RAF tackles feminine clichés in new ad

The spot is the latest winner of the Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award, which last year invited brands and agencies to pitch campaigns which would challenge ingrained stereotypes and the objectification and sexualisation of women

The new RAF ad, which is created by ad agency Engine, addresses the stereotyped way that women are often talked about, and to, in ads. Featuring familiar lines from other ads, including comments about ageing and ‘strong, healthy hair’, it juxtaposes these with images of women at work in the RAF.

The ad was picked by Channel 4 as the Diversity in Advertising Award winner this year against entries from Cadbury Milk Tray, eBay and Flybe. The winning ad wins £1 million of airtime on the channel.

The campaign launches as early findings from a major new survey examining diversity in advertising revealed that the main problem with adverts featuring women is the roles in which they are portrayed rather than overall levels of representation.

The research, commissioned by Channel 4, studied the 1,000 most-watched TV adverts over a four week period and showed examples where women were portrayed in stereotypical and sometimes derogatory ways. In ads where women have a clearly defined role or occupation, just over 40% showed women in a clichéd ‘homemaker’ or ‘house wife’ role.

Channel 4 will reveal the full details of what will be UK television’s largest ever survey of diversity in on-screen advertising during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June this year. It will cover the portrayal of women, BAME, LBGTQ+, disability and social mobility.

Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising award scheme will continue at least until 2020 and the next iteration of the award will open for entries in June 2019.

Agency: Engine
Chief Creative Officer: Billy Faithfull
Creative Director: Christopher Ringsell
Creative: Olly Courtney
Director: Sara Dunlop
Production company: Rattling Stick