ASCI partners with Futurebrands for study on depiction of women in Indian advertising

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani Updated on March 26, 2021
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GenderNext to come up with actionable insights for advertisers

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) in collaboration with Future brands will be kickstarting an exhaustive and immersive study to look into various gender narratives proliferating in Indian advertising and come up with insights for brands and agencies to move towards more responsible advertising.

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The manner in which women are often portrayed in ads has been a subject of intense debate over the years and the self-regulatory body is hoping to partner with stakeholders to come up with ways to nudge the industry towards more progressive gender narratives.

GenderNext, expected to be released in September, will be backed in terms of insights and funding from brands such as Nobel Hygiene, ITC-Vivel, Kellogg, Colgate, Diageo, Eureka Forbes and Mondelez.

Subhash Kamath, Chairman, ASCI, said: “As a self-regulatory body, ASCI wants advertisers to embrace more responsible advertising. The idea is to not just limit ourselves to being a complaints management body, but also bringing in thought leadership in various areas to enable advertisers to navigate through complex issues and focus on creation of positive advertising.”

Kamath said the study will focus on unravelling gender narratives in advertising, in line with cultural shifts in society and then come up with “actionable insights” to help advertisers and ad agencies to focus on “progressive, culturally-relevant and aspirational gender portrayal” in their ads.

Manisha Kapoor, Secretary General of ASCI, said, “A multi-enquiry framework will be adopted for this comprehensive study. To begin with, there will be a semiotics and cultural decode of Indian advertising over time, across categories and regions. In addition, we will seek opinions of various stakeholders such as advertisers, ad agencies, creators, policymakers and gender experts. We expect GenderNext to be a seminal reference study on the depiction of gender in advertising.”

Ad clinics will also be conducted across 10 centres with consumers for their views and feedback on gender depiction in advertising. The study will focus on portrayal of women in ads in multiple categories such as personal care, beauty and fashion, gadgets, automobiles, financial institutions and education, among others.

Published on March 26, 2021
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