Unruly / Blog / 10 Things We Learned From Universal McCann’s Ground-Breaking ‘Women In Ads’ Research On #Onerulyday

10 Things We Learned From Universal McCann’s Ground-Breaking ‘Women In Ads’ Research On #Onerulyday

Universal McCann this year partnered with Thinkbox TV and the Museum of Brands to examine the portrayal of women in ads, and the impact this has on the public.

The research also looked at harmful stereotypes more generally, examining how identities and gender roles are presented for both men and women.

For our quarterly #onerulyday – our company-wide hackathon in which we focus on a specific issue or launch – Unruly today turned its attention to the subject of diversity. And we were lucky enough to have Michael Brown from UM stop by the office and present the agency’s findings.

There was a lot of great facts that we wanted to share with the world, so here are the 10 most interesting things we learned today:


1. 77% of women interviewed in a nationally-representative poll claimed they find the way women are generally portrayed in advertising to be stereotypical, 65% of men agreed.


2. UK women cited the 5 recurring roles they considered most prevalent in ads today: ‘bimbo’, ‘domestic goddess’, and ‘shopaholic’, ‘it girl’ and ‘housewife’.


3. Female respondents indicated that some of these stereotypes are more offensive than others, with 68% of women finding the ‘bimbo’ type to be most offensive.


4. 50% of men claimed they had felt the need to look or behave in a certain way because of how they are represented in advertising.


5. Male respondents in the UM’s survey pointed to the most common pressures being to be unemotional, strong, ‘laddy’, sporty and a ‘breadwinner’.


6. 30% of people say stereotypes make them feel like they’re not good enough.


7. 50% of women self-define as feminist – a rate that rose dramatically among younger groups (among 13-18 year-old young women, 70% self-defined as feminist).


8. 60% of people said they like it when brands use traditional types of adverts to challenge stereotypes.


9. 50% of UK citizens say there is ‘no future for brands that show outdated stereotypes of women in their campaigns’.


10. 40% women claimed to be likelier to buy products from brands that challenge stereotypes of women, indicating that being progressive in this area can also lead to commercial gain.


P.s. As part of #onerulyday, we asked our global teams to sum up diversity in one word, these are their responses…