The Dubai-based marketing and advertising industry body Advertising Business Group (ABG) has announced its plans to tackle a number of key industry issues and making new appointments during its first AGM.

ABG Chair Sanjiv Kakkar, who is Unilever’s executive vice-president across MENA, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, outlined two key initiatives: The first is to raise awareness about gender stereotyping within advertising, and the second is to tackle the issue of advertising to children.

Gender stereotyping

Gender stereotyping in advertising is a global issue but it is of special importance in the Middle East region, where countries like Saudi Arabia are setting new norms. As a first step towards addressing this, the ABG will commission local research into gender stereotyping within the region’s ad sector.

It will also adopt and apply the Code of Principles already set in place by the Unstereotype Alliance, a global thought and action platform that uses advertising as a force for good to drive positive change focusing on eradicating harmful gender-based stereotypes.

Brands such as Unilever have taken a stand after a global research last year by the company showed that 40% of women surveyed don’t identify with the women they see in ads.

Marketing to kids

Kids in the region (UAE, KSA and Turkey) spend over four hours a day glued to screen including TV, smartphones, and online games, according to a 2016 study by Turner.

And despite age limits on social media platforms, the study also found that 70% of kids between the ages of four and 14 are already on social media.

And so, ABG is endorsing the GCC Food and Beverage “Pledge on Responsible Marketing to Children,” which is a voluntary commitment to the way food and beverage (F&B) products are marketed to children under the age of 12 in the region. It was first introduced in 2010 with brands including General Mills, Kelloggs, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Unilever.

This commitment applies to marketing material across a number of hannels including TV, print, owned/third-party websites, radio, cinema, interactive games, and SMS.

PHD MENA CEO Elda Choucair joins the board of ABG as Vice-Chair.

The full article is published in CommunicateOnline.me