Is The Way We Portray Women In Advertising Getting Any Better?

While there are some standouts, where brands are getting it right (Bravo to you GE, Kraft, and Twitter, though really Twitter, please pay attention to the amount of social media harassment of women happening on the platform and actually do something about it...), but women are still largely portrayed in very specific roles that tend to be deferential to others. They are less likely to be the expert, the professional, the leader, the decision maker... unless it pertains to domestic decisions. Beyond role itself, there’s the setting -- where does she find herself most often?At work? In the world? Creating brilliant solutions? Or is she at home. Doing what she's been doing for the 70 years since televisions found a place in nearly every home. Truth is, if experiencing the ad makes a woman feel bad about herself it has missed the mark. 

Fancy co-founder & creative director, Katie Keating, recently spoke with Lindsay Rittenhouse of Adweek and explained that "advertisers often say they are 'mirroring' the current dynamics in society and that change comes to advertising when societal norms change. However, with the amount of money spent and the amount of messaging that streams into households, who are we kidding? We can either reinforce stereotypes or break them down." 

It is also important to look at the strategy behind the message because so much of what is out there plays into a limited, and in some ways, derogatory understanding of a woman's psychology in some ways subtle, in others, outright. And it's not enough to just check ourselves by asking 8 women in New Jersey. No offense to the women of New Jersey, but we have all been in those focus groups where people give rote answers or project a reality we know is not true.

To create work that moves brands and women in a positive direction what we need to do as advertisers and marketers is to take the time to truly tap into movements in societal beliefs by conducting research that goes deeper, taking chances and asking different questions. We have to be brave enough to make ads that focus on true, progressive insights.

That is what we do at Fancy. We elevate what matters.