Top Marketers Tackle Bias for ROI Gain | About the ANA | ANA

Top Marketers Tackle Bias for ROI Gain

First Gender Equality Measure from Association of National Advertisers
finds purchasing intent of consumers skyrockets more than 20 percent
when gender bias is removed from ads

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 20, 2016) — Gender equality is not only a critical American political and social issue, it’s also good business, and now the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Alliance for Family Entertainment (AFE) has new numbers to prove it.

At a meeting of the ANA board of directors yesterday, on the eve of the largest annual marketing conference hosted by the ANA, AFE Chair Stephen Quinn shared proprietary new data from the #SeeHer initiative with ANA CEO Bob Liodice and the board which shows removing conscious or unconscious gender bias from advertising increases purchase intent by more than 26 percent for all consumers and more than 45 percent among women.

ANA AFE, a collective of the nation’s largest advertisers, launched the #SeeHer initiative earlier this year after the White House identified the inaccurate portrayal of women and girls in advertising and media as an important social and economic issue. Launched in association with the White House United State of Women Summit in June, #SeeHer is a joint partnership with ANA AFE and The Female Quotient’s (TFQ) Girls’ Lounge to increase accurate portrayals of women and girls in advertising and media 20 percent by 2020, the centennial of women gaining the right to vote. 

To help marketers and media attain that goal, the ANA AFE has developed a proprietary Gender Equality Measure, GEM™. The first GEM™ research targeted advertising. Conducted in September 2016 by AFE research partner Advertising Benchmark Index (ABX), more than 4,000 TV spots were measured, adding new questions specific to gender co-developed by ABX, AFE executives, and Shelley Zalis, founder, CEO, TFQ’s Girls’ Lounge. The results showed that ads with more-accurate portrayals of women scored significantly higher with consumers than those that did not.

In the coming months, the #SeeHer team will study and release GEM™ findings on the impact of gender bias in programming with partner TiVo; the influence of celebrities on gender bias with partner MVP. GEM™ scores will be presented to #SeeHer members quarterly to track progress and help the movement to reach its goal: a 20 percent increase in the accurate portrayal of women and girls in media by 2020. 

"The GEM™ score will become an industry standard for equality to ensure that we measure what matters and create content that accurately portrays women," said Zalis.

In addition, the #SeeHer initiative:

  • Encourages participating ANA AFE brands to review their ads and ad development processes for unconscious bias.
  • Works with media partners to accurately portray girls and women within the content where their ads will be placed.
  • Produces toolkits for marketers, ad agencies, media agencies, and content creators, with a scorecard for creating ads, content, and programming that accurately portray women and girls.

“For us as marketers, creating communications that show women and girls as they really are is a moral imperative,” said Liodice. “Women account for 80 percent of all purchases and, as this data shows, advertising that reflects the truth of their lives dramatically drives intent to buy as well as brand reputation. I am delighted to be at the forefront of this important industry movement.”

“The issue of gender equality continues to be a major challenge in our country.” said Gail Tifford, #SeeHer co-founder and Unilever North America Vice President of Media and Digital Engagement. “We need to bust the myth that initiatives like #SeeHer limits content creation and raise awareness for unconscious bias in advertising.”

“We launched #SeeHer so that every woman and girl will see herself accurately portrayed in media,” added Quinn, one of the nation’s most-influential marketers. “It’s the responsibility of every CMO to ensure that their brand has no unconscious bias.” 



About the #SeeHer Initiative

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. The Association of National Advertisers Alliance for Family Entertainment launched the #SeeHer initiative in June 2016 in a joint partnership with The Girl’s Lounge, after the White House announced the elimination of gender bias in media as critical to the nation’s future. The ANA AFE creates customized toolkits for marketers, ad agencies, media agencies and content creators, and provides guidelines and a scorecard for creating ads, content, and programming that accurately portray women and girls. The group’s proprietary data-tracking tool, Gender Equality Measure, GEM™ identifies best-in-class advertising and programming that supports women and girls. The #SeeHer Initiative mission is to accurately portray all women and girls in media by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote. Ads showcasing the #SeeHer movement can be viewed at

About the Association of National Advertisers (ANA)

The mission of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.

About the ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment (AFE)

Supported by the ANA, the ANA AFE is a coalition of national advertisers with more than 750 family brands, whose members represent $25-plus billion of U.S. television ad spend. With members including Athleta, Campbell’s, CA Technologies, Chick-fil-A, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Corr-Jensen, Crayola, FedEx, Georgia-Pacific, Hallmark, The Hershey Company, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark, L’Oréal, Mattel, Moët Hennessy, Nestlé Waters, J.M. Smucker, Post Foods, Procter & Gamble, Rich Products Corp., SC Johnson, Sensio, State Farm Insurance, Subway, TiVo, T-Mobile, TracFone, Unilever, Verizon Wireless, Weight Watchers, Wendy’s, and Walmart, 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 primetime 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. In early 2016 the AFE expanded its mission to include gender equality through such efforts as the #SeeHer initiative. For more information visit