Progressive advertising can build successful brands – and change the world

Explains how brands can effect positive change by preventing the reinforcement of negative biases and details some ways in which they can go about it.

Advertising has historically had a problem with perpetrating common stereotypes, particularly around gender, sexuality and race. While efforts have been made to eliminate harmful and regressive stereotypes, the industry could still do more to show people in forward-looking roles.

Analysis carried out by Unilever and Ebiquity in 2016, for example, discovered that while women featured in 80% of ads, 60% featured a negative female stereotype. Only 4% showed women in aspirational roles, 3% depicted women as notably intelligent, and just 0.3% as funny.

Whether we like to admit it or not, our brains love stereotypes, because they make the world...

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