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One of the perks of online video is that it allows marketers to tell longer stories than they might be able to in the typical 30-second spot.

The new 'wholesome'

For Mondelez International Inc.'s brand of graham crackers and other treats, it has provided a platform for emotional stories about what it means to be a modern family.

In March, Honey Maid kicked off a campaign declaring that all families are "wholesome" – including shots of a gay couple with their baby, an interracial family and a rocker dad covered in tattoos in place of the usual commercial pablum of perfect, largely white, nuclear families.

This week, it continued its appeal to families' emotions, with a two-minute video about families that go through divorce. The ad proposes that those families are "blended," and "not broken."

The video represents a larger change: advertisers are recognizing that consumers' attitudes toward family values are changing. More of them have been including gay couples in their commercials, or otherwise betting that images of diversity will outweigh whatever negative responses they may receive from those who disagree.

After its initial video, it received hate mail, which it addressed in a second video. Now it is continuing to bet on a strategy that has given the 90-year-old brand a distinctly modern image.

Women make gains in advertising creative director chair

Is the gender gap in advertising shrinking?

It's possible, according to the founder of the 3 Percent Conference, a series of events meant to address the lack of women in leadership roles in the ad industry. Its name comes from a 2008 study that evaluated the Communication Arts Advertising Annual, which lists people credited in winning work at that awards show. That study found that of the creative directors listed, just 3.6 per cent were women.

This year, conference founder Kat Gordon decided to replicate the work, and looked at the 2013 award credit listings. This time, she found that 11.5 per cent of creative directors listed were female. It's a marked improvement – but still a shocking minority.

The disparity is important because greater diversity – whether in terms of gender, or other factors where ad agencies often fall short in their ranks, such as diversity in race or age – results in a broader perspective, and arguably a better ability to speak to all consumers in a way that is less stereotypical and more insightful.

Of course, an advertising awards show winners' list is not necessarily the best measure. It could be that it simply reflects the amount of women overseeing winning work, not an overall ratio. That is why Ms. Gordon is arguing for a better measure: Currently, labour statistics agencies typically do not track the advertising creative director title, making it difficult to parse detailed statistics on the labour force in the industry.

"The progress is encouraging," Ms. Gordon said. "But … we need a better ruler. Sadly most agencies don't measure their diversity numbers or share them widely."

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