New Zealand Marketing
Advertising body bias
Two in three women in New Zealand and Australia are still encountering bias in the advertising and media industry, with the top issues relating to body shape and size.
The above findings are reported in research for istock’s creative insights platform Visual GPS, and indicate that ANZ women are experiencing bias due to being perceived to be too heavy (55 percent), too curvy (20 percent), too skinny (19 percent) and too shapeless (seven percent).
Although stereotypes are often intrinsically linked to real-world discrimination, which women undoubtedly experience, the latest Visual GPS research also reveals that there has been a slight shift in how biases are perceived because of recent efforts by brands and companies to feature more diverse body shapes in their advertising campaigns. Visual GPS research found that there has been a seven percent drop in people experiencing any form of body bias in 2021, when compared to 2020 figures.
“Although we have seen a move in the right direction when it comes to gender representation, despite best efforts there’s still work to be done to break the bias in visual storytelling,” says Dr Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights at istock. “Our Visual GPS research demonstrates that the images and videos businesses choose in their visual storytelling matters, because it directly affects the way female consumers perceive and engage with your business.
“There’s more we can do to change the perception of heavier and curvier women,” she continues. “Choosing images and videos that are diverse in their depiction of women connects with a wider audience and provides an opportunity to reinforce your commitment to potential consumers.” Rebecca’s top tips for businesses seeking to select inclusive visuals are:
1. Represent larger body types in an authentic way. Customers are drawn to images of people with a range of body types that have typically been under-represented. When choosing imagery, videos and illustrations for your marketing campaigns, consider highlighting heavier and curvier women, especially because women are shown in advertising twice as much as men.
2. Be body positive. Understanding audiences, particularly heavier and curvier women who are under-represented in visual storytelling, shows that you see them and understand what makes them unique. This also gives you the chance to showcase how your brand can meet their specific needs.
3. Include women from all backgrounds. The ways in which women are portrayed in popular visuals and advertising can often perpetuate a range of stereotypes, not just those related to body image.