By Lauren Linhard – firstname.lastname@example.org
Madonna Badger took the stage at the Cannes advertising festival on June 20 with one goal in mind: convincing the movers and shakers of the advertising industry to stop objectifying women.
As co-founder of Badger & Winters, a New York based ad agency, Badger took a stand in January of 2016 to never create an ad that uses women as props or objectifies them. She is determined to spread this philosophy of responsible advertising to the rest of the industry.
“I am a woman and I have objectified women in the advertising I’ve done over the past 22 years,” Badger said. “Quite frankly, I didn’t have any idea what I was doing as far as harm. If it’s harming people, I do not want to do it anymore.”
Advertising images are often guilty of trivializing battering, sexual assault and even murder, Badger said. These kinds of images teaches young girls their bodies are projects that constantly need to be approved.
“Sex sells maybe for a minute, but over time it doesn’t,” Badger said. “People are actually pushing back, and saying no, this doesn’t fit my value system.”
Currently, 91 percent of women say they are not connecting to advertising even though they make 80 percent of the purchase decisions. These trends are beginning to change though, as brands like Dove, Always and Mini Cooper have shifted their messaging with incredibly successful results.
The idea behind Badger’s #WomenNotObjects campaign has also been further enforced with new initiatives from two industry trade groups – the Association of National Advertisers and the Alliance for Family Entertainment.
The two groups announced earlier this month at the United State of Women Summit they will be tracking ads to measure the portrayal of women and girls in advertising as well as showcasing positive marketing examples and providing agencies with information to more accurately depict women.
“A key step to meaningful progress is helping women and girls see themselves for who they really are by positively and proactively working in media,” said AFE chairman Stephen Quinn. “Whether ads or content, media wields enormous power in fostering change in society.”