Tag Archives: GAP

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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GAP’s “Love Comes In Every Shade” Campaign

What a lovely campaign!

Gap’s print ads for its holiday campaign this year, “Love Comes In Every Shade,” celebrates various forms of love and includes several celebrity pairings. Among these couples are musician Rufus Wainwright and his husband, artistic director Jörn Weisbrodt, who represent “Married Love” in the colorful new campaign. Wainwright and Weisbrodt wed in New York last August.

The ads and film were shot by director/DP Peggy Sirota. Gap CMO Seth Farbman said of the campaign’s featured couples and families, “Their personal relationships help remind us that every family is unique and often goes beyond just those we’re related to—it also includes the people we share our lives and deepest passions with. This campaign celebrates these diverse, optimistic views on family and the many forms love can take.”

 

Gap has a history of being an LGBT-inclusive company, joining other brands in featuring same-sex couples and families in its advertisements as well as stirring up controversy with its inclusive billboards.

In fact, Gap is one of an all-time high total of 252 businesses that have achieved a top rating of 100 percent in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s latest Corporate Equality Index. The eleventh edition of this annual in-depth survey of U.S. employers and their practices and policies in relation to its LGBT employees, released this week, shows that support for the LGBT community from the business world has never been greater. Gap received a perfect score, meeting criterion including prohibition of discrimination, partner health insurance benefits, competency and diversity programming, external engagement in the LGBT community, and more.

Aaaaaand of course there are some annoying people who just HAVE to disagree, don’t they?! – Clothing retailer GAP has come under fire from a parenting group over a new advertising campaign which features a gay couple hugging under one t-shirt.

Billboards show the two men pressed cheek to cheek with their arms around each other with the slogan “Be Bright, Be One” across the image.

One Million Moms, a US organisation which aims to stop the exploitation of children in the media, blasted the campaign, branding it “immoral advertising”.

The activist group, which has previously attacked JC Penney and Urban Outfitters for their pro-gay adverts , are campaigning for the billboards to be removed.

In a post on its website, the controversial Christian group claimed retailers “need to choose morality or remain neutral”.

They wrote: “GAP… does not deserve, nor will it get, money from conservative families across the country.

“Supporting GAP is not an option until they decide to remain neutral in the culture war. GAP needs to seriously consider how their immoral advertising affect the youth of our nation. (sic)”

Urging members to “take action”, the post continued: “GAP Inc. Brands approved this type of ad in public areas where families and children are sure to see it.

“Please send your email to GAP now and let them know you are offended by their disrespect for family values and common decency.”

Earlier this year, One Million Moms, a division of the American Family Association, attracted criticism for its attempt to boycott Urban Outfitters for using an image of two female models kissing in an ad.

The group claimed the picture, which appeared in the clothing retailer’s April catalogue, was “offensive and inappropriate for a teen who is the company’s target customer”.

The anti-homosexual activists also attacked JC Penney for using lesbian TV host Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson.

The organisation was forced to drop the case after the 54-year-old star received huge support from fans.

Speaking at the time, group director Monica Cole told OneNewsNow: “We have heard back from men and women – not just moms – saying they will no longer shop there at JC Penney, as long as Ellen DeGeneres is their spokesperson.”

Just shut up.

UPDATE: got a tweet from GAP!

Gap ‏@Gap   Thanks for the huge compliment. It brought a smile to our faces.”

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