Over 40% of ads show women in clichéd ‘homemaker’ or ‘housewife’ role
No Ordinary Job, imagined by RAF’s creative agency Engine was the third recipient of the Diversity in Advertising Award, which invited campaigns that challenge ingrained stereotypes and the objectification and sexualisation of women.
The campaign launched as early findings from Channel 4’s research ‘Mirror On the Industry’ examining diversity in advertising revealed that the main problem with adverts featuring women is the roles in which they are portrayed rather than overall levels of representation.
The research, commissioned by Channel 4, studied the 1000 most watched TV adverts over a four week period and showed examples where women were portrayed in stereotypical and sometimes derogatory ways. In ads where women have a clearly defined role or occupation, just over 40 per cent showed women in a clichéd “homemaker” or “house wife” role.
The story of the campaign
Engine, The Royal Air Force’s creative agency, created a provocative campaign which challenged the sexist roles and negative clichés of women in advertising.
“Gender parity will lead to a more effective RAF, and I’m incredibly proud to contribute to achieving that, whilst simultaneously challenging the often lazy portrayal of women in advertising. I have been humbled by the incredible women in the RAF that I’ve met, and impressed with the fact that their gender is totally irrelevant to meeting the significant challenges they face every day.”Louise Hayward, Client Managing Director – Engine
Launching within Channel 4’s hit show, The Last Leg, the campaign mocked the gender stereotypes which frequently appear in other mainstream advertising, juxtaposing these with their own female talent serving in front line RAF roles.
“The Royal Air Force has been delighted to have worked on this venture with Channel 4 and Engine, allowing us to showcase the vast range of exciting opportunities available, regardless of gender. As an inclusive employer, the Royal Air Force continues to support each and every one of our personnel noting that they are as unique as the roles they fill. Through teamwork we move forward in breaking down stereotypical barriers and hope to encourage others to do so through this campaign.”Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, Chief of Staff Personnel and Air Secretary – RAF
The theme of the award came in a year which has seen a spotlight turned on to gender pay gaps, the flourishing of the #MeToo movement, and 100 years since the first women won the right to vote in the UK.
“At its worst, the portrayal of women in advertising has a huge impact on society at large, reinforcing negative stereotypes. The campaign by the Royal Air Force and Engine vividly encapsulates the issues and I really hope the moment it airs on Channel 4 will act as a catalyst for change in how women are portrayed in advertising.”Matt Salmon, Head of Agency and Client Sales – Channel 4