Women’s History Month: The Evolution On How Women Are Marketed To

Women’s History Month provides an ideal opportunity to reflect on how women have been viewed, portrayed and treated throughout time. The field of marketing is an especially great example of this as attitudes towards women and the role of women in advertising have seen a significant shift, often in line with political and social developments.

At the present time, there is a greater focus on conscious advertising, which involves including the excluded, being aware of changes in society, and seeing injustice and choosing to act, rather than being part of the problem. However, this has not always been the case, especially when it comes to the ways women have been targeted by ads.

In this article, we will explore how women are marketed to and how these strategies have evolved over time, starting before World War II and ending with the attitudes and techniques that are prevalent today.

Homemakers to Wartime Workers and Back Again

Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, the conventional depiction of women in advertising was as homemakers and housewives. During the war, this changed for two main reasons. Firstly, women took on many of the domestic jobs that had previously been occupied by men. Secondly, a growing number of women entered into the field of marketing.

As a result, marketers began to depict women as workers and target them with relevant products and messaging. During this era, in the United States, Rosie the Riveter became a cultural icon, appearing in adverts designed to recruit women into defence-related roles. Many of these women even referred to themselves as “Rosies”.

Unfortunately, the end of the war and the return of men to the workplace saw a regression. The 1950s and 1960s were largely dominated by attitudes treating women as homemakers once again and much of the advertising geared towards them was for domestic accessories and appliances, promoted via women’s magazines and daytime television.

The Housewife, the Sex Object and the Superwoman

Despite the fact that women accounted for almost half of the workforce in the 1970, depictions in advertising were still largely focused on women in the role of housewife. Yet there was also a growing movement that focused on women’s sexuality, often with some highly questionable results.

A 2019 feature from Duke University describes this as a misrepresentation of American women and quotes the National Advertising Review Board, 1975: “Advertising often features women’s sexuality to the neglect of her individuality. The charge is that advertising portrays women as ‘sex objects’.”

This subsequently gave rise to the idea of the ‘Superwoman’, who could juggle being a wife, being a parent, being sexually liberated and having a successful career. However, this era is often criticised for setting unrealistic expectations for women; a theme that would continue in different ways in every decade since.

Signs of Progress Throughout the 1980s and 1990s

Although advertising targeted towards women throughout the 1980s and 1990s faced the aforementioned criticism for setting harmful beauty standards and creating unrealistic expectations — especially in cases that featured women advertising their bodies as much as products — there were also some notable signs of progress.

One example of this was the increased presence of women within advertising agencies. Madonna Badger joined Calvin Klein in 1990 and spearheaded the brand’s iconic campaign featuring Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg, while also launching CK One. Cindy Gallop was responsible for ads for huge brands like Coca-Cola, Polaroid and Ray-Ban.

The famous Diet Coke Break campaign from the 1990s also served as one of the first examples of gender roles in advertising being challenged and reversed, with the campaign featuring men being objectified by women. This served as a good example of the advertising industry becoming more aware of the criticism aimed at its depiction of women.

21st Century: Diversity, Inclusion, Niche Interests

The turn of the 21st century saw a growing awareness that women make more purchasing decisions than men. This resulted in diversification of how and where women were targeted and the messages they were presented with.

Marketers have faced continued scrutiny over depictions of women in advertising, due to the impact on young girls, but there has also been a positive shift, with a greater focus on issues like inclusion and representation.

Emerging online concepts, including contextual targeting advertising and similar techniques, also allow marketers to reach women with niche interests and target them with content that is relevant to their online activity.

With that being said, there is still significant scope for further progress. In 2019, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media examined ads put up for awards at the Cannes Lions festival. It found that male characters were depicted as working twice as often as female characters. Men also had twice as much speaking time and screen time.

This represents a key area of opportunity for marketers to improve depictions of women further. Meanwhile, another opportunity involves including more women in marketing teams. Research shows businesses in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to outperform their national industry medians for financial returns.

Closing Thoughts

Throughout the decades, there has been a significant evolution in the way women are targeted through marketing: from the homemaker depictions of the pre-war era and the 1950s and ’60s, through to the ‘sex object’ and ‘Superwoman’ depictions that were commonplace in the 1970s. Signs of progress were visible in the ’80s and ’90s, but it is only in more recent times that issues like objectification, diversity, representation and inclusion have been taken seriously.

