Innovative campaign from nation’s largest advertisers aims to
portray women and girls in a more accurate and equitable light in
advertising and content by 2020
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Despite the strides made in recent decades to accurately portray women
and women’s issues in the media, an unconscious bias persists against
women and girls in advertising, media, and programming. In response, the
Association of National Advertisers Alliance for Family Entertainment
(ANA AFE) is spearheading an initiative to address it, #SeeHer.
The mission of #SeeHer is to accurately portray all girls and women in
media so that by 2020, they see themselves reflected as they truly are.
(The 2016 Oxford Dictionary defines “accurately” as “in a way that is
correct in all details.”)
The year 2020 commemorates the 100th anniversary of American women
obtaining the right to vote. The goal of the initiative is to realize a
20-plus percent increase in the accurate portrayal of all girls and
women by that time.
The White House has called out fixing the biased portrayal of women in
the media as critical to the country’s future. Through the #SeeHer
initiative, national marketers are taking up the challenge, with
innovative industry leaders such as Gail Tifford, Unilever North America
vice president of media and digital engagement, and Shelley Zalis, CEO
and founder of The Girl’s Lounge, a collaborative industry movement
working to achieve equality and equal opportunity in the workplace.
The #SeeHer initiative was announced by Bob Liodice, CEO of the
Association of National Advertisers (ANA), at the United State of Women
Summit in Washington, D.C. More than 50 national marketers met yesterday
at the White House to officially launch the effort.
“We know that media plays an enormous role in society and women are not
accurately portrayed,” said Stephen Quinn, AFE chairman and one of the
nation’s most-influential marketers. “A key step to meaningful progress
is helping women and girls see themselves for who they really are by
positively and proactively working in media. Whether ads or content,
media wields enormous power in fostering change in society.”
Immediate elements of #SeeHer include:
encourage participating ANA AFE brands to review their ads and the ad
development process for unconscious bias.
work with media partners to accurately portray girls and women within
the content where their ads will be placed.
toolkits produced for marketers, ad agencies, media agencies, and
content creators, with a scorecard for creating ads, content, and
programming that accurately portray women and girls.
- brands promote the #SeeHer hashtag to their consumers.
a data-tracking Gender Equality Measure to identify best-in-class
advertising and programming that supports girls and women.
Starting in July, research partner ABX will begin publishing
top-scoring ads on a weekly basis, and TiVo will publish top programs
on a quarterly basis.
a #SeeHer website where consumers can see the best ads and content
that reflect the initiative’s message.
#SeeHer will be supported and spread at Girl’s Lounge events at major
The ANA AFE, a collective of the nation’s largest advertisers
representing more than 500 family brands, is the industry’s foremost
advocate for sophisticated, realistic, family-themed content on
traditional and digital platforms. The group’s research shows that women
make or influence 93 percent of food purchases and 85 percent of
consumer purchases. More than nine out of ten vacation decisions are
made or influenced by women and eight out of ten health care decisions.
Millennial women in particular are attuned to gender bias in media.
“We know that the right advertising environment for women can improve ad
effectiveness by as much as 30 percent,” said Liodice. “So there is a
business imperative to truthfully and accurately portray women and
girls. More importantly, it’s the right thing to do. Our role is to help
brands come together to deliver the #SeeHer message and begin the
process of transformative change in the marketing ecosystem. We’ll know
that the job is done when every CMO and agency CEO associated with the
ANA never produces an ad that diminishes the role of girls or women in
“We need to show our daughters that nothing is beyond their reach, and
media can play a pivotal role in that effort,” added Tifford. “I am
looking forward to 2020, when we celebrate the historic vote that gave
American women full citizenship, with significantly more positive,
aspirational role models for girls and women in media.”
“The AFE is taking a highly unique system-wide approach to driving
progress behind our #SeeHer initiative. Personal leadership from
marketers, agencies, and programmers are paramount to gaining scale and
results. While we appreciate executives “cheering us on,” we really
value the engaged executives who are personally driving change. To that
end, our stretch goal is 100-plus engaged corporate partners by 2020,”
added Jim Bechtold, AFE co-executive director.
A coalition of advocacy partners inspired by the White House call to
action will broaden the initiative’s impact. The Girls’ Lounge is a
strategy partner who will work with brands to increase visibility of
women and girls in a positive way throughout their advertising and
media. “We need to be conscious of our unconscious biases and ensure the
visibility of women and girls in media and advertising is authentic and
inspiring because we believe if you can see her you can be her,” said
“Gender equality is common sense, and we are pleased to be a resource
for the creative community and the #SeeHer initiative,” said James P.
Steyer, CEO of Common Sense, a child-centered media rating and advocacy
organization accessed by 65 million users. “Media images and messages
can impact children’s confidence, emotional health, and academic and
eventual professional success. Through #SeeHer, Common Sense will
further help parents, educators and content creators identify and
promote media that can have a positive impact on our kids.”
“Every chief marketing officer who cares about women as part of their
core target audience should care deeply about the #SeeHer initiative.
Especially as Millennial females have exceptionally high levels of
dissatisfaction with bias in the media and this will grow over time.
Bottom line, we are forecasting the strongest business and brand
reputation gains by brands who proactively address biases in both their
advertising and programming placement choices,” concluded Quinn.
About the ANA and AFE
Association of National Advertisers (ANA)
The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) provides leadership that
advances marketing excellence and shapes the future of the industry.
Founded in 1910, the ANA’s membership includes more than 650 companies
with 10,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in
marketing and advertising. The ANA also includes the Business
Marketing Association (BMA) and the Brand
Activation Association (BAA) which operate as divisions of the ANA.
The ANA advances the interests of marketers and promotes and protects
the well-being of the marketing community. For more information, visit
http://www.ana.net, follow us on Twitter,
or join us on Facebook.
ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment (AFE)
Supported by the ANA, the ANA AFE is a coalition of national advertisers
with more than 500 family brands, whose members represent $20+ billion
of U.S. television ad spend. With members including American Licorice,
Campbell Soup Company, Chick-Fil-A, The Clorox Company, The Coca-Cola
Company, Colgate-Palmolive, Corr-Jensen Inc., Crayola, FedEx,
Georgia-Pacific, IBM, J.M. Smucker, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark,
PepsiCo, Post Foods, Procter & Gamble Co., Rich Products Corp., SC
Johnson, Sensio, Six Flags, State Farm Insurance, Subway®, T-Mobile,
TiVo, TracFone, Unilever, Verizon Wireless, Walmart, Weight Watchers,
and Wendy’s, the group’s mission is to find, nurture, and support
high-quality content the entire family can enjoy on multiple
distribution platforms. Since its inception in 1998, the AFE has
utilized its collective member strength to help bring to air more than
20 prime-time broadcast network television hits, kept innovative family
content in the development pipeline, teamed with YouTube for the
industry’s first family content partnership, and created the Search for
America’s Newest Scriptwriter contest, the nation’s leading competition
for storytellers of tomorrow. For more information visit www.anaafe.net.
ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment
Patty Kerr, 310-344-4487