must advertising. Cannes Lions.