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WFA and Latin American associations commit to action on harmful ad stereotypes

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay agree to support initiative

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Buenos Aires: WFA and advertisers across Latin America have committed to action on harmful stereotypes in marketing and communications.

The Buenos Aires Declaration for Progressive Advertising has been launched today by WFA and the national advertiser associations of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and Paraguay at the WFA’s annual Latin American Regional Meeting.

The Declaration highlights a vision for change and a set of principles for addressing harmful and old-fashioned stereotypes that national advertiser associations across the region commit to promote collectively and individually. Signatories will prioritise action in key areas:

  • Promoting the development of progressive content that doesn’t objectify but instead depicts people as empowered actors, in all their different forms.
  • Promoting a progressive work culture, which offers a place for people, in all their diversity, to flourish and grow.
  • Promoting measurement tools and reporting mechanisms to ensure accountability and to help accelerate progress.

This Declaration builds on efforts already taken at a global and market level by WFA and its members including national advertiser associations in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay, as well as in Belgium, France, Turkey and the US, where #SeeHer has become a flagship movement led by the Association of National Advertisers.

In Brazil, the Advertisers’ Association (ABA) facilitated the launch, in March this year, of Unstereotype Alliance Brazil, an alliance between UN Women and industry representatives including Unilever, Grupo Boticário, Heads and Mastercard.

In Colombia, the Advertisers’ Association is working on a guide for a better representation of gender in advertising, which will be released in November and was inspired by WFA’s own guide.

In Chile, the Advertisers’ Association launched a Best Practice Guide: The representation of women in advertising, which highlights areas of improvement in order to eliminate harmful and narrow stereotypes about women.

In Paraguay, the Advertisers’ Chamber has been running since 2016 the program ‘Empresarias CAP’, which looks to promote a better representation of women in marketing – both in organisations, as well as in advertising, through activities such as mentoring programmes, best practice sharing and bespoke magazine columns.

Research by the Unstereotype Alliance across 28 markets including Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Spain has found that, despite some recent progress, most consumers feel most advertising still does not reflect the world around them. In particular 63% believe that the portrayal of men and women in traditional or old-fashioned roles influences the attitudes of young people, while 53% say that advertising creates unrealistic expectations on women.

“Acting on stereotypes is not just good for society but it’s also good for the business since progressive ads have been proven to be more effective. Making it a reality requires action at multiple levels and marketers need to look at their internal cultures, their creative processes as well as the way they distribute their messages to deliver the results that we all want. It may take time but commitments such as the Buenos Aires Manifesto are an essential step on the journey we all need to take as an industry,” said Stephan Loerke, CEO of the WFA.

Philip Perez, WFA Regional VP for Latin America and President, Advertiser Association of Argentina, said: “Advertising helps us build a better world. Many companies have already progressed a lot in this journey in Advertising, with advertising including innovative, progressive and inclusive messages. This initiative seeks to inspire more advertisers to start on this path.”

Sandra Martinelli, Executive President of the National Association of Advertisers of Brazil (ABA) said: “Inspiring marketing professionals to challenge their own work was ABA’s goal when we translated and adapted WFA’s Guide to Progressive Gender Representation in Advertising. Expanding diversity in corporate culture was the objective of the launch of the Unstereotype Alliance in Brazil. We have now signed this declaration in an effort to mobilize marketing to transform business and society and to promote the type of ethical and responsible communication in which we all believe. We hope that with that initiative, we can further inspire the market to move towards more diversity.”

Fernando Mora, President of the National Association of Advertisers of Chile, said: “As the National Association of Advertisers of Chile, we are aware of the cultural change that has been taking place some in the last years, not only in Chile but also in the rest of the world and that it is profoundly modifying the concepts and social roles that until recently dominated women and men.”

Elizabeth Melo, Executive President, National Association of Advertisers of Colombia: “As Association of Advertisers of Colombia, we believe in the strength of advertising to transform society and culture. We have the deep conviction that, through responsible commercial communication, we can help address some of the problems that our society is going through. As an advertiser association, we have been working on a guide for the adequate gender representation in advertising that will contribute to the construction of a better country and a better region.”

Miguel Ángel Aranda, legal advisor, Chamber of Advertisers of Paraguay, said: “It seems fundamental from the point of view of advertisers to work in the construction of a society free from prejudice and discrimination. As Chamber of Advertisers of Paraguay, we believe in the power of advertising which is free from harmful stereotypes and which seeks to promote the much-needed change in attitudes and social behaviors.”

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