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Mars Releases Findings on Gender Representation in Advertising at Cannes Lions



In partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the findings suggest that we all have more work to do to reflect the diversity of consumers in marketing and advertising

Mars Releases Findings on Gender Representation in Advertising at Cannes Lions
Mars, Incorporated today announced initial findings from research commissioned with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary's University (the Institute) at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Speaking during the Institute’s panel, Mars representative and chief category officer for Mars Wrigley Berta De Pablos said: “As one of the world’s most awarded advertisers, Mars has a responsibility to shape the world we want tomorrow. 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.”

The research leveraged the Institute’s proprietary GD-IQ (Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient) machine learning tool to analyse more than 200 Mars global television adverts across various Chocolate, Gum, Fruity Confections, Petcare and Food brands. As part of the research methodology, the Institute utilised GD-IQ along with ‘hand-coding’ techniques to identify more than 300 prominent characters that were further analysed. While Mars is shown as better than the industry baseline*, the findings revealed deficiencies related to gender representation.

The Institute research found that within Mars advertising:

- Ratio of 3:2 of number of men vs women
- Men are nearly twice as likely to be shown working than women
- 22% of male characters are shown as leaders vs 17% of female characters
- More male than female characters are depicted with an occupation – 26% vs 11%, respectively
Madeline Di Nonno, CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, added: “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. Data has always been the key to inspire dialogue and motivate systemic change across the industry as we recognise the need to achieve equal and positive gender representation in advertising and media.” 

By working with agency partners, the Institute, and the UN’s Unstereotype Alliance, Mars will begin approaching its advertising with a new lens and deeper commitment to close the gap on gender representation and stereotyping in their marketing and advertising.

*The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media research benchmarked Mars’ performance against Cannes-winning campaigns from 2006 – 2016.
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