Category Archives: fashion

ASA Will Introduce Guidelines for 2018 on Gender Stereotyping in Advertising

The Advertising Standards Authority has reviewed its approach to ads that feature stereotypical gender roles, following the publication of an investigation into gender stereotyping in advertising; the Depictions, Perceptions and Harm report. The report claims that gender stereotyping in advertising causes harm towards individuals, the economy and society.

In 2015, the infamous “Beach Body Ready” advert sparked concerns for the sexualisation and objectification of women in advertising, creating a conversation with ASA about how women are portrayed as desirable based on their bodies:

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ASA conducted a review following the complaints, but now the regulators are receiving complaints about ads that feature sexist stereotypes or mock people who don’t follow traditional roles. The new standards are only guidelines and are not intended to ban all forms of gender stereotypes, e.g. there will not be a ban on ads showing a woman cleaning or a man doing DIY tasks. However, subject to context and content considerations, the evidence suggests the following types of depictions are likely to be problematic:

  • An ad which depicts family members creating a mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up
  • An ad that suggests a specific activity is inappropriate for boys because it is stereotypically associated with girls, or vice-versa
  • An ad that features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks

“CAP will report publically on its progress before the end of 2017 and commits, as always, to delivering training and advice on the new standards in good time before they come into force in 2018.”
So, the ‘guidelines’ suggest that agencies, brands and companies should consider whether the stereotypes shown in their campaigns would “reinforce assumptions that adversely limit how people see themselves and how others see them”. Here is a list of what should be avoided:

  • Roles: Occupations or positions usually associated with a specific gender.
  • Characteristics: Attributes or behaviours associated with a specific gender.
  • Mocking people for not conforming to stereotype: Making fun of someone for behaving or looking in a non-stereotypical way.
  • Sexualisation: Portraying individuals in a highly sexualised manner.
  • Objectification: Depicting someone in a way that focuses on their body or body parts.
  • Body Image: Depicting an unhealthy body image.

Ads suggesting specific activities were suitable only for boys or girls are problematic and something ASA advises against. This is a topic I investigated at university for my gender project and for my dissertation exploring masculinity in modern advertising. It’s quite incredible (and worrying) to to dissect the vast range of gendered stereotypes advertising still depicts. There is an enormous list of adverts that have been criticised for depicting masculinity and femininity stereotypically, and here are just a few examples:

Aptamil depicting gendered roles for boys and girls

KFC suggesting anxiety/mental health isn’t manly (the ad has been taken down – sorry for the poor quality!)

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GAP portraying only boys as academics

Whilst a lot of people will claim that these guidelines are “over-sensitive” and “PC”,  the mocking of women and men and the reinforcement of stereotyped views of gender roles are issues that have gained considerable public interest, with the facts to support the claims:

The move follows a major research project from JWT (New York) and The Geena Davies Institute in the Media which analysed 2,000 ads and found that women in advertising are “humourless, mute and in the kitchen’. According to the research, women are 48% more likely to be shown in the kitchen.

JWT’s recent Women’s Index surveyed 9,000 women and found that 85% of them felt advertising and film needed to “catch up with the real world”. Additionally, since concerns were raised about gender portrayal in advertising, brands have taken a conscious decision to change the way men and women are depicted. Unilever recently teamed up with Mars, Facebook, and WPP to form the Unstereotype Alliance – a group dedicated to purging gender bias from ads – followed by an ‘Unstereotype’ pledge. Following this, they created Dove and Lynx ads which aimed to smash traditional gender roles, and consequently saw a 24% increase in consumer ratings.
Lynx ‘Find Your Magic’ is actually one of my favourite male brand ads:

In a time where we need feminism, diverse masculinity and gender diversity more than ever, I think this is a wonderful idea. The fact that they are guidelines rather than rules also helps show people that based off research, this sets a standard that we should all (not just creatives) adhere to when it comes to gender. Sort of like a moral code.
It’s hard to believe that 40+ years after the Sex Discrimination Act we are still seeing gender discrimination on our screens.
Often, I wonder if people are becoming desensitized to feminism because a large majority of people actually believe that women have equal rights just because we won the right to vote or can become a CEO. When it reality, we are far from gender equality – salaries aren’t the same, women and discriminated against and girls are still sexualised.