Online marketing, the rise of more targeted, contextual advertising services and a growing realization that women are the main driving force behind consumer decisions have all led to a situation where women can now be targeted more accurately, with relevant content, even at times where they are pursuing niche interests and hobbies.

Channel Factory signals 2024 growth goals by appointing Kartik Mehta as Head of Asia – Growth Markets

Kartik will be playing a key role in driving growth for Channel Factory in 2024, with a keen focus on India and South East Asia

London, UK, March, 2024 – Channel Factory, the global brand suitability and contextual advertising platform, has appointed Kartik Mehta as Head of Asia – Growth Markets. Kartik’s announcement follows that of former OMD managing partner Linus Hjoberg, who joined Channel Factory as New Zealand Managing Director in September 2023. Bringing with him over a decade of experience in tech sales, Kartik will be solidifying Channel Factory’s position in emerging markets, whilst aiding Channel Factory’s sustained global growth through enhancing and localizing its global strategy.

Since 2013, Kartik has gained invaluable experience across technology sales with his most notable achievements centering around market expansion. This includes launching and building out emerging markets in Asia/South East Asia, Middle East and Africa, for the likes of Vserv, YouAppi as well as the expansion of Silverpush into North America and the UK.

Within his most recent role as Chief Revenue Officer/Chief Operating Officer at Silverpush, Kartik played a pivotal role in establishing and growing the global business from its inception in 2017. Under his leadership, the company expanded its footprint to 15+ geographies, achieved double-digit million dollar earnings, introduced new revenue streams through programmatic partnerships with the likes of IrisTV, Pubmatic and garnered multiple industry awards.

Prior to this extensive experience in technology sales, Kartik spent over a decade in global advertising agencies such as JWT, Ogilvy and Cheil. He is also a sought after speaker, having appeared at the likes of iMedia and MMA, so this role is the perfect culmination of over 20 years’ of strategic experience relevant to Channel Factory.

Robin Zieme, Chief Growth Officer, who commented: “Advertising is one of only a handful of industries that is seeing continued and sustained growth in emerging markets, despite macroeconomic pressures. As such, it’s important that you seize the opportunities with many companies vying for dominance. Having Kartik join our Global Management Team, with his impressive experience in expanding businesses into emerging markets, will enable Channel Factory to identify and grab as many opportunities as possible across India and South East Asia. I look forward to having Kartik elevate our global strategy in order to drive the greatest growth possible.”

Kartik Mehta added: “Channel Factory has undergone some really impressive growth over the past few years, but there are still so many opportunities ahead to expand upon this. It’s the opportunity to implement new strategies across emerging markets in order to drive growth that pushed me to join Channel Factory. I’m looking forward to taking this exciting challenge head on, and seeing, in real-time, the impact our team can deliver in these markets.”

About Channel Factory

Channel Factory is a global technology and data platform that maximizes both performance efficiency and contextual suitability and alignment, turning YouTube’s 5 billion videos and 500 hours per minute of new content into brand-suitable, efficient advertising opportunities. Channel Factory’s mission is to create a suitable video ecosystem that connects creators, brands, and consumers – by enabling advertisers access to the most relevant videos, channels, and creators.

Through their proprietary platform that harnesses the power of the deepest YouTube dataset in the industry, Channel Factory has enabled advanced brand suitability, customized content alignment targeting, and maximum performance for the world’s biggest brands. Channel Factory’s algorithm ensures not only that advertisers run against content that aligns with their brand but also delivers outcomes by optimizing campaigns using active and historical campaign performance data.

Channel Factory has offices across the USA and is present in over 30 countries worldwide including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Ukraine, Australia, and Singapore.

The Good and Bad of Using AI to Create Content Videos and Its Impact on Advertising

OpenAI, the creators of the popular ChatGPT artificial intelligence language processing chatbot, recently announced a game-changing new AI model, facilitating text-to-video content creation. The model, named Sora, is able to create realistic and complex video scenes, featuring multiple characters, dynamic backgrounds and specific types of movement.

