Media is a false mirror. It’s false because it doesn’t show us who we are. It shows us who we are programmed to be.
Media makers have a professional obligation to widen the lens. Advertisers often ask for people of color in their ads to showcase their awareness and sensitivity and to appeal to the widest possible audience. But do they also ask an overweight person, an older person, a poor person, or a trangender person to appear in their ads?
Inclusion is one big step in the right direction. Another critical consideration is how people are portrayed in ads. Are women in ads empowered creators of their destiny or mere objects of someone’s affection?
Every day in Marcom, it’s up to the brand, the agency team, and the production team to successfully answer these fundamental questions.
An Alliance for Gender Positivity
SeeHer, the Association of National Advertisers’ movement for gender equality in advertising and media, announced a new partnership with the Screen Actors Guild — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. As part of the 2019 Commercials Contracts negotiations, the Joint Policy Committee (the ad industry’s collective bargaining team) and SAG-AFTRA recognized the importance of gender equality in advertising and agreed to work cooperatively to promote the SeeHer movement.
SeeHer supports authentic female character development in a variety of ways, such as the #WriteHerRight tip sheet, which facilitates conversation about gender equality by bringing effective, story-building language and tools into the writers’ rooms. This initiative is expanding to include a deeper emphasis on intersectionality and increase the targeted efforts to address the unique challenges that marginalized women and girls face in media portrayals.
As part of the partnership, SAG-AFTRA and SeeHer will co-host Salon Days in New York and Los Angeles, and a monthly SAG-AFTRA SeeHer Day, where marketers and content creators will come together around a theme or focused question related to gender equality in media to share insights and develop materials that illuminate the power of strong female characters.
“This partnership will help accelerate the pace of progress for our mission to have equal, accurate and realistic portrayals of women and girls in media,” said Marc Pritchard, SeeHer co-chair and chief brand officer, P&G. “The movement for gender equality in content requires a change in the entire media ecosystem to make it happen, including marketers working in concert with all of the other key players who create, produce and distribute content.”
On the SeeHer website, you can view several of the spots that “celebrate gender equality.”
SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other entertainment and media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. A proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO, SAG-AFTRA has national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide representing members working together to secure the strongest protections for entertainment and media artists into the 21st century and beyond.
The SeeHer movement is the leading global movement for gender equality in media. Led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), SeeHer is a collective of marketers committed to creating and supporting content that portrays women and girls as they really are. To help marketers benchmark success, ANA’s SeeHer developed Gender Equality Measure, the first research methodology that quantifies gender bias in ads and programming. GEM shows that content that portrays females accurately dramatically increases purchase intent and brand reputation, increasing return on investment (ROI) by as much as 30%.
About The ANA
The Association of National Advertisers provides leadership that advances marketing excellence and shapes the future of the industry. The ANA’s membership includes more than 1,850 companies and organizations with 20,000 brands that engage almost 100,000 industry professionals and collectively spend or support more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually. The membership is comprised of more than 1,100 client-side marketers and more than 750 marketing solutions provider members, which include leading marketing data science and technology suppliers, ad agencies, law firms, consultants, and vendors.