Thought Of The Week

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GM Thought of the Week: John Lewis Goes Gender Neutral

I admire the move that John Lewis have taken to help combat gender stereotyping. They have made the bold move to introduce non-gender specific labels in their own brand of children’s clothing. The labels on the clothing now read: “Girls & Boys” or “Boys & Girls”.


Despite John Lewis making these changes at the start of the year, recent social media responses have been very mixed and bring this much talked about topic back into the forefront.


Campaign recently released results of a survey they conducted with research agency Watch Me Think – questioning parents regarding gender stereotyping brands and advertising. The results showed that 65% of consumers interviewed, think that advertising reinforces gender stereotyping and 78% believe that advertisers should seek to challenge these gender stereo types.


With new ASA guidelines coming into play next year, changes will have to happen. While I believe that advertising is only one of many factors that contribute to this area, making the guidelines more stringent can only help to tackle these issues. Interestingly and worryingly, the ASA suggested showing a woman cleaning or a man doing DIY tasks was acceptable, but adverts suggesting specific activities were only suitable for boys or girls were problematic. So it will be interesting to see how new guidelines will change creative copy.


Lisa Kinsella, Associate Director of AV Investment