Unstereotype Alliance and Kantar launch Progressive Unstereotype Metric to drive diversity in advertising

David Murphy

The Unstereotype Alliance, an industry-led coalition convened by UN Women to eradicate harmful stereotypes in advertising content, has launched 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 is designed to be implemented in addition to the existing Gender Unstereotype Metric (GUM) – which evaluates female and male characters to identify gender stereotypes.

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 per cent of ads feature a person living with a disability; 33 per cent feature people with different skin colours and ethnicities; while 33 per cent of men and 21 per cent 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.

“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.”

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 organisations.

“At Mondelez International, we have fully integrated the Unstereotype Metric into our global creative measurement process, said Nick Graham, Global Head of Insights & Analytics at Mondel?z International. “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.”