Unilever leans toward inclusive advertising

Sexism and gender stereotypes may soon meet their demise in advertising — at least as a result of one company’s new marketing plan.

According to the Huffington Post, Unilever — the parent company of brands like Dove and Axe — announced on Wednesday, June 22, that they plan to remove all traces of sexism and sexist stereotypes in ads for all of their 400-plus brands. The impetus for the move: “Research conducted by the company found that 40 percent of women surveyed said they couldn’t relate to the women in the company’s ads,” reports the Huffington Post.

Conducted over a two-year span, the Huffington Post says that Unilever’s study found that “only 2 percent of its ads show intelligent women. Most women in their ads are represented in domestic roles, with only 3 percent depicted as women in professional positions. A mere 1 percent of ads showed women who were funny.”

So just how does Unilever plan to change their advertising habits? Dove has already been running more body-positive ads, says the Huffington Post, while Axe is planning to create more “inclusive” advertising.

A statement from Unilever explained that while the media’s current depiction of women can be rather antiquated, “It was globally resounding that women are ever advancing in terms of equality, structure and human rights,” the company told The Guardian.

But, Chief Marketing Officer for Unilever Keith Weed told The Guardian that there is no time like the present to change their advertising modus operandi.

“The time is right for us as an industry to challenge and change how we portray gender in our advertising … Our industry spends billions of dollars annually shaping perceptions and we have a responsibility to use this power in a positive manner.”

 

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