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Ad of the Day: an actors’ casting call exposes an ad industry still plagued by stereotypes

Unstereotype Alliance - The Problem is Not Seeing the Problem

UN Women and Unilever's Unstereotype Alliance first film explores the character stereotypes that actors are constantly called up to portray in adverts, including the happy housewife, the useless dad and the sexy dancer.

The spot sees actors arrive at a studio and given their mocked-up parts to play. The roles they’re handed are frustratingly two-dimensional, and are made even more so with direction cues such as “can you be a bit happier?” and – to the corner shop owner – “can you do it in an Indian accent?”

As the two-minute film cycles through audition tapes, the actors involve explain how their true feelings with regards to the minor variety of parts offered to them by the ad industry. One lady admits: “I never get to speak, and I want to be able to speak.”

The film ends with the group holding up signs of parts they’d like to see advertised: the female boxer, the funny girl, the male PA and the older hero.

‘The Problem is Not Seeing the Problem’ was created by MullenLowe London and produced by Snapper to remind the industry that it can still do better in removing sexist, racist and false stereotypes from its work.

Hel Hadfield, executive producer at Snapper, said: “We had a great cast and a lot of fun doing it and are very chuffed to have made it. It was a chance to be a force for good and it’s very nice to be able to do that.

“No one belongs in a box or sits in a certain category. We have a common humanity, let’s embrace it.”

MullenLowe London
UN Unstereotype Alliance

‘The Problem is Not Seeing the Problem’ is a powerful film that serves as a stark reminder that the advertising industry has a long way to go to remove sexist, racist and false stereotypes from its output.

The two minute film shows mocked up auditions for actors, playing typical roles such as cornershop vendors, tired mothers and useless dads. Each short scene cycles through familiar tropes, before revealing the actors' true feelings regarding these roles, and the work they'd like to produce instead.

The film was was created by MullenLowe London for the Unstereotype Alliance, the industry-led initiative convened by UN Women - the lead UN agency on gender equality & woman’s rights.

Agency: MullenLowe London, IPG

Jose Miguel Sokoloff | CCO
Alex Okada | Global Creative Director
Jorge Eliecer Pinto & Juan Pablo Maldonado | Creative Team

Helen Bell | Unilever COO
Liann Al-Chami | Global Business Director
Ayesha Walawalkar | Global Planning Director
Marina Damato | Global Account Manager
Safae Bouazz | Global Account Executive

Luke Judlin | Producer
Trudy Waldon | Director of Integrated Production

Rob Hare | Designer

Production Company: Snapper Films
Director: Joanna Bailey
Executive Producer: Helen Hadfield
Line Producer: Rosie Pike

Edit: Speade
Editor | Sam Sneade
Edit assistant | Sam Allen

Sound | Wave
Sound Designer | Ed Downham
Ben Tomlin | Head of Integrated Production
Jenn Saunders | Production

Music Agency | SixtyFour Music
Music Supervisor | Joe Rice
Composer | KLANG
Track Title | 'Alliance'

VFX: The Mill
Executive Producer: Colin Oaten
Production Coordinator: Dan Crozier
2D Lead Artist: James Pratt
Colour: The Mill
Colourist: Seamus O'Kane
Colour Producer: Charlie Morris


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