This study examines representations of gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation (LGBTQ), and ability (with a focus on people with disabilities) among characters in Cannes Lions ads from 2018. Furthermore, it compared findings from 2018 to gender representations in Cannes Lions Film Craft advertisements from the previous decade (2006-2017).
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- Male characters outnumber female characters in 2018 ads (59.8% men, 39.9% women), but by a smaller margin than in the previous decade.
- Male characters are twice as likely as women to be shown working in 2018 ads (26% compared with 11%), an even larger discrepancy than that found in ads from 2006 to 2017.
- Overall, gender differences within stereotypical activities and settings in 2018 ads showed marked improvement when compared with ads from the previous decade.
- Male characters in 2018 ads are twice as likely as female characters to be shown as having an occupation (25.6% compared with 13.8%), comparable to findings from the previous decade
- Male characters in 2018 ads are twice as likely as female characters to be portrayed as leaders (16.4% compared with 8.3%), comparable to findings from the previous decade.
- Although female characters remain sexualized in 2018 ads, there is marked improvement compared with ads from 2006 to 2017.
- Male characters in 2018 ads are 1.5 times more likely than female characters to be shown performing physical comedy (13.3% compared with 8.5%), and twice as likely to be shown preforming verbal comedy (9.8% compared with 4.1%).
- People of color make up 43.1% of characters in 2018 ads.
- White characters are more likely than characters of color to be depicted as having an occupation (22.9% compared with 17.9%).
- LGBTQ characters are underrepresented in 2018 ads, making up only 1.9% of characters despite the fact that 10% of people identify as LGBTQIA globally.
- Characters with disabilities are underrepresented in 2018 ads, making up only 0.8% of characters. This is in sharp contrast to the 15% of people globally with some form of cognitive or physical disability.