The Danger of Stereotyping Women In Your Ads

by. Holly Buchanan, Buchanan Marketing LLC

Are you stereotyping women in your ads and marketing materials?   Here’s a simple test credit unions can use to see if they are stereotyping women.  I call it The Buchanan Test.   In order to pass the test your ad must:

  • Feature a woman in a role other than that of mother
  • Feature a woman outside of the home
  • Feature a woman who is NOT doing yoga

You would be amazed how few ads (credit union or otherwise) can pass this test.

Why is it important NOT To stereotype women?

People tune out stereotypes.  At best, stereotypes are clichés – predictable and uninteresting.  At worst they are derogatory and demeaning.   One of the reasons why so many women feel the financial industry does not understand them or meet their needs is because the advertising either completely ignores them, or doesn’t recognize the many important roles women play financially.

For example, the successful iBelong campaign includes a TV commercial with an African American woman who has gotten a new job which requires a longer commute, so she needs a new more reliable car.   She turns to her credit union to get the auto loan.  This ad really stands out.   Why? When was the last time you saw a car commercial featuring a professional woman?   In almost every commercial a man is driving the car, and if a woman is featured, she’s a mom buckling her child into the back seat.

When women see ads that show them in non-stereotypical roles, they notice.  By NOT stereotyping women, you send a message of understanding and more importantly, respect.

Create more effective ads for women

Look at your commercials, marketing materials and promotional posters.  Do you feature women at work, leading meetings, picking up the tab at a restaurant, buying or driving a car, riding a mountain bike, mowing the lawn, playing with a pet, waiting for a commuter train, buying a home?  I am not saying you can never show her in the role of mother, but acknowledge the many other roles she plays as well.

Apply The Buchanan Test to your marketing materials.   It will help you create a fresh, new, interesting approach.  If you’re looking for a way to differentiate yourself and your credit union, this is a great way to create advertising that is more persuasive, creative and emotionally engaging.

Holly Buchanan

Holly Buchanan

Holly Buchanan is the author of Selling Financial Services to Women – What Men Need to Know and Even Women Will Be Surprised to Learn. She is the co-author of The ... Web: Details