In May 2018, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) released guidelines that aim “to help brands ensure their advertising reflects a more progressive portrayal of both sexes.” This proves that gender stereotyping is not confined to female or women only. Men are also characterized by certain standards set by society.

According to Kim Patria, Partnerships Manager for Advocacy and Communications at Investing in Women, brands, marketers, or advertisers have a role in defying gender norms.

“You are in a position where you can create messages every day to make sure brands are not reinforcing the stereotypes,” he said.

In GetCraft’s “Breaking Gender Barriers in Marketing” session held recently, Patria, along with Prof. Teresa Paula De Luna of UP Diliman, discussed the effects of “unstereotyping” genders in brand building. GetCraft is a content marketing network that helps brands their marketing and advertising strategies.

De Luna explained that gender is not limited to women and men.

“Gender is sociological,” she said. “Categories are ascribed by culture and each is different and has its own dynamics.”

“We always hear people say that brands are the new storytellers,” Patria said. “With that position of brands comes the responsibility of helping change norms in the way men and women are portrayed in their creatives.”

Citing research conducted by Kantar Media and released this year, Patria said that gender-balanced brands are valued at least P4.3 million more than gender-skewed brands. He added that ads-skewed brands in the male demographics, the gap broadens to P9 million.

Patria explained why marketers cannot afford not to create gender-equal ads. Again, citing a World Economic Forum report saying that in 2017, women controlled 65 percent of global household spending. Should brands alienate women in whatever form in their campaigns, they might just be misdirecting their messages to the wrong audience.

Patria’s presentation is not limited to the bottom line. He said brands need to keep up on the demands of their audience.

“The truth about today’s youth is that they have never known a world where equality isn’t a primary societal goal,” he said. “Equality in gender, race, and religion is actually the new normal and for you not to keep up with that new normal is a risk.”

Patria said brands need to understand the market as a whole for them to be able to come up with non-gender biased ads. He also reminded the marketers that “we are past the stage of targeting demographics and encourage companies to invest in ways to figure out how are consumers — not just men and women — behaving and how they can approach a campaign using that knowledge.

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