At the halfway point toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals, new industry standard metric will encourage more progressive portrayals in ads.

Publish Date: Eki 30, 2023

New York, Tuesday 31 October. The Unstereotype Alliance, an industry-led coalition convened by UN Women to eradicate harmful stereotypes in advertising content, today launches its Progressive Unstereotype Metric (PUM), developed in partnership with Kantar. The new metric evaluates all characters in an ad, measuring how progressive the representations are. The metric was developed with a focus on measuring representations of age, race & ethnicity, and disability, and should be implemented in addition to the existing Gender Unstereotype Metric (GUM) – which evaluates female and male characters to identify gender stereotypes.

The benchmark research*, conducted by Kantar, found that while members of the Unstereotype Alliance produce more ‘unstereotyped’ content overall, under-represented communities were rarely featured in advertising in 2022. Globally, only 1% of ads feature a person living with a disability; 33% feature people with different skin colours and ethnicities; while 33% of men and 21% of women in ads are over the age of 40.

The new metric aligns with the Unstereotype Alliance’s extended mandate to eradicate all harmful stereotypes, rather than focusing exclusively on gender stereotypes - a move formalized in 2020 when the Alliance began lobbying for more accountability across the industry. Its 2022 State of the Industry report cites a growing urgency for progress.

“It has always been critical to authentically represent the full and rich diversity of our communities in advertising. But at the halfway point of the Sustainable Development Goals, when we are so off track, this has come into even sharper focus,” said Sara Denby, Head of the Unstereotype Alliance Secretariat at UN Women. “The influence of the advertising industry and the unrivalled reach of advertising content means we can re-set representation for the better and help drive positive social change. The new Progressive Unstereotype Metric will help us transform deeply ingrained social norms, and to measure that transformation on a per-market basis, which is so desperately needed.”

Sarah Morrell, Senior Creative Lead at Kantar added “In recognition of the representation gaps that continue to exist, it’s important that the Alliance takes a leadership position in this debate, so we’ve leaned into the challenge with our expertise, influence and scale. It’s our intention that the launch of the new metric, which has been validated by our consumer testing in Brazil, India, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and the USA, challenges our partners in the industry, to refocus on the contribution their work has in achieving the UN SDGs.”

The new measure, which is immediately available, will be used alongside the existing Gender Unstereotype Metric (GUM) which was released in 2019 and has norm data available in over 50 countries. Members of the Unstereotype Alliance monitor and track the content they produce via both Metrics and leverage the Unstereotype Alliance’s 3Ps Framework of Presence, Personality and Perspective, to provide further diagnostics that contribute to positive portrayals. and ‘unstereotyped’ content. The GUM has been implemented extensively by Unstereotype Alliance members with 23 organisations continuously tracking their ad content. The new PUM has already been adopted by 12 member organsations.

“At Mondelēz International, we have fully integrated the Unstereotype Metric into our global creative measurement process. Beyond the metric’s contextualized insight in positive representation of gender, we are eager to adopt the Unstereotype Alliance’s new progressive approach. By bringing an intersectional lens into our standard creative evaluation, we are confident our creative will better represent our consumers on all global platforms.” said Nick Graham, Global Head of Insights & Analytics at Mondelēz International.

"Diageo is a proud founding partner of the Unstereotype Alliance that was established in 2017 and is committed to the shared ambition of leading the industry in the eradication of all harmful stereotypes in advertising content. Four years ago, we integrated the Alliance’s Gender Unstereotype Metric into our business because we know that progress can only be judged through robust measurement. It’s been a pivotal tool in aiding our insight and understanding, monitoring our progress, and critically holding our work accountable to the high standards we set. More recently, we started using the Alliance’s Progressive Unstereotype Metric, to support our progressive marketing framework and incorporate a more intersectional approach to our creative content. It’s provided another powerful lens for our teams that has accelerated our progress. Widespread use of measurement metrics like these are critical to our industry becoming more truly inclusive and representative in our marketing and advertising." said Grainne Wafer, Global Director of Beer, Baileys & Smirnoff at Diageo. 

The Progressive Unstereotype Metric is available now and further information can be found here.  

About the Unstereotype Alliance:

The Unstereotype Alliance seeks to eradicate harmful stereotypes from advertising and media to help create a more equal world. Convened by UN Women, the Alliance collectively acts to empower people in all their diversity (including gender, race, class, age, ability, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality) by using advertising as a force for good to drive positive change all over the world. Since the Unstereotype Alliance’s formation in 2017, membership has grown to 237 organisations worldwide, with national chapters established in 12 countries across five continents to tackle culturally nuanced stereotypes on the ground.

About Kantar:

Kantar is the world’s leading marketing data and analytics business and an indispensable brand partner to the world’s top companies, including 96 of the world’s 100 biggest advertisers.  We combine the most meaningful attitudinal and behavioural data with deep expertise and technology platforms to track how people think and act. We help clients develop the marketing strategies that shape their future and deliver sustainable growth.  

*assessment of the existing Gender Unstereotype Metric database comprising 16,000 ads from 61 countries, 2,900 brands and 246 categories.