Inside and outside
Liodice characterized FQ’s work as focused on making changes inside organizations and the ANA’s work as focused on the “outside in” of how marketers communicate with the outside world. “That’s why for this movement we have come together,” he said. “We need both.”
Zalis pointed to the case of "Fearless Girl," a triumph of gender-equity marketing ultimately undermined by lack of diversity at sponsor State Street Advisors, which within months of the statue showing up on Wall Street in 2017 settled for $5 million a lawsuit from female and minority employees alleging the company violated equal-pay rights.
“You got the great message on the outside, but they didn’t have the equity on the inside,” Zalis said. Corporate boot camps that FQ runs are important to uncover unconscious bias throughout companies that ultimately leads to advertising mistakes, she said.
SeeHer and its GEM scores already have a fairly global footprint. GEM, developed in partnership with research firm ABX, has tested more than 180,000 ads in 14 countries that represent 87% of global ad spending, according to the group. But joining with FQ, and its more global focus, should help the program extend SeeHer's reach, Liodice said.
The group already has expanded its reach with agency creative directors and now counts “all but one of the major holding companies” as members, said Collins, who declined to identify the holdout. The group also has media partnerships with A+E Networks, AMC, Discovery, Disney, Facebook, Fox, Google, iHeart Media, Meredith, NBCUniversal, TikTok, Univision and ViacomCBS.
Improving gender equity in advertising is one area where the marketing industry generally has a meeting of the minds, Liodice said. “It’s a movement, and there’s a lot of head-nodding,” he said. “It’s not like Nielsen, where you’re talking about 20,000 different things with 80,000 opinions.”
But while big companies are making substantial progress, Liodice said, “I think we need to worry about the long tail, and the message needs to be pushed in a more assertive and aggressive sense.” The ANA joining forces with FQ can reach more marketers and extend more globally across multinational marketers.
Having GEM available to measure progress on gender equity in ads and entertainment content has been key to making progress, Liodice said. “Five years ago, we were really winging it. Now we have empirical measures.”
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Marketers speaking at an ANA panel on SeeHer Oct. 7 testified to the impact GEM testing has had, and the value of SeeHer boot camps.
Using GEM testing is “really just invaluable in getting new insights, sometimes reinforcing what you already knew, and really leaning in all ways to the accurate portrayal of women.” said Kimberly-Clark Corp. Chief Growth Officer Alison Lewis.
Verizon, in addition to using GEM testing, has done six SeeHer boot camps in an effort to change how the organization works on gender equity, said Chief Creative Officer Andrew McKechnie. “Ultimately, GEM for us is kind of a gut check, and it helps us adjust,” he said. “The latest GEM report, we’re at about 100, which is above the brand average of 99, but we’re always striving for better.