MIAMI, FL: Over 60% of female consumers believe women are commonly depicted using negative stereotypes in ads, research conducted by A+E Networks has found.

Joetta Gobell, A+E Networks’ VP/Primary Research, Ad Sales, and Strategic Insights, discussed a variety of studies it has undertaken with girls and women during the 2018 Media Insights and Engagement Conference, an event held by KNect365.

“Sixty-three percent of the women that we spoke to agreed that there are more negative stereotypes about women in advertising than there are positive,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: A+E asks: Are women fairly represented in advertising?)

“They're very much saying, ‘That’s a frustration for me’ ... And we didn't see significant difference in that across race and ethnicity,” Gobell reported.

When A+E asked how respondents wanted women to be portrayed, “We got more than one picture of glue, cornerstones, and arches – symbols of strength and ‘holding it together’,” she said.

“When we looked at the images – along with how they were talking about what they wanted to convey – a really clear theme came through: Women were saying, ‘I want to see depictions of women that are strong. I want to see depictions of strength’.”

In quantitative research, participants were asked to specify what they would like to see more often in advertising, thus offering some useful guidance for brands.

Among the top three answers was a diversity of body types. “It turns out women's bodies come in all different kinds,” Gobell remarked, “and women would actually like to see that.”

Featuring women at a range of life stages was similarly popular. “Surprise, surprise: there actually are older women and middle-aged women, as well as younger women. And women said, ‘Yes, I want to see more of that’,” she added.

Seeing a mix of races and ethnicities depicted in ads was another priority. “Just over half the women said, ‘I want to see more of that diversity represented in the media that I am seeing’,” said Gobell.

Sourced from WARC