Convened by UN Women, the Unstereotype Alliance exists to ensure that the advertising industry is a force for good by bringing together a diverse and influential coalition of partners behind the common goal of eradicating harmful stereotypes in media and advertising.
This week week we saw an example of how much remains to be done. An online ad for a burger company showed a man punching a woman for not bringing him that brand of burger.
While the ad has been widely condemned, it highlights the need for the advertising industry to continue to be vigilant in its efforts to end some of the worst examples of how it can do harm.
Key Unstereotype Alliance members have responded swiftly and appropriately, and we applaud their action. The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), a founding member of the Unstereotype Alliance, spoke directly to those responsible, saying “It is reprehensible that #BickyBurger owner Goodlife Foods and their ironically named agency Think Tomorrow think it's OK to advertise in a way that condones violence to women.”
In the specific market concerned, the Unie van Belgische Adverteerders (UBA), the Belgium based ally and partner of the Unstereotype Alliance took immediate action including by:
- Contacting the advertisers to successfully seek the ending of the campaign and a public retraction.
- Sending a statement to its advertiser-members including 7000 marketeers to condemn the campaign (https://www.ubabelgium.be/nl/news-insights/detail/2019/10/10/UBA-distantieert-zich-van-elke-communicatie-die-ingaat-tegen-de-elementaire-integriteit-van-personen).
- Requesting and securing a similar statement from Belgium’s Association of Communication Companies (ACC).
- Co-organizing with a trade publication (Media Marketing) a roundtable with major Belgian CEOs and CMOs
Our reaction when things go wrong is as important as our determination that what we do is right. We must be swift to react, to call out advertising such as this. The Unstereotype Alliance membership is ready to use its collective authority and weight to ensure that this happens.