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How to delight women in your advertising is fairly simple, really. It’s all about portraying female actors in scenarios that show their strengths as they push themselves against challenges and succeeding.

Challenges may be physical, emotional, stereotypical, age-related, or an endless variety of other difficult issues. But do ads featuring women in such situations really have a positive effect on overall ad effectiveness?

To find out, we identified four ads from the U.K., Germany, France and the U.S. Each ad had high ABX Index™ and ABX Gender Equality Index (GEI)™ scores. We also compared their impact on two critical KPIs – Reputation and CTAs (Contact, Recommend, Talk About, Web, Look For, Purchase). Since ABX has evaluated more than 30,000 ads for gender equality globally, these choices will illustrate clearly how to delight women in your advertising.

Since women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing decisions according to a Forbes article, “20 Facts And Figures To Know When Marketing To Women,” delighting them is a good thing.


ABX Advertising Benchmark Index chose top TV ads for Women ages 21-54 from October 2023 through March 2024. All ads were measured using the identical methodology developed by ABX to enable advertisers to directly compare effectiveness across all variables, such as countries. The ABX Index is comprised of the five most important of 14 KPIs measured for every ad. The ABX Index is proven to correlate highly with sales and other business outcomes.

An ESOMAR Award-Winning Study with ABX, the Association of National Advertisers and SeeHer showed the power of ads with high-scoring gender equality scores. ABX Female GEI scores impact Reputation by at least 10% and Action by 15%. The ABX GEI™ has become the gold-standard for gender equality measurement, and powers the SeeHer Gender Equality Measure (GEM®).


ABX selected very high-scoring gender equality ads in each country to see if they matched up to high-scoring ABX Index ads. Many did, so we selected four that helped us understand why the portrayal of women had such a big impact on overall ad effectiveness. The four ads below show consistencies across the countries, which are highly instructive for how to delight women in your advertising.

The United Kingdom

Katie Piper – Philanthropist, Empowered by her Scars –  See Ad

Many ads show success stories about people who have fought and won over physical injuries or illnesses. This ad scores extremely high in gender equality for the female spokesperson who had been doused with acid by a rejected boyfriend and who displayed courage and strength through a partial recovery. She gave specific advice to others with scarred or problematic skin, with product recommendations. Her self-confident, forthright, and soft-spoken manner earned a remarkably high GEI scores and sub-scores in terms of how she was Presented, was shown in a Respectful way, and as a Role Model. The ABX Index and Reputation were also big-winners.


Three Older Women on Bench “Giving Joy” – See Ad

What woman doesn’t love this ad featuring three elderly women watching in envy as kids sled down a snowy hill. Then one was inspired to order seat cushions from Amazon. Next, we see these three women sledding down the hill laughing and hollering with joy as the kids on the slope smiled with them. This ad not only portrays older women as up for the challenge, but overcoming physical limitations and bringing joy to others. The GEI scores for the women were much higher than for the young people, showing they were Presented well, Respectfully and as Role Models. The ABX Index, Reputation and Action scores speak for themselves.


Cordless Angle Grinder – See Ad

Seeing a young female handling power tools usually used by men in a highly competent and confident way also inspires high GEI scores as well as the other KPIs. The actor handily created the wood parts needed to complete the chair she was building and radiated a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment.

United States

It’s a Hard Knock Life for Us – See Ad

The first part of this ad features kids falling as they strive to succeed in their chosen sports, again illustrating courage and determination. The second part deals more with body image and acceptance for young people in sports. Dove’s Body Positive program, as part of its Self-Esteem Project, is designed to help young people overcome these challenges and be active in sports. This ad scored very well in GEI Female and Girl, which contributed to high ABX Index, Reputation and Action scores. A winner all around.

How to Delight Women in your Advertising – Conclusion

All four stories portray the female actors or spokespeople in scenarios that feature their strengths and determination as they meet challenges and succeed! Women are delighted with this type of portrayal in advertising across the world.

Whether a character is overcoming injury; is elderly and sitting on the sidelines; is building furniture with mechanical tools; or is striving to excel at sports … each can be portrayed in a way that conveys strength and courage regardless of the product to be advertised. Try it!


Written by: Angela Jeffrey, ABX Vice President Brand Management

Want to learn more gender equality measurement in advertising?  Contact ABX Today.