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The Unstereotype Alliance Launches in Cannes

The UN Women in partnership with Unilever and other industry leaders such as WPP, IPG, Facebook, Google, Mars, Microsoft, J&J and many more have recently launched the Unstereotype Alliance in Cannes, France.

The alliance is created to demolish all stereotypical portrayals of gender in advertising as well as all brand led content. This is the first time that it’s taking place in Cannes and aims to fight all negative bias towards both women and men and bring positive cultural change through the power of advertising.

“Stereotypes reflect deep-rooted ideas of femininity and masculinity. Negative, diminished conceptions of women and girls are one of the greatest barriers for gender equality and we need to tackle and change those images wherever they appear,” Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said. “Advertising is a particularly powerful driver to change perceptions and impact social norms. UN Women is excited to partner with the foremost industry shapers in this Alliance to challenge and advance the ways women are represented in this field.”

Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Unilever, said: “We’ve seen true progress in our industry, but it doesn’t go far enough. Our job isn’t done until we never see an ad that diminishes or limits the role of women and men in society. We want to work with our peers across the industry to develop new ways of working, to share knowledge and approaches so that we can scale the Unstereotype commitments. We believe cross-sector collaboration will lead to sustained transformation. This is no longer just a social imperative but a business one. Progressive ads have been found to be 25% more effective and deliver better-branded impact.”

Kathleen Hall, CVP Brand, Advertising and Research, Microsoft, adds: “Advertising is a reflection of culture and sometimes can be ahead of the curve and help effect change. We are proud to be a founding member of this UN-sponsored initiative to ‘unstereotype’ through the power and breadth of our messaging. We are all in.”

Philip Thomas, CEO, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, comments: “The aims of the Unstereotype Alliance chime with Cannes Lions’ belief that creativity is a positive force for change and good in the world. It is another example of how the conversations around diversity and representation have moved towards practical and effective solutions to encourage equality in creativity.”

The inaugural Unstereotype Alliance session took place on June 22 and sent out strategies and commitments to achieve the Alliance’s goal.

The organization works consistently to clear up gender bias and other portrayals as well as engage diverse constituencies on gender equality, like news media, men and boys, youth and faith-based leaders and has focused on important research mainly on men.

The Unstereotype Alliance launches about a year after Unilever’s Unstereostype initiative, which focuses on clearing up all brands to advertise gender stereotypes.

Aline Santos, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing for Unilever, says: “This is a very important next step in the Unstereotype mission. Every Alliance member has done extremely valuable work in this space and now it’s time to come together to drive impact at scale. Unstereotype should be the norm for all brands, not a differentiator for a select few.’’

Therefore, the first Alliance event is taking place at The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and hope to change and banish women and men stereotype portrayals.

Watch: Keith Weed On The Unstereotype Alliance

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