Faaez Samadi
Mar 8, 2018

Unruly launches sexism detection tool for ads

Tool added to UnrulyEQ Max platform to mark International Women’s Day.

(Source: Paul Townsend/Flickr)
(Source: Paul Townsend/Flickr)

Video adtech firm Unruly today unveiled a new tool to test whether an advert is sexist.

To mark International Women’s Day this year, Unruly has created the tool as part of its UnrulyEQ Max content testing platform. The firm has formulated a stereotype analysis that evaluates whether an ad reinforces negative gender stereotypes.

The analysis is based on 13 gender stereotypes identified by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, which is then graded by the Unruly tool’s ‘traffic light’ system. The markers include content that objectifies, sexualises, or features stereotypical occupations—women as homemakers and men as scientists, for example. Unruly’s sexism tool marks such ads with an amber light.

In addition, the tool uses facial coding, and survey responses—from men and women—to the ads to measure them. If respondents perceive an ad’s stereotypes negatively, then it is marked with a red light.

Phil Townend

Phil Townend, Unruly APAC CCO, said he hoped the tool would be “an early warning system for 21st Century brands that want to move on from the outdated gender stereotypes that alienate their customers and threaten to undermine the reputation of their brand".

A recent report from J Walter Thompson New York and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media analysed more than 2,000 films from Cannes Lions and found that men were 62% more likely to be shown as smart, and one in three men was shown to have an occupation compared to one in four women. Research released by Unilever also found that only 3% of ads feature women in leadership or professional roles, and 1% show women as funny.

Ricky Chanana, Unruly ANZ MD, said: "The ad industry could be argued to be failing women. How can it hope to engage consumers when what it presents is not an accurate, authentic portrayal of gender roles in the 21st Century?”

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