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The Drum

Ad of the Day: an actors’ casting call exposes an ad industry still plagued by stereotypes

UN Women and Unilever's Unstereotype Alliance first film explores the character stereotypes that actors are constantly called up to portray in adverts, including the happy housewife, the useless dad and the sexy dancer.

The spot sees actors arrive at a studio and given their mocked-up parts to play. The roles they’re handed are frustratingly two-dimensional, and are made even more so with direction cues such as “can you be a bit happier?” and – to the corner shop owner – “can you do it in an Indian accent?”

As the two-minute film cycles through audition tapes, the actors involve explain how their true feelings with regards to the minor variety of parts offered to them by the ad industry. One lady admits: “I never get to speak, and I want to be able to speak.”

The film ends with the group holding up signs of parts they’d like to see advertised: the female boxer, the funny girl, the male PA and the older hero.

‘The Problem is Not Seeing the Problem’ was created by MullenLowe London and produced by Snapper to remind the industry that it can still do better in removing sexist, racist and false stereotypes from its work.

Hel Hadfield, executive producer at Snapper, said: “We had a great cast and a lot of fun doing it and are very chuffed to have made it. It was a chance to be a force for good and it’s very nice to be able to do that.

“No one belongs in a box or sits in a certain category. We have a common humanity, let’s embrace it.”

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