On International Women`s Day the advertising market was falling over itself to celebrate advertising with explicit feminist messages, like Marketing`s 10 inspiring ads celebrating women. Indeed, no progressive human might deny that it’s fantastic to see femvertising trending.
Regretfully though, much admired campaigns like Sport England's "this woman can", Dove's "real beauty" and Always "like a girl" are just disruptive because they tip the standard. A standard of women who can't, beauty that isn't really real and where being like a lady is a tacit insult. We`re still having a hard time to bake in more contemporary portrayals of women across the marketing market.
Aside from the occasional projects that clearly take on the problem, our advertising represents women in much the same method as the Mad Men era did. Women over 30 solely characterized as nurturers? Women as decorative things?
It lags behind TELEVISION programming, which now features strong woman leads, authentic beauty and women that make actual jokes as requirement. If it works for Netflix s Orange is the New Black, maybe it could work for advertising?
As an industry, we need to alter. Cannot relate to an audience that drives 70 to 80 percent of all consumer acquiring isn`t just a feminist issue, it`s bad for company.
Altering these representations is hard. It just feels kind of regular to position a woman in a submissive pose not eyeing the cam. Celebrating femvertising and employing more women in creative departments are a charming start, but this won’t instantly alter the marketing we produce.
Possibly it’s time for marketing to establish its own equivalent of the film industry's Bechdel test, where points are scored when two women talk to each other about something aside from a man? In the meantime, here’s my three-point plan to improve our portrayals of women:
1. Technique female beauty as you would male beauty.
Welcome authentic, non-stereotypical beauty, flaws and peculiarities. A little less plastic is a bit more Zoella. Our audience is crying out for it.
2. Think about women for authority roles.
That authoritative voiceover shouldn`t automatically be a male. That employer role shouldn`t instantly be a chap. The protagonist shouldn`t automatically be a guy.
3. Let women be amusing.
The fastest brief cut to recognizing with women is to tap into female humor. If it makes women laugh, it means they`re identifying.