Julie Bramham, chief marketing officer, Diageo India started proceedings at Spikes Asia 2019 with an inspiring address on how advertising could do away with stereotypes.
In a session that spoke about progressive gender portrayal, Bramham promised “to be very honest about everything you could have done” in the unstereotyping journey. She started off with a reference to the UN unstereotype alliance, a collective of people from the advertising industry and clients that was formed a couple of years back and gave wings to the movement.
(Watch her video interview with Campaign Asia's Robert Sawatzky here)
Whether it's race, gender or sexuality, a Harvard study shows that three quarters of people, both men and women, have a gender bias. “And these biases lead us stereotypes. The danger inherently is that we may not even realize we're falling into the trap at times,” says Bramham.
In India, Diageo together with Kantar deemed roughly 40% of ads as progressive, but 60% of the ads were regressive or needed improvement.
“As advertisers we have the power to normalise gender equality and use our marketing spend as a cause for good.” Bramham said.
She said Diageo went back and reviewed 100 ads globally and developed a framework for its 2000 marketers and agencies globally. Ads are now developed with a new framework around three areas:
Representation (who is being portrayed)
Perspective (whose point of view is being considered)
Characterisation (are real people involved with similar complexities)
Sharing work from India and abroad with brands like McDowells, Bailey’s, Smirnoff, Guinness and Johnnie Walker, Bramham candidly pointed out where they could have done better and how the framework was making a difference.
However, there is a strong business case to be progressive in gender portrayal in your communication. Bramham highlights some numbers to further drive the point.
She also set aside some guidelines that both clients and agencies could follow towards unstereotyping their communication.