Gender Equality in Advertising for Restaurants - Best of the Best

Posted by Angela Jeffrey on Nov 8, 2017 1:11:53 PM

Earlier this month, ABX, the Association of National Advertisers' and the #SeeHer initiative won the ESOMAR Research Effectiveness Award - the biggest in the industry.  This award underscores our learnings that gender equality in advertising is not just smart, it's good business. Today's post looks at the top ads in gender equality out of 2,091 in the restaurant category as part of our ongoing industry series.

One good sign that an advertisement will have a good ABX Gender Equality Index™ is the feeling it generates in the viewer.  If the feeling is good, chances are the characters are represented with respect and convey a respectful message.  I've just glanced through the Restaurant ads we have tested over the past 12 months to see which had the highest ABX Gender Equality Index.  After just a few minutes, I found three that literally gave me goosebumps.  They feature incredible human relationships, people giving back to the community and corporate generosity. No wonder the consumer panel scored these ads so high.  

As you view these three ads, keep in mind that an ABX Gender Equality Index (GEI™) of more than 100 will impact a company's Reputation and Calls-to-Action like Purchase Intent, Look for, Recommend and more.  For more details on methodology, click here.  For more on the science behind this work, see the ESOMAR Award here.

McDonald's Car Mechanic Helps a Young WomanMcDonald's car breakdown.pngOne of the best TV spots I've ever seen, this :30 shows a car mechanic helping a young woman and then refusing to take any money from her, simply saying "this one's on me."  He then goes to order food at McDonald's only to find that same woman working there.  As she hands him his food (pictured above), she's says, "this one's on me."   At an ABX Index score of 135 (35% over norm), this spot is in the top 99% of all 125,000 ABX-tested ads.  The scores below show Reputation and Action scores that are extremely high, and all the Gender scores (GEI™) are very high - especially for the male.  High scores for Likeability, Purchase Intent and other CTAs (not shown) illustrate the power of gender equality in advertising to build business.McDonald's car scores.png

 McDonald's College Tuition Assistance

McDonald's College Tuition.pngHere is another terrific 'feel-good' :30 spot that presents every character respectfully and as role models.  A young man walks into McDonald's and hands a piece of paper to the manager.  The manager calls the employees together to read the letter, which is an acceptance for that young man into college.  As everyone celebrates, the screen displays various educational programs McDonald's helps with.  The ABX Index on the spot is 128, which is in the 95th percentile of ABX ad tests, but the Reputation score is one of the highest we've seen at 232.  The Male GEI score, shown below, is 40-50% over norm.  Likeability was 182 and plans to "Talk About it" was 176, so this one likely pushed a PR agenda as well as marketing.McDonald's tuition scores.png

Applebee's has Served 7 Million Free Meals to Veterans ...

Applebee's Veterans Day.png

This simple :30 spot shows Applebee's serving free meals to Veterans on Veterans Day, as they do year after year.  At an ABX Index of 128,this spot is in the top 95% of all ABX tested ads,  and much can be credited to the high gender equality in advertising scores for the primary Male character.  The high Reputation score of 214 reflects the sheer diversity of the characters which includes various races, ages and sizes, all enjoying one another's company as well as the food.  The spot also engendered high scores for Likeability and "Intent to Talk About" the event and Recommend Applebee's.Applebee's Veterans scores.png

Restaurant Ads that are not Gender Equality Friendly

We'd love to show you some of the 'bad' ads for gender portrayal, but the restaurant advertisers wouldn't appreciate it much. So, here are a few observations from the bottom-scoring ads in the category for gender equality in advertising over the past 12 months:
  • The lowest-scoring ads (GEI scores of 65-75) had excessive silliness primarily focused on male characters being messy, stupid, in costumes that didn't work, trying too hard or just being socially  inappropriate.
  • A few had sexual overtones including a mom inadvertently teaching her baby a bad word.  It was meant to be humorous, but backfired in Gender testing.
  • Others had Millennial craziness and sexuality that may have appealed to that agegroup, but that did not test well for Gender.
We can’t stress enough the sensitivity of the Gender issue. Pretest your ads, iterate, and test again Inmarket.  In today's climate of political correctness, you can't be too careful.

Are you satisfied with how you are measuring advertising effectiveness?  Is it resonating through Awareness and Message, and having an impact on Reputation and Action?  ABX provides the largest normative database in the industry across all media types. On average you can improve your creative effectiveness by almost 20%

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