The polarization and legitimation scenario of speeches that diminish, undermine, and empty identity, race, and gender issues reflect themselves in publicity. It’s what shows the 9th wave of TODXS survey, a study developed by ONU Women and Heads Propaganda, made possible by Aliança Sem Estereótipos, a movement that wants to conscientize announcers, agencies, and the propaganda industry in general about the importance of eliminating the stereotypes in the publicity campaigns.
Since the first edition of the study in 2015 until now, 22.253 TV commercial insertions and 5.769 Facebook posts were analyzed. If there was a movement for this brand’s communication to deconstruct images and standards that stimulate physical violence, symbolism, or morals, the current moment is of setback and stagnation.
The survey traditionally maps how gender and race are represented by Brazilian advertising and this year brings unprecedented data on the representation of new audiences – LGBTQIA +, PCD (people with disabilities) and mature 60+.
In each wave – two are launched a year – the study collects TV commercials for seven consecutive days on the most-watched open and closed television channels (respectively Globo and Megapix). From the observed brands, Facebook publications are collected in the same period. The commercials and posts analyzed in the 9th wave were extracted between February 15 and 21 of this year.
Another news was the seven-day analysis of the Discovery Kidscommercials, with the goal to analyze what’s been shown to the kids. In the 8th wave there was already a pilot project with a 3 day analysis of the children channel.
In general, today we have more contents that empower than content that stereotype people. Since 2015, when the TODXS study was first presented, the presence of black and non-standard beauty people in advertising has grown considerably, but it is still far from ideal, warns the study.
For Joanna Monteiro, elected one of the most creative women in the world by the American news website Business Insider and chief creative officer at Heads, advertising plays a fundamental role in deconstructing prejudices. “It is also from the way people are represented in films and advertising that the collective imagination is built: it can be shallow and full of stereotypes or bring true representativeness. This discussion is urgent ”, she says.
The presence of black men in protagonism situation on TV, for example, has fallen from 22% to 7%. The presence of black women increased by five percentage points in relation to the previous wave, but remains without exceeding 25% – peak reached in the 7th wave of the study (July 2018). White women still represent 74% of the main characters. Black men and women appear more as an adjunct and still, with a much lower presence compared to whites.
There is isolated data, however, which differs from the general view – on Facebook, the representation of black women reached its highest peak among all waves – 35%. According to the coordinator of the research, Isabel Aquino, before celebrating number one must be cautious. “It may be that the brands feel more comfortable working with different castings on Facebook because they feel that there is a less conservative environment than TV, but it is necessary to watch the next waves to confirm a real evolution”, he explains.
Isabel points out that there is a certain comfort in the communication industry, which needs to be confronted, especially in commercials that have leading men and women and more people involved in the scene – presenting diversity in an obvious way in 92% of cases.
“In commercials with several protagonists, it is easier to legitimize diversity, but it is also more difficult to work on individuality, to deepen personality. I don’t think this type of representation is necessarily bad, but the fact that blacks appear in greater numbers in this type of play is undoubtedly a shadow of racism and the market’s inability to create interesting and exclusive narratives for black characters or other minorized groups. ”, she evaluates.
The beauty standard has not changed
The women who most appear in the pieces are white, young, thin, with curves, straight and brown hair. The men are white, strong, with turned muscles, straight and brown hair. These characterizations appear in more than 60% of the pieces, both on TV and on Facebook, and demonstrate the difficulty of the communication industry in breaking standards.
Among the data that surprises us positively is the growth in the presence of curly and curly hair, the largest since the first wave. Together, the wavy and curly reached 29% of the representations among the protagonist women. The absolute preference is still straight, but before the wavy and curly fluctuated only between 11% and 17%.
Publicity above the wall
Another result worth mentioning is the large number of commercials that are characterized as neutral, that is, they do not empower or stereotype. They represent 1/3 of all analyzed content and according to the study, they have missed opportunities to evolve towards a more egalitarian scenario.
LGBTQIA, PCD and +60
The data collected on the new audiences is alarming. The mature audience reaches 12% of representation, but almost always with white people. “This is even more evident when we look in the big image banks for ‘mature black women’ – the possibilities are practically nonexistent or, when they do exist, they do not bring an empowered vision of this woman”, emphasizes Isabel. LGBTQIA is only 1.3%, while people with disabilities find only 0.8% of representativeness.
Another sensitive point that deserves attention is the type of content that has been produced for consumption by children. In addition to the data pointing to a very low presence of black children as protagonists (white is 90%), the pieces are more stereotyped than empowering: girls appear in pink universes, wanting to be beautiful and competing with each other, while boys are encouraged to study and think about the future.
“What are we advertisers doing with children? It will take a lot more work to deconstruct this racist and stereotyped imagery in the future than to make the right choices now. We are not paying attention to childhood and how these themes are being presented to them ”, says Isabel.