Three out of every five advertisements by Mars feature men, according to initial findings from a research commissioned by the company. Men are also nearly twice as likely to be shown working than women. Similarly, more male (26%) than female (11%) characters are depicted with an occupation. Out of the characters shown as leaders, 22% are male, and 17% are female.
The research, which was conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary's University, leveraged the proprietary Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient machine learning tool. More than 200 Mars global television advertisements across various chocolate, gum, fruity confections, petcare and food brands were analysed as part of the research.
While Mars is shown as better than the industry baseline when benchmarked against Cannes-winning campaigns from 2006 to 2016, the findings revealed deficiencies related to gender representation. According to the press release, Mars will begin approaching its advertising "with a new lens and deeper commitment" to close the gap on gender representation and stereotyping in its marketing and advertising. It will do so by working with agency partners such as the Institute and the UN’s Unstereotype Alliance.
Speaking during the Institute’s panel at the recent Cannes festival, chief category officer for Mars Wrigley Berta De Pablos rallied the industry to take action to promote gender diversity in advertising, while acknowledging that Mars has a responsibility to do so as well. He said:
We believe the best advertisements are about more than just great creative. The best ads take on the responsibility to accurately reflect society.
"We hope that by releasing some of our findings from the Institute we can encourage the larger industry to prioritise the equitable inclusion and representation of women,” added De Pablos.
“We are proud to partner with Mars, a company that has iconic brands and global scale, in taking proactive and progressive actions to examine gender representation in their ads and also for sharing these findings at Cannes Lion," said Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. She added that data has been the key to inspire dialogue and motivate systemic change across the industry to achieve equal and positive gender representation in advertising and media.
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