advertising

The Power of Women in Business: Female Portrayals in Advertising

There’s been a growing focus on female body image on social media and advertising. Campaigns such as #BodyPositive, #LikeAGirl and #Strengthie are just a few of the current advertising campaigns encouraging women to be proud of themselves and focus on their strengths, rather than their imperfections. The good news is, these “fem-vertisements” appear to be highly effective in promoting positive imagery of women and generating sales, according to Ad Week.

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© Can Stock Photo Inc. / xavigm

 

Here’s some statistics on the negative impacts on women from advertising via SheKnows:

  • Just 60 seconds of viewing ads with underweight models can negatively impact perceptions of attractiveness for women
  • 41% of 18-24 year old women retouch photos of themselves before sharing to social media sites
  • 93% of women believe it is harmful to portray females as sex symbols in advertising
  • 33% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance (an increase from 26% in 2012)

It’s been noted for years that women control the majority of spending decisions in households. In fact, according to American Progress, women control 80% of consumer spending in the U.S. (up to 85% according to Ad Week).  So if we’ve seen that female-positive advertising has shown to be incredibly effective and that women dominate consumer spending, why isn’t more advertising female-positive?

A large part of the problem could be that while women control spending, men dominate the advertising. According to American Progress, 97% of creative directors in advertising are male. Of the 250 top-grossing domestic films of 2013, 16% of the cinematographers, directors, editors, executive producers, producers and writers were female. Additionally, during the 2012-2013 primetime season, just 28%  of off-screen talent on broadcast TV shows were female. The most obvious result of involving women is that representation of women on-screen is better and there’s a higher percentage of women with speaking roles.

So how can we continue on this effective “fem-vertising” journey?

  • Continue to empower women to fight stereotyping and be successful
  • Incorporate positive imagery of women in advertising and social media
  • Women need to build each other up and support each other
  • Empowering women doesn’t mean putting men down – incorporate men in campaigns to support the women in their lives

Here’s some statistics on the positive impacts on women from fem-vertising via SheKnows:

  • 52% of women have purchased a product because they liked how the ad for the product portrayed women
  • Nike saw a 15% increase in quarterly revenue through efforts to cater to women
  • Dove’s Real Beauty campaign helped increase sales from $2.5 billion to $4 billion
  • In just 4 months in 2014, sales for Getty Images’ Lean In collection grew by 54%

According to Ad Week, fem-vertising is positive toward women, but it doesn’t alienate men either. Female-positive advertising encourages men to empower and take care of the women in their lives as well. So in the end, everyone benefits.

If people can relate to the advertising of a product, they will have a more positive impression of the product. Consider who your market is and who’s creating the advertising for your product. Is it accurate and positive toward your market? If not, it’s time to rethink your strategy.