ASCI aims to break gender stereotypes in advertising, change mindsets

“Advertising has always been on the periphery or even a part of popular culture. This study is meant to open people’s minds to an emerging narrative,” says ASCI Chairman Subhash Kamath
In advertising, what kind of gender portrayal resonates with women in India at a time they are breaking stereotypes rapidly?

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is hoping to find an answer and help advertisers embrace positive depiction with a first-of-its-kind study on gender in advertising. It is launching the study, GenderNext, in partnership with consulting and management firm Futurebrands.

Advertising has always been on the periphery or even a part of popular culture. This study is meant to open people’s minds to an emerging narrative,” says ASCI Chairman Subhash Kamath.

The study will have five lenses of inquiry, points out Manisha Kapoor, secretary general of ASCI.

First, decoding the cultural semiotics of over 200 advertisements in recent years and a study of iconic ads that have stayed in public memory and shaped gender depiction.

Second, the study will include interviews with 150-200 consumers across 10 cities. “We will have in-depth discussions to understand their likes and dislikes, reasons behind them, and how they experience the depiction of gender in advertising versus their own lived reality,” says Kapoor.

Third, the researchers will interact with stakeholders in industry such as brands, advertisers and creators to understand their thinking, approa­ches and current conversations on depiction of gender.

Fourth, the study will involve policymakers, gender experts and social commentators, who will share their views on the issue.

Lastly, the study will mine insights collated from a decade-old study by Futurebrands called “Bharat Darshan”. It’s an ongoing sociocultural study that maps changes in the lives of Indians from across 200-plus towns.

A report based on the study — it will cover categories such as personal, fashion and beauty care; hearth, home and health; gadgets and wheels; and money and education — will be released in September.



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