advertising

Changing Women's Perception in Advertising

March 14, 2017

Madonna Badger, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Badger & Winters, is on a mission to change the advertising industry.

Madonna, whose early success with Calvin Klein’s iconic Marky Mark campaign (and many others) prompted her to launch her New York-based advertising, branding and design agency in 1994, developed her mission after losing her parents and three children in a house fire on Christmas Eve 2008.

Speaking at NYWICI’s Cocktails and Conversations event, hosted by Mediacom on Feb. 21, 2017, Madonna began her talk by sharing how she’s struggled with intense emotions anew, due to the recent death of her ex-husband and father of her children.

It was this loss, combined with a growing realization of the power that advertising has to attack women’s confidence through objectification that led Madonna to dedicate her life to make a difference in the world. That’s why she decided to tackle an industry she knew intimately — the world of advertising.  

Her firm researched the effect that objectification of women has on individuals and brands.  It found that the approach can have a significantly negative impact on both purchase intent, as well as on brand reputation.

objectifying adsBased on its findings, Badger & Winters has pledged to no longer create imagery that objectifies women. They took their commitment even further by creating the #WomenNotObjects campaign to encourage other ad agencies to follow suit.

Meanwhile, the campaign has convinced Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to caution jurors not to recognize work that reflects gender bias.

Madonna showed powerful, provocative images and statistics to illustrate the myriad of ways women are objectified in advertising and explained the four key filters the campaign uses to determine whether an ad is objectifying:

  1. Props:  A woman is reduced to only a “thing” in an ad.
  2. Plastic: A woman has been retouched beyond achievability.
  3. Parts: A woman is reduced to provocative body parts only.
  4. Empathy: An ad prompts the viewer to ask, “What if this were my mother, my daughter or myself?”

Attendees surveyed at the event said they were shocked to learn that “gender bias is still strong,” even though we “have more say than ever before in advertising decisions.”

“It’s amazing,” said another attendee, “how some brands, even reputable ones, are making bad choices”, “how little has changed” and how ads today are “reflective of ads from the '60s and '70s.”

The evening ended with a lively, engaged question and answer session, during which Madonna encouraged us all to take action. Here’s how:

  • Use our spending power and refuse to buy from brands who objectify women.
  • Take photos of objectifying ads and post them on social media.
  • Make sure we, as women, know and teach our daughters that our weight and appearance is not our worth.
  • Support brands that empower women.

“I plan on using my money as my voice,” said one attendee. “As a female consumer, I will carefully choose where I spend my money. I will only shop at places whose labor conditions and advertising campaigns align with my values.”

Said another, “I’ve already noticed a difference in the way I looked at images in ads today. I plan to be more vocal about ads that are offensive to women, both as a consumer and as a professional who is a part of this industry.”
 


#WomenNotObjectsTo learn more about the #WomenNotObjects campaign, visit womennotobjects.com and follow the campaign on Twitter: @Not_Objects

Related Article:
Cannes Bans Gender Bias With Help from #WomenNotObjects (AdAge)

Slideshow photos: Jan Goldstoff

 

Posted by: 
Robyn Hatcher

Behind the Scenes with Weber Shandwick

June 6, 2016

On April 27, 2016, a group of 13 High School students visited the Weber Shandwick headquarters in New York for a Behind-The-Scenes career exploration event. The students were in for a treat.  It's not every day you get the opportunity to hear from and meet working professionals from the number 2 top global PR agency. Weber Shandwick has distinguished itself by racking up 1000+ industry awards and securing an enviable client portfolio of world notable brands such as Nike, Disneyland, Oreo and more.  

The event began with meet-and-greet introductions with Fanni Gabor, recruiter; Melissa Robinson, human resources director; and Tameka Green, their recently appointed director of diversity and inclusion.  As an ice-breaker, the students were asked to introduce themselves and state their favorite leisure and hobby activities. The students then watched a video that gave them an agency overview history and scope of business. 

Over a pizza and salad lunch, students were treated to a panel presentation from several young Weber Shandwick employees, ranging from interns to senior executives: Kwanza Johnson- director, Digital, Lauren Hudson- AE, Corporate, Julian Vasquez- account supervisor, Corporate, Khadijah Davis- assistant account executive, Healthcare, Parmida Schahhosseini, AAE- Technology, and Damilare Oyefeso- intern, Technology.  All of them outlined the day to day activities of a PR agency and the responsibilities, challenges and rewards of various PR roles.

Student Blog PostSome of the students were unsure about their college majors. They were reassured by Parmida Schahhosseini, who shared her story of having 11 majors before finding her passion in PR. She gave invaluable insight on how to make the best out of an internship experience and also how to strengthen their writing skills. Lauren Hudson had a great way of describing PR as “…being at the pulse of everything that is happening in the world.”

The high school students were invited to ask questions to get a clearer understanding of PR operations and the range of current and emerging opportunities that are available in the industry. PR is one of the few sectors that touch every business industry. The students learned that regardless of what career they are interested in pursuing, there is a place for them in PR. Tameka Green summarized the wide scope of PR career opportunities when she said, "Twenty years ago it wasn't common to have a scientist working in the PR field, but with the growing demands of technology and healthcare system, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) has become part of the storytelling process, and who better to connect and tell that story than a doctor, dietitian or scientist."

