1. Comment
July 20, 2017

A tougher line on gender stereotypes in UK advertising

The announcement that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is to develop and enforce new standards for advertising in the UK has come in the wake of the publication of a report produced by GfK entitled Depictions, Perceptions & Harm. One area highlighted as a key concern is the use of gender stereotypical roles in advertising.

By GlobalData Consumer

The announcement that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is to develop and enforce new standards for advertising in the UK has come in the wake of the publication of a report produced by GfK entitled Depictions, Perceptions & Harm. One area highlighted as a key concern is the use of gender stereotypical roles in advertising.

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Specifically the ASA will look to continue to ban ads for objectifying or inappropriately sexualising people, but plans to take this further by taking a “tougher line” on the depiction of stereotypes that could potentially cause harm – for example by mocking people for not conforming to a gender stereotype by suggesting that an activity was inappropriate for boys because it was traditionally associated with girls.

While the ASA says it won’t look to ban all forms of gender stereotypical representation, it is going to be problematic for advertisers to know where to draw the line. For example the ASA says a scenario such as family members creating a mess for which the female has the sole responsibility for cleaning up would be outlawed. Immediately a number of iconic adverts would never have seen the light of day – Fairy Liquid (only women washing up) and the Oxo adverts with the mother cooking meals for her family over the years – being perhaps the two most obvious examples, but the list could go on; most washing powder adverts, any vacuum cleaner, and Flash liquid, which all restrict women to household cleaning tasks whilst men still tend to be the only family members able to clean cars, mow the lawn etc.

The report’s lead author Ella Smilie believes that these portrayals limit how people see themselves, how others see them, and limit the life decisions they make.

There will almost certainly be some backlash from the industry – but perhaps for those with their eye on the ball it could actually represent a potential opportunity. One such area may be the infant formula industry, where currently all adverts (for follow-on milk) depict happy smiling babies and their happy smiling mothers, with very little to differentiate them. Who could fail to remember the first manufacturer who decides to include the mother’s partner taking their turn feeding the baby to let the exhausted mother get some much needed rest?

Free Whitepaper
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What is the impact of historically high inflation on the UK consumer landscape?

The average UK consumer is experiencing a severe cost-of living crisis as inflation surges to a forty-year high and the price of goods continues to rise. This shock is the result of the sharply increasing costs of commodities, energy, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and is threatening FMCG manufacturers, retailers, and foodservice operators’ ability to survive and grow. Inflation will have a profound effect on many consumer-facing industries in 2022 and beyond. Consult GlobalData’s new whitepaper, Inflation in the UK: The Impact of Historically High Inflation on the UK Consumer Landscape, to better understand shifts in consumer behavior and their impact on spending patterns, as well as the implications for UK businesses. This whitepaper covers:  
  • Why has global inflation returned with a vengeance?
  • What is the current inflation situation in the UK?
  • What impact is inflation having on UK retail sales?
  • What tactics are businesses relying on to tackle the effects of high inflation?
  • How are consumers changing their behaviors to cope with the higher cost of living?
  • Which industry sectors are most vulnerable to reduced consumer demand?
  • How is the government responding to high inflation?
  • How long will high inflation last in the UK?
  • How can your company survive and thrive in a high inflation environment?
Enter your details here to receive your free whitepaper and ready your business for these increasingly uncertain times.
by GD50 Custom
Enter your details here to receive your free Whitepaper.