Facebook Releases New Report on the Benefits of Gender-Positive Messaging
I'm not sure how I feel about Facebook's latest IQ Insights report into the benefits of gender equity-based messages for brands.
Titled "How Gender-Positive Ads Pay-Off", the report incorporates the results of a survey of more than 1,500 people in the US, with researchers finding that people responded 8-10% more positively to brands that engaged in gender-positive advertising, among other things.
Which is a powerful message for sure, it clearly underlines the importance of promoting equality. But should that be for marketing purposes? Should you need such measures to 'pay-off' as inferred in the report title?
It's safe to assume that Facebook's message is not necessarily to promote equality as a means to boost your brand messaging, but more as a matter of principle - you're unlikely to see backlash from consumers for doing so. But even so, shouldn't this just be a given? It's not really like a preference, like saying you like dogs or cats more - equality is something makes common, human sense. Yes, you should be looking to engage in gender-positive advertising, but more operatively, you should absolutely not be creating sexist ads.
In the further notes from the report, Facebook better illustrates its point -
"We compared [sentiment on] a selection of brands that engaged in gender-positive advertising in the past year - such as by celebrating female athleticism or encouraging girls to study math and science - to brands that were less vocal on the topic. Our analysis indicated that on average, Facebook posts about brands that shared gender-positive messaging were significantly more positive than those about brands that did so less or not at all"
This is a more operative point, that moving away from gender sterotypes of times past should be encouraged, but still, the implication that you should consider using the issue as a vehicle for promotion in itself feels a little off.
Nevertheless, the full report does underline some important themes and notes on equality, which Facebook closes out with this statement:
"Marketing doesn't just reflect culture - it shapes it. Contribute to social good and capture consumers' attention by busting stereotypes and promoting positive, empowering depictions of people of all genders."
Definitely, that's a more effective, and positive, message than the report's title implies - it's not necessarily about having such efforts 'pay off' as it is about moving on from past depictions and considering people as people, with a wide variety interest, skills and traits, regardless of gender.
That message is more universal than just ads, and is applicable in all aspects of life, not just on Facebook.
You can read the full "How Gender-Positive Ads Pay Off" report here.
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