So if you think this is “over-sensitive”, you need to EDUCATE YO’SELF!

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Nike | Go Lighter, Go Longer: ManvsMachine

I’ve been a huge fan of design and motion studio ManvsMachine for years, and their latest award winning project for Nike goes to show that they’ve undoubtedly still got it! Winning the only UK design studio gold at Cannes Lions 2017, they explored the created a “metaphorical exploration of air and the negative space it occupies”.
The campaign was created for the new Nike Air Max, exploring negative space with a colour scheme I’ve totally fallen in love with.

The designs work flawlessly as both a motion piece (above) and as 2D images (below). The campaign has been executed across numerous mediums including social media, DOOH, billboards and product packaging. I am obsessed.

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California: Designing Freedom | The Design Museum

If you haven’t been to the new building for the Design Museum which recently relocated to Kensington, you are missing out. The architecture and gift shop alone are worth a visit!
The exhibition “California” caught my eye based on the parts that explore ‘freedom’. The exhibition explores more than just the expression of human rights freedom:

California: Designing Freedom explores how the ideals of the 1960s counterculture morphed into the tech culture of Silicon Valley, and how ‘Designed in California’ became a global phenomenon.

The central premise is that California has pioneered tools of personal liberation, from LSD to surfboards and iPhones. This ambitious survey brings together political posters and portable devices, but also looks beyond hardware to explore how user interface designers in the San Francisco Bay Area are shaping some of our most common daily experiences. By turns empowering, addictive and troubling, Californian products have affected our lives to such an extent that in some ways we are all now Californians.

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Aside from the array of Apple inventions and iconic technological advances that California has blessed the world with, the most interesting part of the exhibition for me was “Say What You Want”. Described as “tools of self expression and rebellion”, this part of the exhibition showcased artefacts that were created to highlight racism, sexism and homophobia:

P.S. sorry for the awful photo quality! Taken on my phone.

It was incredible being able to be so close to relics that were created to protest against the biggest human rights movements in the world. They even displayed newspaper articles from the past, and contemporary pieces created against Trump’s America.
I cannot recommend this show enough. It has to be one of my (if not THE) all time favourite exhibitions.

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Spotlight: Daniel Arsham

Contemporary artist Daniel Arsham has created some fantastic and very popular work, but one project has caught my eye. ‘Future Relics’ features a series of fossilised contemporary items such as cameras, Walkmans, phones, furniture and clothing. Based on Arsham’s theory that mundane objects will soon become completely obsolete, he created “future versions” of objects, cast in white ash and other materials like glacial rock dust, ground volcanic glass, hydrostone, rose quartz, and steel. To create the crystallised objects, Arsham casts a mould of the object; crushed calcite is then pressed into the moulds with a binding agent, and if wax is added to the mould in certain areas, it causes those parts to not bind. The effect is amazing…

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Things we associate with the present, as if they were crystallised over millennia.

Arsham created over 3000 pieces for exhibitions including ‘The Future is Always Now’ and ‘Remember the Future’ alongside a film series, focusing on a world many years down the line, in which a major and transformative ecological shift has occurred.
Arsham collected a tone of objects for this project, mainly from eBay! He has said that he started to think of eBay as a “bizarre Library of Alexandria”, but these mundane objects weren’t all Arsham used for fossilisation. Visit his website or his instagram to see more stunning images:

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They are so bizarrely satisfying to look at.

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FOX Channel’s Pop-Up Tattoo Studio

Last year, FOX Channel teamed up with creative studio Black Ship to create a tattoo studio, where fans of their shows such as The Simpsons, The Walking Dead, Family Guy, Prison Break, Futurama, American Horror Story, American Dad, How I Met Your Mother etc. could get inked with their favourite characters. The studio was created for last year’s Comic Con Portugal, lasting 4 days, consisting of 4 local artists (from Heavy Handers Tattoo studio) who designed more than 80 tattoo options related to the wellknown series of FOX and FOX Comedy.
The ink was free, resulting in over 100 people receiving their favourite characters, logos, objects and quotes of their chosen FOX series. Those who were too slow to book a place were able to watch via livestream on social networks.

Now that’s a bold (and permanent) idea for a campaign! Great video editing by Black Ship.

