Unruly launches new testing tool that lets advertisers know if their ads are sexist

Ricky Chanana (1).jpgGlobal video marketplace Unruly has today launched a new insight tool that tests to see whether an ad is sexist or not.

To mark International Women's Day (today, March 8), the company has created a stereotype analysis as part of its content testing solution, UnrulyEQ Max, which evaluates whether the ad's content reinforces harmful gender stereotypes of women and men. Examples include ads that objectify people's bodies or show certain occupations or roles being more suitable for a particular gender. Ads are scored using a traffic light system, with content deemed to be sexist given a red light.

The announcement comes at a time when advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is cracking down on sexist advertising following a report by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), its sister organisation, arguing for tougher regulation of gender stereotypes in ads.
Recent research suggests the ad industry is guilty of "forgetting about women", with ads twice as likely to feature male characters than female characters, and women 48% more likely to be shown in the kitchen (source: JWT New York and The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media).

The report, which analysed more than 2,000 films from Cannes Lions, revealed that men were 62% more likely to be shown as smart and one in three men was shown to have an occupation compared to one in four women. Research released by Unilever also found that only 3% of ads feature women in leadership or professional roles, and 1% show women as funny.

So it's hardly surprising that 44% of UK women say that advertising makes them think they're not good enough (UM London - 'Women in Ads'), while some women are switching off from advertising altogether, with recent research by the JWT London Innovation Group finding that nearly three-quarters of women over the age of 50 shun all forms of advertising.

Says Ricky Chanana (pictured above), managing director AUNZ, Unruly: "The ad industry could be argued to be failing women. Australia was one of the first developed countries to allow women to vote as far back as 1902.  A century has passed since this right was won in the UK and next year it will be the 100-year anniversary of the women's vote in the US, but in advertising we still have a long way to go.

"How can the ad industry hope to engage consumers when what it presents is not an accurate, authentic portrayal of gender roles in the 21st Century? Our new stereotype analysis will help advertisers unstereotype their video campaigns and create content that engages consumers."

Says Phil Townend, chief commercial officer APAC, Unruly: "The focus for International Women's Day 2018 is all about #PressingForProgress. It's about action and activism. We hope Unruly's stereotype analysis tool, which identifies male as well as female gender stereotypes, will provide an early warning system for 21st Century brands that want to move on from the outdated gender stereotypes that alienate their customers and threaten to undermine the reputation of their brand."

Says Michael Brown, head of insight at Universal McCann, who co-authored the 'Women In Ads' report: "Making ads that authentically represent society isn't just ethically the right thing to do - people expect it. Our research shows that 48% of UK women would be more likely to buy from brands that challenge stereotypes, while 64% of UK women feel there's no future for brands that chose to show outdated stereotypes in their campaigns.  
 
"Unruly's data-powered approach is an essential asset for advertisers, moving the auditing of ad creatives for sexist content and tone from hunch to objective fact."

Methodology
Ads are analysed to see whether they feature any of 13 different gender stereotypes identified in the ASA's 2017 report, 'Depictions, Perceptions and Harm'. Stereotypes include content that objectifies, sexualises or features stereotypical roles and occupations, such as women as homemakers and men as engineers or scientists. If any of these stereotypes appear in the ad, it's given an amber light by Unruly's traffic light system.

Ads are also examined using facial coding, verbatim and survey responses from both men and women. If the stereotypical aspects of the ad are causing negative responses from respondents, the ad is given a red in the traffic light system. Unruly is also introducing a survey question which asks respondents to score from 1-5 (5 being the most stereotypical) to what extent the ad's creative reinforces gender stereotypes. Unruly's stereotype analysis is offered on all UnrulyEQ Max reports at no additional charge to the advertiser. 

2 Comments

Lady face palm said:

Great

If having idiots in user groups, jumped up client servicers, social media managers and 'big data' wasn't enough to kill a good idea we've now got PC computers (see what i did there) to give us a kindergarten star or cross on our workbooks. PAH!

The overall push to a better, more equal and less objectifying etc world is a great thing. 110% behind. God knows we need help - but learn to use our hearts and heads.

Copy Desk said:

Most mums are women. And almost all male dominated roles are occupied by men. More women do yoga. More men play cricket. Part of connecting with an audience is being relatable. And part of being relatable is to show the world as it is. Obviously we also have a responsibility to show the world as it could be. But if we deliberately flip every stereotype for the sake of it, we lose relatability. I'm with Lady face palm. Hearts and heads. Not big dumb computer stuff.

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