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08 March 2022
Gender bias in ads isn't in casting but in spending
Diversity & portrayal in advertising
Brands are making progressive choices about how female characters appear in their ads, but new research shows they’re investing more ad spend into promoting ads that feature traditional gender roles.
Why it matters
Casting and creative choices about who to feature in ads is the first step to addressing gender bias, but this strategy has to be backed with enough promotional spend for audiences to see these progressive characters.
Creative analytics company CreativeX and non-profit research organisation the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media conducted an analysis of more than 3,400 adverts across YouTube, Twitter and Amazon, totalling $836m in ad spend in the US.
Over half (58%) of advert characters were female during 2020-21.
Forty-four percent of female characters were shown in professional settings, but these ads received almost 50% less ad spend than the frequency they appear in this setting (24%).
Forty-one percent of characters in professional environments were male, receiving almost double the ad spend (49%).
“Marketers’ intent and their actions are not lining up, and this gap will continue to widen unless we build in systematic and objective ways of monitoring our content representation efforts and progress” – Anastasia Leng, founder and CEO of CreativeX.