Will this Year's Super Bowl Ads Pass Gender Fairness Test?

By Amy-Willard Cross  

During the Superbowl, the advertisements are as much of the show as the game itself. (Which we think is football?)  People talk a lot about the commercials; indeed 30% of tweets focus on the ads instead of the game.

On February 2, The 3% Conference is organizing an in-person Super Bowl Tweetup for creative directors in Boston and San Francisco to rate their colleagues’ work.  Other ad creatives from across the country are also invited, to join along via Twitter - an expected total of 300 people will participate. These CDs will be live-tweeting on how each commercial appeals to females, rating their creativity and effectiveness. Since women make up 45% of NFL fans, brands should adequately target this demographic, which controls some 70% of consumer spending. 

The Representation Project (formerly known as Miss Representation) is also having a cross-country tweeting party. They'll be using the hashtag, “#notbuyingit”.

The 3% Conference, a self-described "movement" toward changing the conversation on marketing to women, is making a business case for including more female creatives in advertising. The thinking is that it might make ads more appealing to women, who control 73% of consumer spending. 

Last year's Superbowl showcased commercials with a "stolen" kiss, a supermodel kissing an unattractive overweight man, waitresses-turned-strippers, and women tackling each other in the dirt.  So far, this year's crop presents Sarah MacLachlan singing an odd piece about a Doberman-Chihuahua hybrid, promoting Audi. You can view more of them in advance here.

In Adweek, Tweetup organizer, Kat Gordon, sums it up succinctly in 140 characters:

 "Women watch equally, buy + share in greater #s than men on Super Bowl Sunday. Ads with female appeal = best return on $4 million price-tag."

To create a massive conversation between consumers and the brands who woo them, The 3% Conference encourages the rest of the country to follow along, either on their home sofas or at gatherings. You can watch the ads and tweet what you think, using “#notbuyingit” as per the Representation Project, or your own. This will also work to tell companies when you don’t like how they're selling.  It's a chance for the masses to grade the advertising world: if they are successful or not, and what they need to do to get your business.

In an email to VITAMINW, Gordon writes, "My big goal is to publicly bring to light which brands are making positive connections with female consumers, and which ones are flushing money down the toilet. By engaging female CDs to tweet, we add another layer of weight to our message because these are women who know what goes into the making of a $4 million spot. So they're giving feedback about what succeeds and fails as both a consumer and a creative. Double whammy!"


On Monday morning, ad quarterbacks can check out the video montage, and survey the results which The 3% Conference will produce afterwards.

Brands and advertisers take notice. Award ceremony anyone?