The students were clearly engaged by the experience and were asking lots of questions. “Before this experience, I had a lot of confusion over the difference

between Public Relations and Advertising. Through my engagement with the staff at Weber & Shadwick, I not only have found clarity, but with that clarity, I have increased my interest in pursuing a prospective career in Public Relations,” said 11th grade student Je’Jae Daniels.

The visit closed out on an inspirational high note when Tameka Green advised students to "…take chances; don't live the rest of your lives wishing you could've done something you were scared to pursue. Listen to your parents but most importantly follow your heart." 

Our deepest thanks to the Weber Shandwick team, and Judith Harrison, for being such gracious hosts.

 

— Nathalie Cazeau & Jacqueline Dolly, High School Outreach Committee​ 

Babies, Boomers, Multiculturals

February 10, 2015

What it takes to create marketing campaigns that motivate Millennials, Gen X and Multicultural generations was the subject of a lively NYWICI panel of marketing all-stars. Their conclusions? Smartphones are stealing eyeballs, but print isn't dead.

Here's more from Robyn Hatcher, Lucinda Martinez, Lesley Jane Seymour and Ann Shoket, who gathered at HBO headquarters on Feb. 5, 2015.

Defining Millennials

Ann, who was editor in chief of Seventeen Magazine from 2007 to 2014, defines Millennials as anyone from 15 to 35. Millennials have been described as lazy and entitled, but this negative reputation could not be more wrong. The financial crisis has in fact given rise to a new “Powergirl,” who is strong, independent and above all spends wisely. “If you give a Millennial girl $100, she is not going to go and spend it all on one thing. She is going to think about every single way she can spend that money.”

Millennials not only desire to be financially secure, they also have a strong focus on forging their own paths and choosing careers based on their passions. They often work more than one job at a time. One of the most impactful statistics about Millennials is that 46 percent are multicultural, according to Lucinda, who as senior vice president of multicultural marketing at HBO described her job as marketing to “people of hue.”

Understanding Boomers

As editor-in-chief of More Magazine, Lesley is an expert on what many marketers call Boomers, although she rejected the term and urged the audience to “lose the labels.” More began as a magazine for women over 40, but has since broadened its audience, as “older women” were embraced by all women’s magazines. Now, More targets women who “have the guy and know what to do with him.” These women don’t want to talk about men. They are highly educated and accomplished, and want to discuss fashion and world issues. Lesley also noted that Boomers have a very high “bullshit meter” and want something that is authentic. “Never speak down to your audience,” she said. Boomers are still not getting credit for their influence or spending power; many marketing companies are missing out by undervaluing this audience.  

Choosing the Right Marketing Tactics

Baby Boomers2Not every platform or technology is right for every marketing objective, especially when it comes to targeting different and diverse groups. The smartphone is every marketer’s biggest competition for a person’s attention, said Ann. She cited YouTube as the platform for Millennials, while Lesley added that her audience still deeply valued print. 

Millennials also respond strongly to Twitter, but with so many different sources to follow, companies have to think strategically. Align your advertising placements and social media posts with moments when you expect bursts in digital conversation, Lucinda suggested. If an episode of Game of Thrones with a big twist is about to air, social media will buzz the next morning; publishers will need to have advertisements planned out. 

But at the end of the day, Millennials, Multiculturals and Boomers still value time spent “unplugged.” Amidst the ever-growing number of platforms and devices competing for our attention, print media offer the opportunity to tune out and disconnect. A quiet hour alone with a magazine is important to all audiences, and each panelist agreed that this was something marketing professionals should never forget.

Photo Credit: Jan Goldstoff

Related Reading:

Adweek: “How to Advertise to the Millennial Who Hates Advertising

Posted by: 
Allie Carmichael

Next Up: Student Career Conference!

Calling all aspiring careerwomen! On Saturday, Nov. 6, join your fellow NYWICI girls at the Student Career Conference in NYC! More than 50 communications professionals will gather to offer their expert advice to students and young professionals -- and even reveal some secrets about breaking into the industry. Bottom line: register NOW! The conference will be divided into three sections with various panels.

An Ad That Shouldn't Exist in This Millennium

September 3, 2010

A while ago a group of NYWICI women talked about writing a post for this blog called Ads That Shouldn’t Exist in 2010. The idea was to call out advertising that subtly promotes outdated and damaging gender stereotypes. But today I came across an ad so blatant that it deserves to be called An Ad That Shouldn’t Exist in This Millennium.

The ad in question — for the “feminine hygiene” product Summer’s Eve — appears in Woman’s Day magazine. Under the headline Confidence at Work: How to Ask for a Raise, the ad offers eight tips. Guess what number one is:


That’s right. Don’t let a smelly vagina destroy your chances for success. Kudos to AlterNet for the image above and for turning this ad’s shame agenda into a laugh-out-loud funny August 26 article, Hey Ladies, Want a Raise? Wash Your Vagina.

