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Facebook: Female empowerment is more effective in advertising than sex appeal

Tyrone Stewart

This Girl Can Advertising that is gender-positive and empowers females is better for business, as opposed to ads that use female sex appeal to push a product, according to Facebook IQ research.

A survey of 1,547 people in the US aged over 18, recruited by Qualtrics, found that 48 per cent of respondents say they feel more loyal toward a brand when it promotes gender equality – with 51 per cent of women and 45 per cent of men more likely to shop from it. These numbers greatly increased when brands promote gender equality on Facebook – 79 per cent of women saying they feel more positive toward a brand, and 75 per cent of men.   

In addition, women were found to be 1.85 times more likely to be interested in watching a movie if the trailer featured a woman dressed as a firefighter versus a woman dressed in revealing clothing. Though men reacted similarly to both.

75 per cent of the women surveyed believe that the most important thing brands can do to promote gender equality is to stop portraying women as sex symbols.

Facebook IQ also performed a sentiment analysis of aggregated, anonymised US Facebook posts and found that brands that celebrated female athleticism or encouraged girls to study STEM subjects were received more positively than brands did not deliver a similar message.

As a result of the findings, Facebook recommends that marketers share more gender-positive imagery and more female empowerment, while avoiding stereotypes and sexual objectification.

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