The emergence of text-to-video AI models has led to understandable excitement, especially among those who will benefit from easier and faster content creation for advertising and marketing purposes. However, it is also essential to understand some of the possible drawbacks of the AI video content creation technology too. In this article, we explore the good and bad of using it to create video content.

Benefits of AI Video Content

First, it is important to understand the benefits of text-to-video AI models and why there is such excitement.

1. Quick and Easy Content Creation

A major benefit associated with the introduction of text-to-video AI models, like Sora, is the ease and speed with which video content will be able to be created. The basic process involves entering simple text instructions, much like the main ChatGPT system, with AI then outputting a video that matches the prompts.

Having the tools to easily create video content can provide a huge boost to marketers, because this content is in demand and highly effective. In fact, 92% of marketers told Wyzowl’s State of Video Marketing survey they get a good ROI from video content — an all-time high percentage since the company started its surveys in 2015.

2. Democratisation of Video Content Creation

As Chinyere Farr-Douglas, Social Media Manager at Channel Factory, explains in an article published on LinkedIn, one of the big plus points associated with text-to-video AI is the democratisation of video content creation. Essentially, anyone will have the capability of creating video content, without the need for filming and editing equipment, or specialist knowledge.

This will provide more people with the opportunity to share unique stories and perspectives, promote ideas and reach audiences with professional-grade video content. It could also provide individuals and small businesses with capabilities that would previously have been restricted to those with the financial resources to employ experts.

3. Potential for Personalisation

Another significant benefit AI video content creation can provide is the ability to personalise video content quickly and effortlessly. For example, a business could create a video that specifically targets individual customers, with characters in the video referring to them by name, or with their name appearing in a scene of the video.

According to research carried out by Econsultancy and Google, 90% of leading marketing professionals say that personalisation significantly contributes to business profitability. Having access to another tool for creating personalised content can help businesses to target high-value customers and boost their conversion rates.

Drawbacks of AI Video Content

While there are clear positives associated with using AI to create videos, it is worth looking at the drawbacks too.

1. The Lack of a Human Touch

A particularly common complaint when dealing with AI for any content creation is the lack of an authentic human touch. There is a growing sense that people are becoming wise to AI, better at detecting its use and that there are some negative connotations associated with using it to create content. This is likely to extend to video content.

The lack of a human touch may also work against marketers on a more technical level, especially in the long run. In response to the rise of AI-generated written content, Google released its helpful content update, which it said was designed to adjust the Google algorithms to prioritise content that is written “by people, for people”. It stands to reason that similar algorithms may be developed by Google and other key platforms to prioritise human video creations as well.

2. Misinformation and Risk of Damaging Trust

Another possible drawback of using AI to create content videos is related to the rise of misinformation. For instance, the use of deepfake technology has led to some serious concerns about the ethics of AI’s use with video content.

One particularly high-profile incident saw a number of celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, criticise the use of AI deepfake technology, which falsely gave the impression they had endorsed a controversial self-help course.

While OpenAI’s new platform does not use deepfake technology, it does potentially provide brands with opportunities to engage in misinformation campaigns, which could further erode public trust in AI technology and also video content in general.

3. Concerns About Quality Control

Finally, there are some understandable concerns that the ease with which video content can be created using AI will lead to a point where the market experiences an influx of low-quality videos. This could, in turn, lead to a situation where the average quality level for video marketing is reduced, making the medium less engaging and less effective.

Some have also raised concerns about the impact the technology could have on professional video editors and videographers. While non-specialists will have more opportunities to create video content themselves, this could result in a new reality, where skilled professionals are driven out of their industry. As a result, they will not be there when they are needed for more complex projects, which really do require direct human involvement.

The Last Word

OpenAI has unveiled its text-to-video AI platform and the technology is creating a buzz for its potential uses in advertising. The major benefit is that the platform will make it easier for people who do not possess specialist skills and knowledge to create video content. This means that the ai video content creation process will also be extremely fast and cost-effective.

Nevertheless, the technology needs to be used responsibly, with an appreciation for some of the drawbacks too. Without due care, the influx of AI videos could offset the quality of marketing videos and impact the effectiveness of the medium. There are also ethical worries, and concerns about customers detecting the lack of an authentic human touch and the potential for distortion of the truth, which will affect trust in brand content.

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