Gender Role Stereotypes and Anti-stereotypes in Advertisements: A Comparative Study Between Italian and Danish Millennials

Alice Manganaro & Marianna Berlingieri

Student thesis: Master thesis


Gender equality and equal rights are topics broadly discussed and of high interest nowadays. Movements fighting gender discrimination are arising worldwide and the subject is discussed at a governmental, political and legislative level. In such a context, brands need to rethink the portrayal of gender roles in their advertisements according to how consumers would process them. This thesis aims at investigating the effect of advertisements featuring gender role stereotypes and anti¬stereotypes on ad attitude, brand equity and purchase intentions, in Danish and Italian millennials. The models of Attitude towards the Ad by Mackenzie, Lutz and Belch (1986) and of Brand Equity by Faircloth, Capella and Alford (2001) were mainly employed to build the framework of this research. Both interviews and an online questionnaire were conducted in order to gather qualitative and quantitative data allowing to answer the research question. Results show that Italian and Danish millennials present different attitudes and behaviours from each other when exposed to both a stereotypical and anti¬stereotypical ad. More specifically Italians tend to be neutral in terms of changes in ad attitude, brand equity and purchase intentions when shown a gender role stereotypical ad. Danes, instead, tend to be negative with regards to the same constructs in the same context. When a gender role anti¬stereotypical ad is shown, Italian millennials tend to be positive in terms of changes in ad attitude and brand equity, whereas Danish millennials tend to be neutral with regards to the same constructs. Purchase intentions, instead, tend to be negative when Danes are exposed to a gender role anti-stereotypical ad, and neutral when Italians are exposed to the same ad. This study is believed to provide insightful and useful information to brand managers who are faced with the choice of how to portray men and women in advertisements when targeting millennials in Italy and Denmark.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages196