Advertising with Impact – Creating Campaigns that Speak to Women


Karyl facilitated a discussion around positive approaches to advertising to women. Ziad from UN Women described some of the work they are doing to improve the representation of women in advertising, and GBA members shared some of their recent “un-stereotyped” advertising campaign journeys as well as the final products.

Key Points

  1. Gender stereotypes impact how people are perceived by society.
  2. Sixty-four percent of consumer spending is controlled by women, and brands that deliver progressive messages – including those that present women in an “un-stereotyped” way – have extremely positive responses to their ads and returns.
  3. BLC Bank in Lebanon created a series of videos that actively sought to combat gender stereotypes. Apart from having strong results for the bank’s Women’s Market program, the videos actually began a dialogue in the country about these issues.

2018 GBA Summit

  1. Bank of Palestine has seen a similar experience, with the beginnings of a culture shift from the bank’s work to change the Arabic language to be more inclusive of women. In Arabic, most job titles are only expressed in the masculine form – the only job titles that are feminine are those for roles that are traditionally considered “feminine.” The bank worked with an Arabic language institute in Cairo, which formally approved their changing the titles for women at their own institution to a feminine form. Bank of Palestine is now lobbying for this to be done across the entire language, and they have seen extremely strong results from their marketing campaign associated with this – from both women and men.
  2. Virginia shared Itaú Unibanco’s process for creating un-stereotyped campaigns – as well as some missteps they have had. She noted that banks should be aware of their position as well as the audience they are targeting. The lessons from their experiences were that consistency, diversity and testing are all critical elements of successful advertising.

2018 GBA Summit

  1. Danysh of HBL Pakistan discussed how his bank ensures they include women prominently in their ads and seeks to create role models for women in Pakistan by highlighting the experiences of outstanding women who the bank supports.
  2. All of the panelists highlighted the importance of testing campaigns and making changes wherever necessary. They also agreed on the need to have processes in place to be sure ads represent both women and men well – whether informal, such as review by the Chair or CEO, or formal, like a checklist.
2018 GBA Summit


Facilitator: KARYL AKILIAN Head of Brand Management, BLC Bank Presentation (members only)

ZIAD SHEIKH Representative, UN Women Jordan Presentation (members only)

VIRGINIA GONCALVES Sustainability Coordinator, Itaú Unibanco

RAYA YUSUF-SBITANY Chief Business Development and Financial Inclusion Officer, Bank of Palestine Presentation (members only)

DANYSH HASHMI General Manager – Retail Product Group, HBL


Gender stereotypes in advertising are a problem for both men and women. And there is a clear impact on the bottom line when organizations actively un-stereotype their ads. — Karyl Akilian

The problem is not seeing the problem. — Ziad Sheikh

We have a lot of work to do in this space, particularly because stereotypes are reinforced throughout childhood. — Virgínia Gonçalves

If we want to celebrate women and what they stand for, we need to actually hear from the women themselves. — Raya Yusuf-Sbitany

Our brand’s communications are designed to break barriers and gender biases. — Danysh Hashmi