Monday 16 September 2019

Ad Lib: Call for end to ads where 'men are the boss and women bossy'

Media & Marketing with Michael Cullen

Time for action: Grainne Wafer, global brand director for Baileys at Diageo, said brands need to accelerate the pace of change to combat gender stereotyping in adverts
Time for action: Grainne Wafer, global brand director for Baileys at Diageo, said brands need to accelerate the pace of change to combat gender stereotyping in adverts

Marketers and agencies need to wake up and tackle the issue of gender stereotyping in advertising which is lowering brand equity. Speaking to Marketing Institute members, Grainne Wafer, global brand director for Baileys at Diageo, said there was a need for brand owners to create urgency around change in gender stereotyping in ads.

"There's still an unconscious gender bias and it's brought to the work we create," Wafer said. "We all have it," she added.

It's not surprising that brand owners deflect to stereotypes but that's damaging because it doesn't tell the full story. As the bias is unconscious, advertisers and agencies need to adopt a more disciplined approach, Wafer added.

Men still tend to be cast in 'expert' roles in ads - the man in the white coat, the bartender. Too often men are being the boss, while women are being bossy.

The data shows that female consumers are saying enough is enough, with 66pc put off by stereotyping in ads and 85 asking for 'real women' to feature.

In a permission-free, more inclusive society, women don't need a brand to "shine". The British drinks giant woke up to the need to change from its old Baileys ads and show the brand in a more modern context. After strong growth for the Irish whiskey and cream-based liqueur, sales plummeted in 2009.

The brand experienced a decade of long-term decline - and with drinks, especially a treat like Baileys - out of mind means out of repertoire.

With the economy failing and people's gender attitudes changed, Baileys was repositioned, while still holding to the maxim that most consumers drank it because it allows them to indulge in a grown-up treat - like luxury ice cream - which speaks to special occasions.

Knowing they were out of kilter with the zeitgeist, new Baileys ads were rolled out espousing the messages 'Be a woman for a cause, not for appeal' and 'Don't Mind If I Baileys'.

In terms of the workplace, Diageo ranked 11 in the 2011 Reuter Index of international corporate performance and gender diversity. This year, they climbed to number four.

-ESB/Electric Ireland is expected to announce a decision on its review on four of its marketing services provided by agencies soon. The services under review by the utilities provider cover creative above the line services, creative digital services, ongoing graphic design/straight to studio services and strategic brand planning and brand architecture services.

A team led by Electric Ireland’s head of marketing Lisa Browne will decide on which agencies win out.

Media buying and planning services, currently handled by Core’s Spark Foundry, is not part of the review, which is managed by Agency Assessments. Omnicom’s TBWA\Dublin is Electric Ireland’s incumbent for creative above the line assignments.

VHI's media-buying review was also still ongoing at the time of press, with Spark Foundry, Wolfgang Digital and the incumbent PHD pitching to the healthcare company's marketing boss Adam Bacon.

- Genesis managing partner Gary Joyce has joined the board of the Irish National Opera. She has been an executive and non-executive director down the years, including the Galway International Arts Festival and Dublin Bus. She was deputy chairwoman of Tusla, the child and family agency, for over four years and chaired ACC Bank for three years. A seasoned Fine Gael activist, Joyce co-founded and ran the Dimension marketing services agency with Roddy Rowan in 1985, until it was bought out by McConnells Advertising in 1994.

- Heartening to see that the power of influencers is waning. Consumers appear to be copping on to the fact that both celebs and people famous for being famous may not be all that informed when it comes to recommending brands. In interviews with 500 consumers, digital agency Zoo found that influencer trust overall dropped by 14pc, with 71pc saying they don't trust an influencer who's paid to endorse a brand - down from 57pc last year.

- And finally... Síne Friel, a communications official in the Irish National Teachers Organisation (Into) and a former primary school teacher, has been voted the top student in the Public Relations Institute's annual diploma course. The trophy is named after the late Gladys MacNevin, who, as institute secretary, did Trojan work in developing the PRII's education programmes.


Michael Cullen is editor of;

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