Market Research Wrap: Ad industry still getting gender wrong
by MarkLives (@marklives) Our weekly wrap of the latest market and consumer research:
- Marketers vs consumers on portraying women in ads
- Gunn Report rebrands
- The big story hidden in a little survey
Gender bias persists
According to Kantar’s latest analysis of advertising creativity and media effectiveness, 91% of marketers think they are succeeding at portraying women as positive role models in adverts, but almost half (45%) of audiences think women are still being portrayed inappropriately. [Cheryl Hunter]
The “AdReaction: Getting Gender Right” study includes analysis of 30 000 ad tests in the 2018 Link global ad database, survey responses of 450 global marketers, consumer advertising attitudes among almost 40 000 consumers around the world and brand equity analysis of over 9 000 global brands to create an indepth understanding of the role of gender in advertising.
Says Rosie Hawkins, Kantar Insights Division chief offer and innovation, “It is clear that some introspection is required on the part of creative and media agencies and their clients. The failure to meaningfully connect with female audiences is selling brands short and limiting their brand value.”
Natalie Botha, Kantar Millward Brown AME creative development director, told Market Research Wrap that this applies to the local market also: “We see that in South Africa a greater percentage of males vs females install blockers (63% vs 52%). This highlights a low tolerance for certain formats of digital advertising such as mobile app pop ups and in-banner auto play, with males particularly more adverse than females.
“Another interesting point is that looking at Africa as a whole (compared to the globe), we note that females in adverts are portrayed as very aspirational, while men are seen as less caring and likable when compared to their female counterparts.”
The findings include:
- Gender portrayals in advertising remain stereotyped, with most ads showing women to be “likeable” or “caring”, and only 6% including an “authoritative” female character
- Adverts led by authoritative female characters outperform other ads
- The industry struggles to make great ads starring women; ads featuring only women are less impactful overall and less likely to make people feel proud or to generate excitement than ads featuring only men
- There is no identifiable overall difference in response to ads across gender lines; good adverts are usually good for everyone and bad adverts are bad for everyone — irrespective of intended gender targeting
- Everyone has a funny bone — humour works well across both genders — but ads featuring only women use comedy less than half the time as ads featuring only men (22% vs 51%)
The ad industry’s failure to portray and target women well impacts the effectiveness of individual adverts and campaigns and, at a high level, means male-skewed brands are missing out on an average of US$9bn in brand valuation.
Register to download the full report at Kantar.
New WARC Rankings
The Gunn Report, the global index of creative, effective and media excellence in advertising, has been rebranded as the WARC Rankings, and major changes introduced to ensure its independent status. This followis WARC’s acquisition by global information company, Ascential. [Cheryl Hunter]
The rankings will consist of the WARC Creative 100, WARC Effectiveness 100 and the WARC Media 100. They will continue to showcase the 100 best creative, effective and innovative media ideas in the world, as well as the top-performing agencies, networks, holding companies, brands, advertisers and countries.
The listings will, however, be compiled by analysing the results of the most-important global and regional awards shows in the world as determined by the industry — globally, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Clio Awards, D&AD, London International Awards (LIA), The One Show and, regionally, Adfest, Dubai Lynx, El Ojo de Ibeoamérica, El Sol, Eurobest, Golden Drum, The Loeries and Spikes Asia.
The WARC Rankings will be released from late February 2019, with the full listings available to view free of charge for this year at WARC. Also launching in February will be the Gunn Report’s databank 1999–2016, available as an online historical and educational archive accessible to all at no cost.
The Eardley Analysis
by Mark Eardley. This year’s annual survey from DGR shows that “larger chunks of marketing budgets are now being allocated to demand generation initiatives and ABM adoption as the continued goal to drive more revenue grows at an alarming rate.”
The big story in that statement is this. It’s astonishing that any B2B marketer should be alarmed by the goal of driving revenue — let alone an entity such as DGR that’s dedicated to covering, er, demand generation in the B2B space.
Surely, the sole goal has always been to attract and retain profitable customers. Incredibly, it seems that’s coming a big shock to a lot of B2B-ers.
As the 2019 report says, “Last year, it was clear that B2B marketers were expected to support revenue growth as their goals and expectations from senior leadership continued to rise and account-based strategies grew in popularity. However, minimal increases in investment towards the right account acquisition, nurturing and pipeline strategies hindered chances of further development and growth in those initiatives.”
Reading between those lines uncovers the survey’s next two big stories:
- Budgets aren’t being allocated to do the right things the right way — ie to drive sales and build loyaltyOk, so ‘larger chunks’ are now apparently being wisely allocated to achieve the sole goal, but it makes you wonder what’s being done with the rest of the budget. Betcha it’s being ditched into social media, AI, VR, CX, chatbots and other shiny new, goal-avoiding ‘innovations’
- Not many marketers are making it to the level of ‘senior leadership’ in their organisation.That’s hardly surprising if they’re not driving revenue and are happy to carry on being the ‘banners-and-balloons’ people. Marketers who demonstrably advance sales, margins and loyalty are always senior leaders in firms where those results matter more than any others.
Bearing in mind that its major insights are to be found between-the-lines, this well-presented, easy-to-read (but in no ways ‘benchmark’) report highlights its key findings like this:
- Demand generation priorities are leaning towards better campaign analysis to understand how demand is impacting the bottom line
- The tools being tested and deployed by marketers are aiming to garner deeper insights into target accounts and nurturing efforts
- Engagement tactics such as content syndication and videos are seeing greater success driving leads into the top of the funnel
- Marketing through channels such as in-person events, social, online ads and retargeting are creating more demand when and where buyers are actively researching purchase decisions.
The survey collected responses from more than 150 B2B marketing practitioners, with most respondents based in the US. (50% in software/technology, 12% in business services/consulting. Other industries, represented by less than 5% a piece, include financial services, retail, manufacturing, telecom and healthcare.)
Mark’s mark out of ten (is it worth reading?): 7/10
How long: 20 mins
Recommended related read on MarkLives: B2B Revenue Marketing — trick or treat?
This weekly “Market Research Wrap” column offers readers a weekly overview and critique of the latest market and industry research.
Cheryl Hunter (@cherylhunter) has written for the South African media, marketing and advertising industries for more than 15 years. A former editor of M&M in Independent Newspapers and contributor to Bizcommunity, AdFocus, AdReview and the Ad Annual, she has also produced for various television networks and currently consults on communication strategy and media liaison.
Mark Eardley (@mdeardley) advises B2B companies on how to govern their marketing to attract and retain profitable customers; several of his clients have grown to become market leaders. His monthly “Back2Basics” column covers how B2B companies and their agencies should manage their marketing.
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