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Four Years: It’s A 10 Hair Care

There was so much shade at the Super Bowl! The line “America, we’re in for at least 4 years of awful hair. So it’s up to you to do your part by making up for it with great hair” takes a hilarious dig and the President’s bizarre quiff. Created by Havas Edge for It’s A 10 Hair Care (weird name by the way…).

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Brand Identity: Kaibosh

Design agency Snask were commissioned by Norweigen eyewear company Kaibosh to create a brand identity for both their general campaign and for in-store design. Encompassing the requirements from Kaibosh, Snask created an identity using a custom typeface (Sentrum) and bold icons for a colourful, fashionable and expressive rebrand.

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I love this! “Eyes before guys” ha!

The brand and tonality was translated into visual form and matched with a custom-made display typeface, named Sentrum, made to suit the in-store signage. We added two eyelashes as a symbol to distinguish the identity and to use as graphic elements for many different scenarios. We created the entire flagship store with shelving systems, signage, colours, murals, etc. The project ranged from a typeface and still life photos to campaigns, fashion photography, notebooks and towels.

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Netflix: The Art of Design

HELLO! Yes please.
New documentary series ‘Abstract: The Art of Design’ will feature designers Paula Scher (Pentagram), Bjarke Ingels (Danish architect), illustrator and graphic designer Christoph Niemann, stage designer Es Devlin and the shoe designer behind Nike’s self-lacing trainers, Tinker Hatfield.

Looks interesting. Anything with Paula Scher.

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Samsung Galaxy: Crazy

January is the month for fitness. “New year, new me” and all that crap, so agencies are jumping on the exercise bandwagon. Samsung’s advert by Weiden + Kennedy (Portland) communicates the idea that “Samsung’s Galaxy S7 + Gear Fit2 can help you make sense of it all by organising your workouts and helping you track your progress”.
Funnily enough, yesterday I blogged about Apple’s Nike+ Apple Watch which actually had a similar vibe – weird things relating to exercise. However, W+K’s concept is slightly more relatable and less extreme, being that we do weird things when we workout. Guilty!

The campaign is followed by 2 more ads, which I don’t think are as funny, but are reaching out to the Average Joes trying to lose a few pounds. Great campaign!

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Gender Stereotypes and Children: Stop Gendering Toys!

It’s like something from my childhood imagination! Created by Proximity BCN with production by Post23 for Christmas last year, this ad for Audi Spain goes way beyond a whimsical animation. At first glimpse, one would assume this is an advert for a toy store in Spain.
The animation is an attempt raise awareness regarding gender-specific toys – an important message that plenty of other kids brands have attempted to explore. The campaign was accompanied the hashtag #CambiemosElJuego (“Let’s change the game”) to start a discussion about the topic online.

Eva Santos, Creative Director at Proximity says:

There is a growing trend for brands to communicate what they are all about and how they intend to improve people’s lives.

So, this is an experiment rather than Proximitie’s beliefs?… Weird statement. Anyway, Audi Spain rep Ignacio Gonzalez sums up the idea more eloquently:

“The Doll That Chose to Drive” is the brand’s way of helping to promote a more egalitarian social model … starting with boys and girls, tomorrow’s drivers.

This topic is something I’ve explored a lot (especially at university) – the gendering of children’s toys being limiting, and frankly archaic. Smyths Toy Superstore followed the genderless toys notion, featuring a cartoon boy in princess fancy dress (although the ad is pretty crappy itself):

Smyths were highly praised for the ‘If I Were A Toy’ advert for breaking gender stereotypes, but this wasn’t the first time a kids’ ad had the support of gender-variant consumers – Barbie released a Moschino Barbie (costing $150…. what-the-f!) in 2015, alongside an advert for Mattel featuring an adorable boy. For the first time ever, a boy was been featured in a Barbie commercial:

The list could go on! More and more, I’m seeing both girls and boys sharing their toys and blurring the gender lines in adverts, ignoring gendered products forced upon them by society’s notion of gender. It’s a very bizarre concept considering consumerism and mass-consumption of gendered products are entirely created by social constructs! The strict divide in gender when it comes to children is something adopted by familiarity – they don’t come out wearing gendered clothes, asking for a pretty pink pony.

Here’s an image by one of my favourites, Barbara Kruger, which is think is very apt for this topic:

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