Westpac and Coles put weight on promoting diversity in media and advertising

Westpac and Coles have become the national champions of the Unstereotype Alliance chapter of UN Women Australia, which is officially launched this week.

UN Women launched The Unstereotype Alliance in 2017 as a constructive incubator of ideas as well as a platform for action to foster gender diversity in the advertising, media and marketing community. A key aspect of his job is to secure commitments to drive positive change across the industry.

The Australian national chapter is 10e regional chapter to be launched and is supported by 21 companies from the media and advertising industry. These include global partners – Unilever, IPG and Mars – as well as two new national champions – Westpac and Coles.

The full list of founding and allied members also includes Accenture, Bayer Australia, Diageo Australia, Facebook Australia, Google Australia, Ikea, IPG, Ipsos Australia, Mastercard Australia, Omnicom, Optus, Publicis Groupe, Salesforce, Snap, Suncorp, Unilever A / NZ, WPP AUNZ and the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA).

In a statement announcing the local launch, officials said the global Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted entrenched gender inequalities, social and economic injustices affecting minority and marginalized groups that continue to be perpetuated by the Australian advertising industry. Together with the local, UN Women seeks to use advertising as a force for good by ensuring more inclusive and diverse representations of all people throughout the creative processes.

To do this, this alliance takes an intersectional approach to better address representations of gender, race, ethnicity and ability in media and advertising content. These include undertaking research, creating manuals and measurement tools to help marketers and agency teams create more progressive, non-stereotypical communications.

UN Women pointed out that the Australian advertising industry contributes around $ 17.3 billion in annual spending and contributes $ 40 billion to the Australian economy. It also employs over 200,000 people.

“This launch marks an important step in the alliance’s journey,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous. “I am delighted to see this growing footprint as I firmly believe in the need for fieldwork to have an impact. I congratulate and welcome all founding members of the Australian National Chapter for taking the bold step of embracing the mission and using publicity as a positive force to eliminate harmful stereotypes in all media and content.

Coles CMO, Lisa Ronson, saw the Unstereotype Alliance as a reviewer for Australia at this time.

“The right conversation about damaging gender stereotypes and demonstrating true diversity in advertising and communications has begun and it is up to Australian business leaders to take it to the next level and truly embed diversity in our communications. to reflect a genuine vision of Australian society and our customers, ”she said.

Westpac Head of Brand and Advertising Jenny Melhuish highlighted Australia’s rich diversity. “Our communities represent many relationships, ethnicities, age groups and gender. It is imperative that we see this authentically presented and celebrated in our advertising, recognizing and taking pride in the diversity and inclusion of the Australian community, ”she said.

UN Women Australia CEO Simone Clarke added that community representation in advertising and media content is essential to creating an equal and open society.

“One of the best ways to do this is to have representation in the advertising, marketing, technology and media industry. This group of leaders are coming together to implement real and meaningful change that will positively impact Australia. ”

For Nicole Sparshott, CEO of Unilever Australia & New Zealand, brands should be the voice of everyone, not just a few.

“We reach so many people every day, with our brands, through our products and through our communication. We have both a responsibility and an opportunity to dismantle stereotypes that perpetuate prejudice and limit potential, creativity and agency, ”she said.

Mars Wrigley Australia Marketing Director Ben Hill added his concerns about the dangers of widening the diversity gap in Australia as we emerge from the pandemic.

“The role of advertising can either continue to create division or fundamentally change the way all Australians are represented,” he said. “It is essential that we address dangerous stereotypes in all of our marketing communications to better represent our wonderfully diverse nation – to celebrate all Australians and to change what has been built by generations before us for the better.”

Other chapters of the Unstereotype Alliance are active in Brazil, Japan, India, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

UN Women was launched by the United Nations to focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women around the world.

Want to learn more about how Australian marketing leaders are bringing diversity and inclusion to life in their marketing and advertising? Then check out our special feature on diversity and inclusion in the latest edition of CMO magazine, issue 2, 2021.

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