Call for end to ads where ‘men are the boss and women bossy’

Irish Independent - Business Week - - APPOINTMENTS -

MARKETERS and agen­cies need to wake up and tackle the is­sue of gen­der stereo­typ­ing in ad­ver­tis­ing which is low­er­ing brand eq­uity. Speak­ing to Mar­ket­ing In­sti­tute mem­bers, Grainne Wafer, global brand di­rec­tor for Bai­leys at Di­a­geo, said there was a need for brand own­ers to create ur­gency around change in gen­der stereo­typ­ing in ads.

“There’s still an un­con­scious gen­der bias and it’s brought to the work we create,” Wafer said. “We all have it,” she added.

It’s not sur­pris­ing that brand own­ers de­flect to stereo­types but that’s dam­ag­ing be­cause it doesn’t tell the full story. As the bias is un­con­scious, ad­ver­tis­ers and agen­cies need to adopt a more dis­ci­plined ap­proach, Wafer added.

Men still tend to be cast in ‘ex­pert’ roles in ads – the man in the white coat, the bar­tender. Too of­ten men are be­ing the boss, while women are be­ing bossy.

The data shows that fe­male con­sumers are say­ing enough is enough, with 66pc put off by stereo­typ­ing in ads and 85 ask­ing for ‘real women’ to fea­ture.

In a per­mis­sion-free, more in­clu­sive so­ci­ety, women don’t need a brand to “shine”. The

Bri­tish drinks gi­ant woke up to the need to change from its old Bai­leys ads and show the brand in a more mod­ern con­text. Af­ter strong growth for the Ir­ish whiskey and cream-based liqueur, sales plum­meted in 2009.

The brand ex­pe­ri­enced a decade of long-term de­cline – and with drinks, es­pe­cially a treat like Bai­leys – out of mind means out of reper­toire.

With the econ­omy fail­ing and peo­ple’s gen­der at­ti­tudes changed, Bai­leys was repo­si­tioned, while still hold­ing to the maxim that

Time for ac­tion:

Grainne Wafer, global brand di­rec­tor for Bai­leys at Di­a­geo, said brands need to ac­cel­er­ate the pace of change to com­bat gen­der stereo­typ­ing in ad­verts most con­sumers drank it be­cause it al­lows them to in­dulge in a grown-up treat – like lux­ury ice cream – which speaks to spe­cial oc­ca­sions.

Know­ing they were out of kil­ter with the zeit­geist, new Bai­leys ads were rolled out es­pous­ing the mes­sages ‘Be a woman for a cause, not for ap­peal’ and ‘Don’t Mind If I Bai­leys’.

In terms of the work­place, Di­a­geo ranked 11 in the 2011 Reuter In­dex of in­ter­na­tional cor­po­rate per­for­mance and gen­der di­ver­sity. This year, they climbed to num­ber four.

⬤ ESB/Elec­tric Ire­land is ex­pected to make a de­ci­sion on its re­view on its four mar­ket­ing ser­vices – me­dia buy­ing, cre­ative ad­ver­tis­ing, dig­i­tal and brand­ing – soon.

A team led by head of mar­ket­ing Lisa Browne will de­cide on which agen­cies win out.

Core’s Star­com cur­rently han­dles me­dia buy­ing and Om­ni­com’s TBWA\Dublin looks af­ter cre­ative as­sign­ments.

VHI’s me­dia-buy­ing re­view was also still on­go­ing at the time of press, with Spark Foundry, Wolf­gang Dig­i­tal and the in­cum­bent PHD pitch­ing to the health­care com­pany’s mar­ket­ing boss Adam Ba­con.

⬤ Ge­n­e­sis man­ag­ing part­ner Gary Joyce has joined the board of the Ir­ish Na­tional Opera. She has been an ex­ec­u­tive and non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor down the years, in­clud­ing the Gal­way In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val and Dublin Bus. She was deputy chair­woman of Tusla, the child and fam­ily agency, for over four years and chaired ACC Bank for three years. A sea­soned Fine Gael ac­tivist, Joyce co-founded and ran the Di­men­sion mar­ket­ing ser­vices agency with Roddy Rowan in 1985, un­til it was bought out by McCon­nells Ad­ver­tis­ing in 1994.

⬤ Heart­en­ing to see that the power of in­flu­encers is wan­ing. Con­sumers ap­pear to be cop­ping on to the fact that both celebs and peo­ple fa­mous for be­ing fa­mous may not be all that in­formed when it comes to rec­om­mend­ing brands. In in­ter­views with 500 con­sumers, dig­i­tal agency Zoo found that in­flu­encer trust over­all dropped by 14pc, with 71pc say­ing they don’t trust an in­flu­encer who’s paid to en­dorse a brand – down from 57pc last year.

⬤ And fi­nally... Síne Friel, a com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cial in the Ir­ish Na­tional Teach­ers Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Into) and a for­mer pri­mary school teacher, has been voted the top stu­dent in the Pub­lic Re­la­tions In­sti­tute’s an­nual diploma course. The tro­phy is named af­ter the late Gla­dys MacNevin, who, as in­sti­tute sec­re­tary, did Tro­jan work in de­vel­op­ing the PRII’s ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes.

Michael Cullen is edi­tor of Mar­ket­ing.ie; [email protected]­ket­ing.ie

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