Update: The fall 2010 issue of Ms. Magazine reprinted the Summer's Eve ad in its "no comment" section and also published the company's contact information. If you would like to tell Summer's Eve what you think about their ad, here's how to reach them:

C.B. Fleet Company Inc.
4615 Murray Place
Lynchburg, VA 24502
Tel: (866) 787-6383
summerseve_cares@cpfleet.com

 

P&G's Olympics Ad: What About the Dads?

February 21, 2010

A recent post on Aloud discussed the presence of sexism in Super Bowl commercials. Now we are in the midst of another great sporting event, the Winter Olympics. While watching these exciting competitions, I couldn’t help but notice Procter & Gamble’s “Thanks Mom” commercial.

The advertisement itself is quite moving and emotional and features a few shots of children dressed in Olympic Team USA uniforms, getting ready to compete. It ends with a shot of a mother nervously watching an event and then fades to only text — “To their Moms, they will always be kids. P&G. Proud sponsor of Moms.” But wait, don’t fathers also support their kids, coach teams, drive to practice, and nervously watch their kids who have become Olympic athletes? Apolo Ohno (a P&G-sponsored Olympian and seven-time medalist) was raised by a single father.

The ad speaks only to mothers, which alienates a large portion of the population that also supports child athletes — fathers. By excluding men, P&G seems to be reinforcing that only women really care about their children and only women deserve P&G acknowledgment. What about those men secure enough to stand up to the stereotypes, become highly involved in their children’s lives and maybe even purchase these female-only P&G products? Is P&G guilty of reverse sexism?

P&G had the right idea by honoring the families who go out of their way to support their kids, but it just didn’t follow through with the messaging. United States Olympic Committee Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird made the statement “P&G has made an extraordinary commitment not only to America's athletes, but to their families, and families are what P&G is all about.” A commitment to families, not just moms.

It is well known in advertising that you shouldn’t try to reach everyone, or else your message will get through to no one. Oftentimes, generalizations need to be made to sell the product to your specific market. Yet, I believe that the commercial would have been just as effective if the tagline were altered a bit: “To their parents, they will always be kids. P&G. Proud sponsor of parents.”

View the commercial here:

 

P&G's Olympics Ad: What About the Dads?

February 21, 2010

A recent post on Aloud discussed the presence of sexism in Super Bowl commercials. Now we are in the midst of another great sporting event, the Winter Olympics. While watching these exciting competitions, I couldn’t help but notice Procter & Gamble’s “Thanks Mom” commercial.

The advertisement itself is quite moving and emotional and features a few shots of children dressed in Olympic Team USA uniforms, getting ready to compete. It ends with a shot of a mother nervously watching an event and then fades to only text — “To their Moms, they will always be kids. P&G. Proud sponsor of Moms.” But wait, don’t fathers also support their kids, coach teams, drive to practice, and nervously watch their kids who have become Olympic athletes? Apolo Ohno (a P&G-sponsored Olympian and seven-time medalist) was raised by a single father.

The ad speaks only to mothers, which alienates a large portion of the population that also supports child athletes — fathers. By excluding men, P&G seems to be reinforcing that only women really care about their children and only women deserve P&G acknowledgment. What about those men secure enough to stand up to the stereotypes, become highly involved in their children’s lives and maybe even purchase these female-only P&G products? Is P&G guilty of reverse sexism?

P&G had the right idea by honoring the families who go out of their way to support their kids, but it just didn’t follow through with the messaging. United States Olympic Committee Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird made the statement “P&G has made an extraordinary commitment not only to America's athletes, but to their families, and families are what P&G is all about.” A commitment to families, not just moms.

It is well known in advertising that you shouldn’t try to reach everyone, or else your message will get through to no one. Oftentimes, generalizations need to be made to sell the product to your specific market. Yet, I believe that the commercial would have been just as effective if the tagline were altered a bit: “To their parents, they will always be kids. P&G. Proud sponsor of parents.”

View the commercial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSn5Z7EC4ME

-- Kelly DeChiaro

Posted by: 
Kelly DeChiaro

Super Bowl Advertising: Just How Sexist Was It?

February 11, 2010

As always, last Sunday's Super Bowl generated tons of talk about sexism in advertising — racism and homophobia, too. We'd like to know what Aloud readers think about this year's ads.

You can view all of the Super Bowl ads on Hulu Ad Zone, and as you watch, you can see how other viewers (by gender) rated them. If you only have time for the ads that generated the greatest controversy, look for Dodge Charger, GoDaddy, Flo TV’s “Injury Report” and Motorola. The Tim Tebow/Focus on the Family "pro-life" spot — which stirred up lots of pre-game controversy — was ultimately deemed a less egregious offender.

 

For views from women around the web, check out these links:

Women weren’t the only ones to take offense. Joe Queenan, writing in the Wall Street Journal, summed up his reaction this way: "The ads fell into three basic categories: Some were aimed at drunks, some were aimed at slobs, and the rest were aimed at men unsure of their own sexuality."


So — watch the spots and then tell us what you think. Which commercials really went over the line? Which ones are being singled out unfairly? And which ones did you like best?

 

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