While we are one of the world’s top advertisers, the truth is we have more work to do through our marketing and advertising in reflecting society as it is, and in driving positive change.
We believe the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today. We are a privately held business built on a culture that invites, values and engages every Associate voice equally and we believe we must do the same to engage consumers in our advertising campaigns. The marketing of our brands must speak to, and celebrate, the diversity of the audiences who enjoy them.
We are more than just our products and services. Our Associates, customers and consumers expect that we visibly live our commitment to our purpose, principles and what we stand for as a business. That's why we were a founding signatory of the UN's Unstereotype Alliance at Cannes in 2017 and why we are committed to the mission of the Alliance, a key element of which holding ourselves accountable by the measurement of advertising.
We forged a partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media at Mount St Mary’s University (the Institute) to understand where we stand today and to ensure our advertising was more representative of our consumer base.
The Institute research benchmarked Mars performance against Cannes-winning campaigns between 2017 and 2018. Although the results revealed Mars' advertising is better than this industry baseline in many ways, the reality is there is significant opportunity for all of us to prioritize the equitable inclusion and representation of women.
The study used the proprietary GD-IQ tool to evaluate more than 200 Mars television ads across our Chocolate, Gum, Fruity Confections, Petfood and Food brands and shows deficiencies related to gender representation, due largely to unconscious biases, as well as the use of derogatory stereotypes in our marketing.
And sadly, the industry-wide research shows we’re not alone in our shortcomings with respect to gender representation and stereotypes: we all need to do more.
What we found out
The ratio of men to women in our advertising has been 3:2.
We found that men were almost 2x more likely to be shown working in our ads.
More male characters were shown as leaders, than females in our ads.
We hope disclosing some of our research will encourage more of our industry peers to look at their own advertising so we can collectively work towards a tomorrow that features the inclusion and representation of gender in all advertising.
We will leverage insights from the Institute's research to begin closing the gap on gender representation and stereotypes in our own advertising.
Part of this work will include the development of a comprehensive plan, in partnership with our agencies, the Institute and the Unstereotype Alliance.
This will include at how we can make our marketing more inclusive, building off the work we have done with SKITTLES "Give the Rainbow. Taste the Rainbow" to celebrate LGBTQ+ our campaign to normalize disability from MALTESERS in the UK. Both were great starts however we want inclusion to be in the fabric of all we do.