Stereotype marketing refers to marketing campaigns based on generalised studies or common perceptions and values of certain demographic groups. While companies use demographic qualities to target specific demographic groups, making obvious generalisations and stereotypes can result in a huge backlash from the public.
Over the decades, our society has been challenging stereotypes of all different kinds. The people of today have said ENOUGH! As a society, we have fought against stereotyping people for their race, gender, religion, political stance, sexual orientation and where they grew up among other harmful assumptions. However, there are still people who are still victims of stereotyping every single day.
We often see stereotypical marketing, such as a woman in adverts for cleaning products or products for children. On the other hand, we see men being used in adverts for things such as cars and hardware. But the reality is that many people don’t actually fit into these stereotypes anymore.
As companies around the world have admitted that the way they portray people in their marketing does influence people’s opinions and perspectives, it is time for socially responsible marketing to become a common practice. Stereotype marketing no longer has a place in our society.
On the 14th of December 2018, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) announced that ads now ‘must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence.’ This followed after the ASA found after a review that a ‘tougher line is needed on ads that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics which can potentially cause harm.’
Here are some of the stereotyping marketing that is considered problematic by the ASA:
- Ads that show a man or woman failing in a task or job specifically because of their gender.
- Ads that show a person with a physique or stature that is not normally associated with their gender, which implies that their physique is the reason for their failure in specific areas such as social and romantic settings.
- Ads about new mums which suggest that keeping a pristine house and looking attractive are more important than their emotional well being.
- Ads that belittle men for taking on stereotypically female roles or tasks.
These are just a few instances where stereotype marketing can be problematic; therefore, organisations and marketers need to ensure that their adverts and campaigns do not feature any stereotypes that can potentially cause harm.
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