Check your bias. FQ Lounge @ Cannes Lions. 2019

#SeeHer 2020: GEM’s Global Influence on Increasing Gender Equality in Media

We know that media defines culture, culture defines change, and change defines action. Now, we’re pleased to announce that we’re unstoppable when we work together.
In 2016, the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) #SeeHer started as a moment to increase the accurate portrayal of women and girls in media and advertising. Since then, it has quickly become a global movement. With the help of SeeHer’s data-driven methodology, Gender Equality Measure™ (GEM™), business leaders can identify and eliminate gender bias in ads and media.

Now, SeeHer is sharing GEM™ with the research industry in an effort to make the methodology a standard across advertising, marketing, and media. In partnership with IRI®, a global leader in market research, ANA recently conducted a study on how the depiction of women impacts offline sales. The results reveal a direct correlation between ads with higher GEM™ scores, increased purchase intent, and incremental sales lift.

In The FQ Lounge @ Cannes Lions, leaders shared how GEM™ is challenging all creative industries to #MakeEqualityMoves — and improving the bottom line in the process. Watch the full discussion here and read on for key takeaways.

FQ Lounge @ Cannes Lions. 2019. #SeeHer. GEM's Global Influence

Christine Manna of ANA, Bob Liodice of ANA, Shelley Zalis of The Female Quotient, Marc Pritchard of P&G, Sara Martins de Oliveira of Vodafone, Andrew McKechnie of Verizon, Bess Spaeth of American Express & Patty Kerr of #SeeHer in The FQ Lounge @ Cannes Lions

Measure Impact

Whenever we measure the impact of gender equality, we’re able to see that equality is a social and economic imperative. Now that we have the ability to spot out conscious and unconscious bias in ads, we have the power to influence the direction of creative content in a positive direction. We’re producing better ads that accurately portray women, and, in turn, lead to higher sales. In other words, if we can’t inspect it, we won’t respect it. That’s why “GEM™ really is a gem,” according to Sara Martins de Oliveira, Global Head of Brand and Media at Vodafone. “For a big company [such as Vodafone], nothing happens without data. GEM™ gives us the extra reassurance that we need in the creative community when we’re discussing topics that can be quite emotional.”


Highlight Intersectionality

We need to produce content that is reflective of who we are today. That means approaching diversity and inclusion as a conversation about intersectional experiences, rather than just another campaign. “Just because we show a powerful woman, for example, doesn’t mean we can’t show an empathetic male as well,” says Bess Spaeth, SVP of Global Media and Experience at American Express. “We need to ask ourselves how we can show up for diversity and inclusion—not just in what we’re saying, but in what we’re doing as a brand.”


Change the Narrative

Advertisements have the power to change the narrative; just look at the success of Verizon’s recent ad campaigns for proof. After taking a seven-year hiatus from the Super Bowl, the company returned in 2018 with a 60-second in-game spot. The spot was part of a broader effort to reunite ordinary people and the first responders who saved their lives. This past year, Verizon came back to the Big Game with yet another campaign called “The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here,” which once again honors the true stories of first responders. The commercial showcased the Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn thanking the first responders who rescued him after a car accident in 2015.

“First, you see a really big guy, an NFL coach, crying and being emotional,” says Andrew McKechnie, SVP, Chief Creative Officer, Verizon. “Then, you see the people who saved him—and it’s two white policemen,” he adds. “In our political climate and current culture, it’s not exactly common to hear or see a narrative about two white guys saving a black guy.” As Andrew notes, the ad also included a female first responder. The commercial with Coach Lynn, which was one of the highest-scoring GEM™ ads from the Super Bowl, ended up generating millions of dollars.


Drive Representation on Both Sides of the Camera

Women control 85% of household purchasing decisions, and they’re outspoken about what types of ads resonate with them. In a survey conducted by SheKnows, 71% of women said brands should be using their ads to promote positive messages to women and girls. 81% said pro-female ads are important for younger generations to see. Yet, less than 7% of directors are women. Even less (3%) are creative directors at ad agencies.

“It’s a no-brainer,” Marc Pritchard, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer, says in response to whether brands should implement GEM™. By 2020, the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, Marc is committed to getting 100% of P&G’s ads accurately portraying women, “as measured by GEM™.” As Marc says, “We’re almost there. Now, we just need 50% of ads directed by women.”

More visibility for women in media and advertising is the key to ending gender bias—and accelerating business growth. Although it’s only been two years since GEM™ launched in the U.S., the methodology has already spread to 14 other countries worldwide. As SeeHer continues to bring GEM™ to developing markets, one thing is for sure: the insights that support the movement are more and more compelling. As ANA’s CEO, Bob Liodice, says, “Who knows what the possibilities are.” Don’t wait. Join the movement today and stay tuned here for more updates.


For more equality news, check out:

How Brands Can Leverage the Power of Purpose to Grow

Stereotype Busters Take a Stand Against Being Diverse-ish

Leaders Share Their Favorite Action Steps to #MakeEqualityMoves