Audi’s “Daughter” has certainly been one of the most talked commercials in this year’s Super Bowl, with 12 million views on YouTube and ranked the third on Ad Meter (Ad Meter, 2017). Narrated by the voice of a father, this commercial shows a cart race won by his daughter and advocates gender equality.
Advertisements concerning gender issues have been increasingly popular, talking about gender equality, stereotypes and female empowerment (Schultz, 2017). Among them, there are Always’ “Like A Girl” which infuses positive meanings into a stereotyped description, and Pantene’s “Labels Against Women” which encourages women to be strong. From the perspective of female audience, it feels great to see advertisements are taking notice of these issues and making efforts to convey encouraging messages. Brands with sincere caring propositions can therefore win enhanced recognition and more sales from woman customers.
However, what about men?
According to Ad Meter (2017), “Daughter” has the largest rating difference between females and males among the commercials in Super Bowl. It could be implied that, commercials promoting gender equality and breaking woman stereotypes are not quite effective to man audience. Concerning the purpose, if brands are aimed at resonating with female consumers or expanding the customer base to reach more women, they have achieved their goals. Nevertheless, they may fail to exert a more profound influence on the gender issues they address, since they only inspire females and neglect males’ thoughts to an extent.
What’s more, these advertisements may depict male characters in a relatively negative way (BBC, 2017). To be more specific, in “Like A Girl”, a boy says some words that could insult his sister and thinks girls are usually effeminate. In “Daughter”, the boy competitors are complacent and also bully the girl by bumping her on the racing track. These depictions could send the messages to audience that men are not treating women with equality and seeing them with gender stereotypes. Inevitably, men could be placed on the opposite side of what are being praised and encouraged in these advertisements. Aren’t these also composing the stereotypes of men?
“The representation of gender is advertising needs to move on from a focus on ‘objectifying women’ to thinking about people as a whole” (Chahal, 2016, para. 1). Endeavor to break stereotypes of women might bring about forming stereotypes of men (Chahal, 2016). It is thus vital for brands to take responsibility for the messages that they are conveying to consumers. How do you feel about these advertisements advocating gender equality and breaking stereotypes of women? What do you think of the different responses from males and females about these advertisements? Are these advertisement forming stereotypes of men in some ways?
As consumers, we don’t want to be described with stereotypes in commercials. As marketers, maybe we need to think further about how to convey the messages.
Ad Meter. (2017). 2017 Ad Meter Results. Retrieved from http://admeter.usatoday.com/results/2017
Ad Meter. (2017). “Daughter”. Retrieved from http://admeter.usatoday.com/commercials/daughter/
BBC. (2017, February 6). Super Bowl: Audi’s Daughter ad divides viewers. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38885451
Chahal, M. (2016, October 5). Gender stereotyping is about people not just women. Marketing Week. Retrieved from https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/10/05/unilever-gender-stereotyping-is-about-people-not-just-about-women/
Schultz, E.J. (2017, February 1). Audi Addresses the Gender Pay Gap in Its Super Bowl Ad. Creativity. Retrieved from http://creativity-online.com/work/audi-daughter/50757