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23 OCTOBER 2018


Friday, 19 August 2016 14:30
Comment: Are you guilty of a teensy weensy bit of stereotyping?

"Olympics are a massive achievement in sexism and stereotyping" - discuss

Marketing and media sideline females and millennials. Does the loyalty industry too?

A thought provoking article in advertising magazine Campaign commented that the Olympics was "a massive achievement in sexism and stereotyping". It quotes US newspaper the Chicago Tribune which tweeted “’Wife of a Bears' lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics" and an NBC commentator that stated that the athletes looked like they "might as well be standing in front of the middle of a mall".

Social media

People didn't like either comment and made their opinions known on social media, but Lisa Parfitt, MD of sports marketing agency Synergy makes the point that the mainstream media in most countries is responsible for reinforcing the message that women's achievements don't count.

It took Andy Murray for example, to correct BBC presenter John Inverdale, who said Murray was the first person to win two tennis gold medals at the Olympics. Murray quickly interrupted with the information that "Venus and Serena had won four each". Inverdale shrugged this information off.

The question should be posed whether the loyalty business can stand stereotyping scrutiny. The sponsorship business certainly can't.

Some figures:
Between September 2-11 and December 2013, just 0.4% of the total value of all reported UK sponsorship deals in sport went to women. This accounted for 5.4% of all UK sponsorship.

The most valuable women's sponsorship deal recorded in The World Sponsorship Monitor in 2013 totalled £450,000 for 12 months (Continental/The Football Association' Women's Super League). The most valuable men's sports deal recorded in The World Sponsorship Monitor in 2013 totalled £280m for 12 months (Adidas/Chelsea FC).

There are so many reinforcements of the message that women's sport, women's achievements and women's role in life are unimportant. Take Barclays for example, which offers a chance to win tickets to a men's football match every time cash is taken out of an ATM. It has sponsored football for years and years - but only men's football.

Brand mentions
Men's golf, rugby and football get the prime time television coverage, yet Netball Australia's sponsorship campaign for Samsung caused brand mentions to double.

Women apparently make the final decision when buying a family car, but if a car ad refers to a female at all, it is in a patronising, girly or mumsy way. The men do the brmm, brmm, important bit.

And what about supermarket loyalty programmes? Men cook, women use power tools, but you wouldn't think so from the marketing.

The Olympics is a phenomenal showcase for women's sport, but a week after the Olympics, the ladies will be relegated back to the kitchen in the minds of the media as well as most advertising and sponsorship departments. Laura Trott may be a phenomenal cyclist, but it is Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins and even Trott's future husband Jason Kenny that will have more earning power and durability than she will.

This ability for marketing departments to forget 50% of the population is equally apparent when it comes to millennials, which will make up half the global workforce by 2050 - and are a significant power base now.

Broadly speaking, members of this generation, born between 1980 and 1994 and also known as Generation Y, are bound together by the fact they have come of age during a severe financial crisis, have been both the pioneers and guinea pigs of technological change, and are more plugged into a global network than their predecessors. It means they have attitude and sales departments don't really like them.

Because they work differently (while doing four other things at the same time, including social media), don't want mediocre jobs, don't want to stay in one place and won't compromise, they are viewed as lazy, flighty, unreliable and lacking strong values.

Marketing departments
Most marketing departments are waiting for them to grow up because until then, they won't stay in a job, be responsible or buckle down.

Actually, they probably won't ever, because they see the world differently. Millennials are waiting for those currently filling marketing departments to retire, so they can change things.

OK, so millennials think "work to live" is better than the other way round. They want a better world and they care about stuff. Creative and social are intertwined.

Are they job hoppers? Possibly, but how many fintech entrepreneurs have you spoken to that are starting on their umpteenth successful venture before they reach 30? Don't knock it.

Millennials actually work very hard - in fact they work all the time. They don't necessarily sit at a desk to do it.

So when you are devising your next marketing campaign or loyalty programme, think really hard about how you are relating to millennials, especially female millennials.
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