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Georgia-Pacific's bias-free brand strategy

News, 12 April 2017
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NEW YORK: Georgia-Pacific, the paper products company, is seeking to ensure its brands are delivering in terms of female equality when it comes to advertising creative, media buying and beyond.

Douwe Bergsma, CMO at the Atlanta, Georgia-based company – which makes offerings such as Brawny, Angel Soft and Sparkle – discussed this topic at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) 2017 Annual Conference.

More specifically, he said the firm is applying the Gender Equality Measure (GEM), a metric developed by the Association of National Advertisers for gauging how women are portrayed in ads and content, to various aspects of its activity.

A study of its creative output using the GEM methodology, which asks consumers to assess how females are depicted in ads then compares the results against thousands of comparative executions, showed that there is room for progress.

"We were really good at Brawny. And we did really well on Angel Soft. But on most of the other brands, we have still more opportunities than we could imagine," Bergsma said. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: Georgia-Pacific champions female-friendly ads.)

"And then, basically, you look at it and say, 'Wow. There is still – even for those that are committed, like ourselves – a lot of unconscious biases there that we didn't think of.'"

Beyond this, the firm is assessing whether the content surrounding its ads adheres to the principles laid down by the GEM score – which include a presentation of women which is respectful, appropriate and shows them as a positive role model.

"Overall – while we place our media relatively well – there were still a lot of opportunities to move our media away from low GEM-scoring programs to high GEM-scoring programs," said Bergsma.

"And our [media] agency, Zenith, and our media department are looking at the ROIs of these programs, and if it makes sense [to shift strategies]. We're in the middle of that. So there's a lot of opportunity there."

Looking ahead, Georgia-Pacific wants to answer an even bigger question: "We said, 'What is the GEM score of our brand overall? Not the content of the brand, but what would be the GEM score for the brand itself?'" said Bergsma.IDs110860109351108567109759109694

Data sourced from WARC

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