Gender Gap Lives On In Adland Stereotypes

The latest research from Kantar shows that there truly is a gender gap in advertising and it can be found in how marketers think they are doing on avoiding stereotypes compared to how the public rates their progress.

There has been widespread agreement among the major advertisers that they need to ditch the gender-based stereotypes we have all grown up with. The move has been welcomed in marketing, and now 77% of female and 88% of male marketers tell Kantar they think they are doing well.

At this rate, you'd expect to see the man of the house doing the hoovering while the female is pictured selecting the financial services products that will keep the family protected against illness and prepare the couple for retirement.

You never know -- dad could even turn out not to be a fool who can't understand the basics of looking after the kids and mum might be released from worrying about room odours to get to work on some home alterations.

Trouble is, this isn't happening and the public has noticed -- nearly half don't think advertisers are getting it right, although the marketers themselves think they are pretty much there. 

Kantar has another interesting figure. Nearly every UK ad for laundry products at 99%, and 70% of toiletries, are aimed at women. However, 93% of women and 89% of men tell the researchers they are the main buyer of these products.

In other words, the buying is at least shared. There is no longer one half of a couple that is solely responsible for buying detergent and soap for the bathroom. 

Another interesting finding of the research is that Brits love humour in ads and so half of ads that feature only men rely on comedy to get a message across. When the cast is all female, that proportion is slashed to just a quarter of ads attempting to make the viewer laugh.

Clearly, the old stereotype that men are a great laugh while women are more serious and wondering how to make their towels smell fresher is still very much alive and well. 

Just watching ads on television, one can tell that progress is being made. Household chores are not exclusively carried out by female characters, and sometimes dad is not portrayed as a hapless idiot who needs mum to show him how to get a task done. 

However, the research from Kantar should start raising alarm bells in adland about how far marketers think they have come in contrast to how the public rates their efforts. 

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