A slight majority of women have bought a product because they liked how the brand and its advertising portray women, reports SheKnows in recent survey results. The study, which analyzed women’s perceptions of fem-vertising (“advertising that employs pro-female talent, messages and imagery to empower women and girls”), also found that 46% of respondents have followed a brand in social media because they like what the company stands for.
The survey is the latest piece of research surrounding media portrayals of various consumer segments and the influence those portrayals can have. For example, recent studies have shown that:
- 41% of 16-34-year-olds feel that brands don’t take young people seriously enough;
- African-Americans are 38% more likely to make a purchase when the ads have African-Americans included in them, although few media dollars are directed at black-focused media; and
- 6 in 10 adults over the age of 70 agree that members of their generation, when featured in advertising, are portrayed as stereotypes.
On an encouraging note, more than 6 in 10 women surveyed by SheKnows believe that any brand can enter the pro-female ad space, and more than 9 in 10 are aware of at least one pro-female ad campaign, per additional survey results reported by AdWeek. Brands that are getting it right include Dove, Nike, Hanes, Playtex and Sears, according to the survey.
Notably, roughly 7 in 10 respondents believe that brands should be held responsible for using their ads to promote positive messages to women and girls. That ties into a broader push for brands to take center stage on social causes. Consider that:
- Almost 6 in 10 Millennials (16-34) around the globe believe that brands should actively participate to improve causes;
- The degree to which a company operates with a social conscience is at least a mildly important factor for 89% of US adults when forming their impressions of companies; and
- 88% of Americans would stop buying a company’s products if they learned of the company’s irresponsible or deceptive business practices. Roughly half that proportion (42%) claim to have done so in the past year.
For women responding to the SheKnows survey, ads can both help and hurt. Some 94% believe that portraying women as sex symbols in ads is harmful, while 81% said that pro-female ads are important for younger generations to see.
In all, the SheKnows survey is another indication that brands should pay careful attention to the way they portray consumers in their advertising, and that consumers will welcome positive social messages. Authenticity is, of course, also important.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of more than 600 women fielded in September 2014.