Marketers shift to diverse imagery following ASA's drive against gender stereotyping

Marketers shift to diverse imagery following ASA's drive against gender stereotyping

More than half of UK marketers say that the Advertising Standards Authority's plans to clampdown on gender stereotyping in ads next year has already made them change how they select imagery, pointing to a shift towards more inclusive marketing campaigns.

According to research from Shutterstock, 57% of marketers in the UK said the publication of the ASA's report into gender stereotyping has affected how they select images for their ads, while 35% have used more images featuring women over the past 12 months.

Over half (51%) of marketers now think it is important to represent modern society in their marketing imagery, compared to just 30% in 2016. The research, which surveyed 500 UK marketers, also found 90% agree that using more diverse images will help a brand’s reputation.

However, the research highlighted that marketers over 45 are lagging behind their younger counterparts on this issue. Of marketers aged between 25 to 34, 43% were more inclined to use images of same sex couples in the past twelve months, compared with 17% for marketers over 45-years-old.

Robyn Lange, Shutterstock curator, said: "Our research shows that globally, marketers are shifting their attitudes and selecting images, primarily, to represent modern day society. Marketers are also recognising that choosing images that are relatable to diverse groups benefits their brand’s reputation.

"Striking a chord with consumers is no longer about serving them images of perfection, as social media has helped to change how people view images. Consumers prefer images that accurately portray the world around them, as opposed to a perfected version of the world offered by marketers," Lange added.

In July this year the ASA revealed that brands will need to adhere to new standards on ads featuring stereotypical gender roles of characteristics.

The move followed the publication of a major review into gender stereotyping in advertising by the ASA, Depictions, Perceptions and Harm, that said harmful stereotypes can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults.

The Committee of Advertising Practice will bring new standards on advertising that feature stereotypical gender roles of characteristics into force in 2018.


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