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The communications briefing: Industry fights gender stereotyping in ads

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media


Advertising letting down live sport's golden age
Industry veteran Nick Manning, founder of Manning Gottlieb OMD, bemoaned that despite the popularity of live sport some commercial broadcasters seem "determined to make it unwatchable" with a "bombardment of ads, excessive repetition of the same commercials and ridiculous frequency planning," something he suggests "can only harm the medium." Advertisers should be demanding more from their media agencies, he asserted, broadcasters have to achieve a better balance between the viewer experience and revenue. "TV advertising is the single biggest contributor to brand health and growth but will it remain so unless standards of creative and channel usage improve? I wouldn’t bet on it, not least of all because it would only contribute to the problem," Manning concluded.

Industry speaks out over banned 'gender stereotyping' ads
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned two television ads, for Philadelphia cream cheese and Volkswagen, following complaints from the public that they perpetuated harmful stereotypes. One featured new dads clumsily looking after their babies and the other a woman sitting next to a pram. Clearcast expressed its frustration at the decisions, complaining that the ASA’s interpretation of the ads has "implications for a wide range of ads," while Geraint Lloyd-Taylor, an advertising expert at law firm Lewis Silkin, cautioned: "As it stands, the ASA’s definition of ‘harm’ is unworkable and urgently needs to be clarified. I hope that these advertisers seek an independent review of the latest decisions."
The Guardian

M&C Saatchi reveals ‘irregular accounting’
M&C Saatchi spooked the City after warning of a £6.4m hit to its annual results as a result of “incorrect accounting”. The advertising and PR group acknowledged that a “misapplication of accounting policies” had led to some fees that were yet to be received being recognised erroneously as revenues and that, in addition, some assets that the firm "no longer used" had been incorrectly included on its balance sheet.
The Times

S4 Capital snaps up IMA
Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital is to merge IMA – Europe’s largest influencer marketing company – into existing content arm Mediamonks, which he bought last summer, after agreeing a €10m (£9.3m) purchase. Amsterdam-based IMA selects influencers to create online content for brands including Microsoft, Heineken and Samsonite.
City AM

Sarah Jenkins appointed as Trustee at Historic Royal Palaces
Sarah Jenkins has been appointed as Trustee of Historic Royal Palaces for three years. Jenkins, CMO of Grey London, has been responsible for some of the agency’s flagship accounts across her advertising career – for organisations as diverse as Mars, GSK, P&G and the Home Office.


Gucci’s new perfume ad celebrated for diversity
Vic Parsons described Gucci's campaign for unisex perfume Memoire d’une Odeur, which features Harry Styles, as "a legitimate game-changer." Harris Reed, a designer who was also in the campaign, says that the shoot was "one of the most diverse casts I’ve worked with "in terms of professions, race, sexuality."
Grazia Daily

Reputational risk

Apology over 'chocolate beauty' casting call
A casting call for a “very pretty” and “childlike” girl to star in a Milka chocolate Christmas advertising campaign attracted a raft of criticism after it barred overweight children and redheads from applying. “She must be beautiful and angelic,” it read. On Saturday, the Spotlight released a statement describing the original casting call as “totally unacceptable”.
The Independent

Walmart feels the heat over T-shirts
Walmart is taking heat on social media over a selection of pro-gun T-shirts available for sale on its website from third-party vendors. One shirt, for sale by a vendor called Tee’s Plus, suggests that buyers can either be gun owners or victims, while another, offered by third-party seller Old Glory, is emblazoned with crosshairs reading “gun control is being able to hit your target”. Commentators on social media were divided, with some left outraged and others arguing that “most people in the country completely agree with the sentiment of this shirt”.
Bloomberg Washington Post

And finally…

Marmite's Ashes beef with Vegemite
Ahead of the second Test at Lord's, Marmite and Vegemite were pursuing war of words on the fringes of the Ashes. The unsavoury England-Australia beef began during the first Test at Edgbaston, where jars of Marmite were handed out to fans around the ground. Helpfully re-branded ‘Marmy Army’, the ploy was assumedly an attempt to win over Aussie ex-pats as well as the locals.

This briefing has been prepared by Early Morning Media.  If you are interested in a customised bespoke news briefing for you or your client across any vertical, please contact

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