ABX Advisory

Insights on Advertising Effectiveness to Boost ROI and ROAS

Poor 2019 Super Bowl Advertising for Female Gender Equality

Posted by Angela Jeffrey on Feb 28, 2019 11:02:42 AM

Last month, we listed the Top Five Super Bowl ads by how women were portrayed, and saw how those who treated women well also impacted their ad effectiveness. We also quoted Jack Neff of AdAge, who wrote that female gender scores did improve a little this year over last.  Now, let's look at five spots with poor female images according to the ABX Gender Equality Index™, and see what we can learn.

Super Bowl Advertising that Treats Women like Second Class Citizens

As we look at five of the poorest ads for female gender, it's helpful to see how extraordinary these ads really were against the full line-up of 55 Super Bowl ads.  The waterfall chart in the Top Five Super Bowl 2019 Ads shows how each one scored.  

Expensify and 2 Chainz

Female Gender Index 69; ABX Index for Ad Effectiveness 75

2 Chainz Girls in gold outfits on pedestals dance around fancy car.Obviously, we need to have a sense of humor at times and assume the best about the creative intent behind the advertising.  But sometimes that doesn't work.  In this spot, 2 Chainz is making a music video when he is interrupted by Adam Scott regarding expenses and paper receipts.  Cute idea, but this spot ranked #1 on the Dislike scale of all Super Bowl ads.   It also had the lowest ABX Gender Equality Index (GEI™)  scores for BOTH females and males, an extremely low Reputation score (26), and all negative CTA's.  You just can't take the chance of objectifying any characters any more; the public is on to you!  (Click on photograph to see the ad). "Expensify This" ABX ad scorecard showing very low scores.

Sprint, Robots and Paul Marcarelli

Female Gender Index 81; ABX Index 98

Paul Marcarelli brings a mermaid home in an ad for  Sprint.This entertaining Sprint spot featured robots, baseball great Bo Jackson, a mermaid, a keyboard and, eventually, a flying dog (or something like that) along with spokesperson Paul Marcarelli.  This had a very poor Female gender score probably for the typecasting "dumb blonde" role.  Unfortunately, the spot was not well understood either, with a Brand Awareness score of just above average (104) and Message at 101.  More serious are the low Reputation and Action scores, which indicated the typecasting had a negative effect.  (Click on photograph to see the ad). Sprint mermaid ad scorecard with low scores.

Bon & Viv's Spiked Seltzer

Female Gender Index 84; ABX Index 91Bon & Viv's Spiked Seltzer photo of the two of them underwater.


Another mermaid spot, this one showed a fake Bonnie & Vivian pitching their new Sparkling Seltzer to a group of sharks.  It was actually a very cute idea, since it tied-in with the mermaid logo on the can. While nothing in the spot was over the line, the audience did not seem to be comfortable  with women portrayed in this way as you can see below on the scorecard.  On a positive note, Brand Awareness was okay at 98, and the Reputation score is well above average.  But the low Message score (83) contributed to a low Purchase score (98).  (Click on photograph to see the ad). 

Bon & Viv's ad scorecard with varying scores.

Avocados from Mexico & Kristin Chenoweth

Female Index 86; ABX Index 100

Avocados from Mexico shows woman with pet collar trying to shove guacamole through it.The visual was comprised of humans competing at a dog show for the ultimate prize of Avocados From Mexico. Kristen Chenoweth is one of the judges.  The winner will get avocados from Mexico.  Toward the end, a woman runs up to grab the guacamole, so they contain her with a pet collar, but she still tries to eat the avocados anyway.  The spot is humorous though the poor Female gender score shows viewers' dislike of how the woman was handled in the pet collar.  The lower Message score of 85 shows the vignette ran a bit too fast, and wasn't quite understandable.  But, Reputation is good at 120 and there were plenty of Actions viewers indicated they'd be taking.Avocados from Mexico scorecard shows high score for Reputation but low GEI Female score.

Michelob Ultra Pure Gold and Zoe Kravitz

Female Index 90; ABX Index 96) 

Zoe Kravitz sits at a desk in the mountains with two microphones doing an 'experience' with Michelob Ultra Pure Gold.

The visual is Zoe Kravitz having a bottle of Michelob Ultra Pure Gold and comparing nature's pureness to the beer. Zoe: "This place so pure you can can feel it, this beer so pure you can taste it, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold."  This spot had strong Brand Awareness (107) , but poor Message, Reputation, Relevance and Likability.  In fact, it had the second highest Dislike score (226) of all Super Bowl ads; the first highest was Expensify at 240.  The big build-up of Zoe whispering "let's have an experience together" and  her off-the-shoulder blouse sent confusing messages.  The only CTA that was positive was some watchers' "intent to contact" the company.  (Click on photograph to see the ad). Michelob ad's ABX scorecard shows the second highest Dislike score of all Super Bowl ads.

Remember that strong female gender scores can drive CTA's 26% higher and Reputation 10% higher, so keep an eye on how your female actors are Presented; make sure they look and behave Respectfully; that they are dressed and positioned Appropriately; and, ideally, could be considered Role Models.  That's the magic formula!  See our pillar page, "Gender Equality in Advertising," for more!

How the ABX Testing is Done

ABX provides ad effectiveness scores from human respondents against 14 variables and in all media types. ABX Index values are a comparison of the results of an ad versus the average of all ads in the ABX database (145,000+ ads). Click for more information about definitions and methodology. 

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Topics: Electronics, Gender Equality Measure, Super Bowl Sunday

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