LAST ONE STANDING – By @JacobDeFig
By Jacob de Figueiredo
LAST ONE STANDING
I had the pleasure of spending a Monday evening at Google soaking up the insightful knowledge of some ad men and women who have developed unconventional thoughts about our industry and the way we are working. They were given the opportunity to share these thoughts at an event called LAST ONE STANDING, which was hosted by the charismatic editor of the Drum, Gordon Young. We spend over £20 billion on advertising in the UK each year. That’s a lot of ads. So the objective of the night was to find out what the next generation of advertising leaders believe are the ad-land stereotypes such as the ‘mysterious girl in the perfume ads’ or ‘the hapless bumbling Dad’ that are way past their sell-by date.
The first talk was from Google’s own Andre Vegia who tackled gender inequality issues. He displayed some pretty shocking stats about the way women are currently portrayed in advertising.
3% of Ads show women in leadership roles
2% show intelligent women
1% show women being funny
Andre says this is due to gender stereotyping which occurs within advertising at a very young age.
Children’s advertising is split by gender lines, boys and girls advertising needs to stop.
Barbie is the world’s best selling toy and there’s never been a boy featured in any of their ADs.
Girls are never seen in what are portrayed to be stereotypical ‘boys toys’ adverts.
People are still searching for either ‘boys toys’ or ‘girls toys’ on Google when they’re doing their shopping. Norway and Sweden have banned advertising to children under the age of 12 completely and ‘boys toys and ‘girls toys’ searches don’t exist in those countries.
Andre finishes by stating that we must start advertising to children if we wish to reach gender equality within our adverts, not boys and girls.
“We want a tech first” was the main comment from the night. The speaker was bored of hearing companies over using the use of the word innovation and constantly hearing phrases such as, “Let’s have a tech first!” and “Let’s hand this brief over to the head of innovation.” She stated that innovation doesn’t always mean using Snapchat or Facebook as medium for advertising, traditional ‘innovation’ still has a place in the modern world and if anything, it stands out against the sea of brands desperately trying to get their product known within a digital world. She gave an example of how people in Cambodia weren’t getting enough iron into their system, as they didn’t agree on eating the correct foods in order to gain the iron supply their desperately needed. The idea of eating iron was disgusting to them. So they disguised the iron in a fish tablet, which the people were more than happy to consume as it removed the concept of it being iron. Super simple, but so effective. She was trying to communicate the fact that you don’t have to over complicate things in order to stand out with your advertising, true innovation will always shine through regardless of the medium you’re using.
Real innovation is solving a genuine problem, just ask yourself, do people really need or want this?
“You cannot kill advertising stereotypes”
The last talk was definitely controversial and over relatively quickly, it was by a woman called Sarah Mann who basically said that advertising has been built around stereotypes and no matter how hard we try, we cannot change them. Consumers have an attention span of 8% and we need to stop focusing on stereotypes and focus on creating content that’s immediately engaging. She then went on to say that we spend far too much on advertising and we should be putting 10% of the UKs yearly spend on advertising (£20bn) into funding schools across the UK.
Winner – Andre Vegia
A gracious win from Andre, his argument was coherent and very well articulated. It was interesting to see his take on stereotyping within our industry, something you would initially think about but when you do, you realize how much sense it makes. It’s a big dream of his, but one I think is important in order to see change.
I learned a lot from all 3 talks, but the main thing I realized is how powerful networking is. If I hadn’t have had the courage to talk to two random people at an event, none of this would have happened. Just goes to show what can happen if you simply say hi.