Most marketers in Asia Pacific think they avoid gender stereotypes in ads, but consumers disagree

Many consumers see these traditional expressions of men and women in advertising as holding back progress.

Most marketers in the Asia Pacific believe that they are doing a good job of creating advertising that avoids gender stereotypes, but consumers disagree.

This is according to the 2019 AdReaction study by Kantar, which found 83% out of 450 global marketers claiming they avoid advertising that conforms to gender stereotypes, during its analysis of advertising creativity and media effectiveness of 30,000 ads.

However, consumers disagree, with 63% in the APAC region saying that advertising conforms to gender stereotypes. The study surveyed 40,000 consumers.

In addition, many consumers see these traditional expressions of men and women in advertising as holding back progress, with 60% in the APAC region agreeing that most ads in their country reinforce rather than help eradicate harmful gender-based stereotypes.

“We currently think we’re doing a good job good of speaking to consumers in a progressive way, however audiences are telling us that most of the ads they see are still stuck in the past,” said Irene Joshy, head of creative for North Asia, South East Asia and Pacific at Kantar’s Insight Division.

“Busting gender stereotypes doesn’t need to mean a brand has to take a drastically different direction, or specifically cater to only men or women. Instead, ads need to build out of consumer truths, with the right cultural nuances and tested carefully to ensure they connect with audiences. We shouldn’t assume anything.”

The study recommends that for creatives, media agencies and their clients to achieve more effective engagement across different gender groups, they need to “design to the edges” by catering to feminine and masculine needs within the same campaign idea and creative executions.

There should also be consistent copy testing which includes gender equality metrics to avoid the worst mistakes and learn how to optimise portrayals, as well as gender-balanced creative and media planning teams and processes to work on campaigns

Finally, they should walk the talk beyond the campaign as comprehensive progressiveness programs don’t stop at gender and get embedded far beyond the marketing department.

Read the full report here.

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