Gisler Protocol: Stereotype Analysis - The Cliché Still Dominates

The stereotype analysis of the Gisler Protocol initiative goes into the second round - and shows: The stereotype still dominates. But things are changing - there is slowly more diversity in role models.

The inter-agency initiative Gislerprotokoll is committed to the multi-faceted representation of gender in marketing, communication and advertising. The Gisler Protocol is organized as an association and has around 126 members at the beginning of March 2023. Last year, the initiative conducted a stereotype analysis for the first time - and reissued it this year. In it, the moving image advertisements (TVC and digital) published in the trade media in the corresponding year in which at least one person appeared are analyzed.

The focus of the analysis is on the presence and representation of female and male read*. The 10 stereotypes identified by the Gisler Protocol, which are most frequently used in advertising, serve as a grid. The stereotypes are divided into six male and four female stereotypes.

The most important results

The study analyzed 319 moving image ads published in Switzerland in 2022, based on all ads communicated via industry media in 2022. In 245 commercials, female characters appear, and 81 times these characters also speak. In 266 advertisements, males are read, and 103 times these persons also speak. In the 319 advertisements 114 male stereotypes and 44 female stereotypes occur. It can be seen: male-read persons are stereotyped more often than female-read persons. In 150 advertisements no stereotypical representations were used. In 168 advertisements at least one stereotype occurred, in 54 of them more than one stereotype.

By far the most popular male stereotype (46 times): "That One Funny Guy" - the funny man.

The stereotype "A true hero" follows at some distance in 2nd place (24 times). Most popular female stereotype: "The Caretaker" (18), followed in 2nd place by "The Quiet Epicure".

(13). In 21 of the analyzed advertisements, a male-read person explicitly takes care of children, the household or fellow men. In 41 advertisements, female-read persons were portrayed as experts, and in 12 advertisements female-read persons occupied funny roles. 70 advertisements passed the "potted plant test" introduced by the Gisler Protocol. If an advertisement passes this test, it means that a female-read person or minority is portrayed in a purely decorative role.

Stereotypes slowly dissolve

The stereotype analysis was conducted for the second time this year. The increased number of ads analyzed (319 vs. 149 in 2021) results from the fact that each moving image asset was now evaluated individually per campaign. For this reason, some of the following classification works with percentages: The ratio between stereotypical and non-stereotypical representation has not changed compared to 2021. Whereas in 2021 51% of the ads analyzed contained stereotypes, in 2022 the figure was 52%.

There was also no change in the fact that males read stereotypes more often than females read stereotypes (2021: 95 vs. 53; 2022: 114 vs. 44). The most popular male stereotype continues to be "That One Funny Guy" in 2022. The most popular female stereotype in 2022 is no longer "Cool Girl" but "The Caretaker."

On the positive side, both male- and female-read characters are more often portrayed in roles otherwise reserved for the opposite sex: Male-read characters who care, female-read characters who are portrayed as funny, as heroines, or as experts. Stereotypical representations of gender thus seem to be slowly dissolving, allowing for more diversity in role models.

The six male stereotypes

The one funny guy: The funny one. The character head. Doesn't take himself too seriously, but that's exactly why he's to be taken seriously. That's why he plays the leading role and can afford to make fun of himself.

3 dudes having fun: Three men who experience something. Friends for life, bros or just random... men. Very popular in Switzerland because of our three (four) national languages. Women? Would only disturb the fun.

A true hero:Like Odysseus, our hero fights his way through all adversity, but of course succeeds heroically in the end. Gladly, the true hero is also a well-known athlete. We are impressed. What a man. Can women do the same? Are women also famous athletes? Hard to imagine...

The master at work:The master - gladly 50+ - has great expertise. In matters of chocolate, calcified sinks or cheese. Only he knows how to do it right. He doesn't even have to say much, his masterly aura alone inspires the greatest respect.

Mr. Mainsplainer:Like the "master at work", our Mr. Mansplainer has great expertise in his ancestral field. And is usually over 50. Unlike the silent master, Mr. Mansplainer is very happy to explain the world to us. After all, we don't really know where we're going ourselves.

A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do (grill, sweat):A collection category for everything that men do. And only them. They steer cars skillfully, grill to perfection and sweat manly.

The four female stereotypes

The Caretaker: She cares. For children, animals, calcified coffee machines. Gladly in profile, since she has to turn her attention to something or someone. She can't say much, she's busy taking care of herself.

The quiet connoisseur:Unbelievable how creamy this yogurt is. This immediately leaves the quiet connoisseur speechless. Which is why she just continues to silently enjoy her chocolate (but not too much!), her yogurt (preferably low-fat and low-sugar) or just the moment.

The Räklerin:Fortunately, an almost extinct category. Except in perfume and cosmetics advertising. There the Räklerin still enjoys great popularity. Always with her mouth half-open, a moan on her lips, she lolls lasciviously in front of perfume bottles, mascaras or anti-wrinkle creams. Speak? Would only destroy the moment.

The cool girl: The Cool Girl is not like any other typical woman. The Cool Girl likes to eat burgers, play soccer, swear and is also otherwise just as cool as a man and not as conservative as a woman. The Cool Girl likes to be a bit more "edgier" on the outside and thus shows her crazy character to the outside world.


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