Unilever looks to DNA profiling in a bid to banish stereotypes from adverts

Unilever looks to DNA profiling in a bid to banish stereotypes from adverts

Unilever is offering its agency partners DNA profiling in an attempt for them to understand their own diversity. The move is hoped to help the multinational further eradicate stereotyping from its adverts, according to a report by the Drum.

The company created the experiment in collaboration with University College London (UCL) and is looking to reduce unconscious bias and ‘stereotypical bias’ by letting marketing executives discover their own genetic make-up and ancestry.

The trial is part of its Unstereotype initiative, with 63 executives from London, Rotterdam and New York having submitted their DNA for analysis. Unilever then assessed whether the information retrieved from the tests would widen their creative process and challenge them to assess their own sense of identity.

Aline Santos, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, told the Drum that the test group was “overwhelmed” by the results.

Test results were anonymous to Unilever, with scientists noting a “35% reduction in stereotypical thinking,” as well as a , “27% increase in original thinking.”

According to Santos, “When we did this test people were so surprised about the results. Some people didn’t realise they had a geographic heritage that was coming from Asia or Africa, or that they had Jewish roots. When people are surprised or get to know something new about themselves that’s the best moment for them to learn about others and understand that they should be conscious about not stereotyping people.”

Unilever is offering its entire in-house marketing team and collaborative agencies the chance to take part and is allowing the test to be shared with other brands and competitors, stating it “does not want to compete on diversity.”

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