When a man looks at an ad, and a woman looks at that same ad, do they see the same thing?
We all have internal biases, life histories, and sensitivities. These personal experiences influence how we see the world around us, including how we react to different advertisements.
When I saw this banner ad, it instantly told me this is not a learning institution for me.
Graphic Design and Business are the two areas of study that interest me, but those have male icons. The ad says to me, “You should be interested in female work, like Education or Health and Human Services.”
Am I reading too much into this? This particular learning institution* may have facts to prove the majority of students in their Business and Graphic Design programs are men. So, it would make perfect sense to have male icons next to those fields of study. Nothing wrong with that, right?
Am I being too sensitive? Maybe. But at the end of the day, the ad is still sending me the same message: “DO NOT CLICK!”
I’m guessing that’s not the reaction the advertiser hoped for.
[*Editor's Note: As further evidence that the banner didn't work, Holly was so turned off that she didn't even click through out of marketer's curiosity. If she had, she'd have realized that this ad is for Degrees.info; an online education affiliate network, not an actual learning institution.]