Black woman laughing out loud

How women want to be represented in ads

There’s still very limited progress in advertisements aimed at women according to the authors of the book Brandsplaying.

The researchers (25.3%) conducted 4,000 hours’ worth of interviews and discussion groups with women about their needs, their desires and where brands were failing. They discovered what characteristics and roles women aspire. Intelligence and sense of humour were ranked at the top. Romantic love, marriage and finding someone to look after them financially, is very low down the list. Their findings don’t resonate with current ads. E.g. only 3% of all ads represents women being funny themselves.

Besides women are still told how to look and how to behave. Whereas, ads aimed at men, are much more endorsing and positive. “The critical eye women get just isn’t there; it’s more of we see you, we endorse you and we really like you” according to one of the researchers Philippa Roberts (6.9%). At TrendsActive we don’t fully agree with this statement. We often see men are misunderstood by brands as well when looking at how they are represented in ads. 

Women now globally outnumber men in university attendance and graduation rates (4.6%). Meanwhile, women take on more prominent roles (3.4%) in politics, leadership and sports. With these shifts in society, the changes in aspirations among women don’t come as a surprise to us. If brands want to appeal to large groups of women, they have to acknowledge the changes in traditional role models and, according to the research, should serve them instead of adding to their list of problems by telling them how to look and behave.