Brand Purpose Work & Wellbeing

Mars increases female representation in ads from 34% to 45% in just 4 years

By John Glenday | Reporter

June 20, 2022 | 3 min read

Mars has inched closer than ever toward gender equality in its advertising after notching up 45% female characters across all advertising last year.

The near-parity milestone comes as the confectionery, food and pet care provider harnesses the marketing budget behind popular brands such as Pedigree, M&M’s and Snickers to increase representation.

Steady progress has been made since the business partnered with the Geena Davis Institute on gender in the media in 2018 – when female representation stood at just 34%.


Mars makes representation headway with 45% female characters in its ads

Andrew Clarke, global president of Mars Wrigley, said: “As a global advertiser, we know marketing has the power to influence how people see themselves and others. I believe we can make a massive impact on representation across the whole industry.”

Michele Oliver, global vice-president, brand and purpose at Mars, added: “We are pleased with the progress that has come from rigorously ensuring we have diversity not just in front of the camera but behind the camera, in the agencies and our teams.”

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Beyond the headline gender split, Mars has made progress in several related areas, including erasing gender differences in the portrayals of work – a far cry from 2018 when men were over twice as likely as women (26% to 11%) to be depicted with an occupation.

Today female characters are as likely to be in a leadership role as their male counterparts. In 2018 22% of male characters were shown as leaders v 17% of female characters.

Despite such strides, Mars concedes it still has work to do before reaching full equality, with female characters accounting for only 43% of speaking time.

Mars sits on the executive committee of the UN Women’s Unsterotype Alliance to remove gender bias and negative stereotypes from advertising.

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