Corporate Eye

Consumers Bored of Gender Stereotypical Ads

gender advertisingThis week, Canadean Custom Solutions released results from a study of consumers in the United Kingdom which reveals insights that advertisers should take note of.

The study asked 2,000 U.K. consumers to share their thoughts about grocery advertisements, and those ads that were aimed directly at men or women did not rate well. 69% of respondents believed that ads targeted to men were “outdated and stereotypical” while 68% of respondents believed ads directed at women were “outdated and stereotypical.”

As you might imagine, the younger the consumer, the more dissatisfied they are with ad content. According to the Canadean press release, 76% of 18-24 year old respondents believe ads targeted at men are outdated. 74% of the 25-34 year old demographic believe that ads aimed at women are outdated.

Some categories fared worse in the survey results than others with beer ads rating the worst. Beer ads were rated as outdated and stereotypical by 36% of the survey respondents, followed by cars (20%) and chocolate (15%).

According to the study, consumers are calling for more unisex ads, particularly in the beer category where 51% of respondents want unisex ad content. These results are very much in keeping with the findings from the redent JWT “The State of Men” report, which found a strong trend toward more fluid genders.

“Conventional ideas about male and female domains, activities, behaviors and styles are evolving: We’re moving toward a more nuanced concept of gender that questions some stereotypes and revises old assumptions. Millennials are leading the way, less confined to traditional gender roles and more willing to break long-standing norms to express their individuality. And Gen Z is poised to hold the least rigidly defined view of gender as they reach adulthood. Three out of four men agree that men and women don’t need to conform to traditional roles and behaviors anymore. The same ratio believes that gender doesn’t define a person as much as it used to.” — JWT, The State of Men Report

You can see the JWT report below.

Clearly, both men and women are not satisfied with ads that stereotype genders using outdated models. Is your brand guilty? Listen to consumers. Leave gender stereotypes behind in advertising, and results should improve.

Image: Edwin Pijpe

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.