UN Women campaign tackles harmful stereotyping
The campaign was created by Ogilvy and produced by IPG agency Craft
26 June 2023
The Unstereotype Alliance – an industry-led coalition convened by UN Women to eradicate harmful stereotypes in advertising content – has announced its first business-to-consumer campaign, 'Say Nothing, Change Nothing'.
The global campaign was designed to mobilise public action and is spearheaded by award-winning playwright, actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Danai Gurira.
The campaign aims to tackle harmful stereotyping after research showed that under-represented and underserved communities in particular are facing it daily. Research conducted by Unstereotype Alliance member IPSOS across Brazil, South Africa, Türkiye, USA and UK, found that three in four (73 per cent) people state they regularly see or hear stereotyping yet only one in three (30 per cent) will frequently say something to disagree with it. Half (50 percent) believe people do not speak up or disagree when they see someone using a negative stereotype, because they do not want to escalate the situation. Two in five (41%) also believe people do not speak up or disagree with the perpetrator because they do not know what to say.
The Unstereotype Alliance hopes to encourage conversation around the issue and provide people with resources and educational tools to proactively and safely take action. A guide, Unstereotype 101, explains how to safely confront stereotypes and enables people to become upstanders rather than bystanders, with three quick steps to standing up to stereotypes: 'Stop, See, Suggest'.
Three films have been launched as part of the campaign - 'The Candidate', 'The Game' and 'Winner' - which cover issues of stereotyping linked to race, gender and disability and underscore the harm caused when people do not speak out against stereotypes.
The social-first campaign will focus on talking to Generation Z in particular, after two in five (44 per cent) of 18 – 30-year-olds said they would refer to social media for more information on standing up against stereotypes. A social media movement #IWishIHadSaid will be triggered by Danai Gurira, encouraging audiences to share their own experiences of stereotyping and the times they wish they had spoken up.
Sara Denby, Head of the Unstereotype Alliance Secretariat, UN Women, said: “Despite the headway made across the industry, stereotypes are rife the world over. They continue to stifle progress in every society, deny human rights, and diminish entire groups of people in ways that have real-life consequences. That’s why we’ve chosen now – in the sixth year of the Alliance – to make our message public and come together with our members to launch our very first public awareness campaign. Collective action can help us drive the positive social change in society which is so desperately needed- but we have to ensure people have the language and confidence to carry the movement forward.”
Aline Santos, Chief Brand Officer and Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Unilever said: “If we want to eradicate stereotypes then we need to speak up. The purpose of this campaign is to encourage people to take action, and to not allow stereotypes to be a part of our lives anymore. We’re asking people across the world to unite with us on this mission, using the tools we have provided to start tackling stereotypes proactively and safely. Together our voices can make a monumental difference to breaking down stereotypes to create a more equitable world.”
The campaign was produced in partnership with Unilever as a Vice Chair and co-champion of the Unstereotype Alliance and contributing members Include Ogilvy, Lions, IPSOS and IPG's Craft.