Elkjøp joins UN roundtable on fight against harmful stereotypes in gaming

April 14, 2021

Why is the topic of harmful stereotypes in gaming important for Elkjøp Nordic, and what do we do about it? That’s what Nils Martin Øyo, Brand Specialist Gaming in Elkjøp Nordic, came to explain when presenting at the Unstereotype Alliance, convened by UN Women in March.

The virtual roundtable facilitated an open and frank dialogue on key challenges facing women and girls in online gaming and discussed approaches to address stereotypes to enhance gender equality and women’s empowerment in this space.

Øyo and Elkjøp have actively worked with the topics of gender and harmful stereotypes as a part of their work to reach target audiences.

- We saw that the stereotypical portrayal of a gamer still exists and differ heavily from the reality, both on individual levels and gender diversity. To be a relevant retailer in gaming we need to understand who our real customers are. Not who the stereotype of a gamer is, said Nils Martin Øyo, Brand Specialist Gaming in Elkjøp Nordic

The challenge
Since the stereotype of a gamer mostly is a young boy playing from a dark room at his parents house the actual gender diversity in gaming can be shocking. In fact, the numbers show that globally as many as 44 % of gamers are female. And in the Nordics more than 60 % of girls under the age of 18 say they play video games. This show that the gender gap in gaming is smaller than the stereotype tells us. At the same time insights also indicates that the gap grows compared to age, individual levels and identification with gaming. Looking at Norwegian numbers, we see that up until the age of 12, almost everyone plays games but from the age of 13-14 we can notice an age gap starting to develop. And if we look at only gamers that are vocal about being gamers, the gap is even bigger.

With the fact that 44 % of all gamers still are female this indicates that the older they get, the less they identify with it. Also knowing that women participating at top levels in eSport is marginal, and most game developers and streamers are men, the overall picture suggest that the stereotype stands strong and are strengthened by what all of us see and refer to when we think of a gamer.

What we do
Together with participants comprised of senior industry stakeholders including in-game advertisers, gaming platforms, game producers and grassroots organisations from across the Nordics and the UK, Nils Martin Øyo was invited to the roundtable convened by UN Women to talk about the topic from a corporate perspective. To succeed this also includes a commercial point of view.

- Even if everyone agrees that this is a problem that should be addressed, we can only get so far in the corporate world if the only argument is “it’s the right thing to do”. Therefore, it is important to emphasize the economic side as well, Øyo said before he continued.

- Actively fronting positive female profiles in gaming in external communication and adverts can be a part in normalizing women in gaming, leading to more girls continuing to play games, with the effect of growing the market. This will not “only” be the right thing to do, but also economically sensible in addition to creating positive role models, hopefully replacing the negative feedback loop with a positive.

Clear strategy
Creating and using insights about who gaming customers are is perhaps obvious, but with the stereotypes described it has a win-win purpose in the gaming category for Elkjøp. Alongside creating awareness around the real customers and diversity within gaming, Elkjøp have a clear strategy to include positive female profiles in gaming marketing campaigns.

- In this way we focus on the reality and not perceptions. It sometimes requires more effort to find the profiles and stories, but it clearly reaches the audiences and grows the market. At the same time it is really important to avoid portraying female gamers as “something special” and to force the topic where it does not fit in, said Øyo.

To see some examples of Elkjøp Norway’s gaming campaigns and adverts please visit the following links. Click here to learn more about the Unstereotype Alliance, convened by UN Women.

Elkjøp gaming marketing
More social with esport: https://www.vg.no/annonsorinnhold/elkjop/mer-sosial-med-esport/
Unboxing Xbox: https://www.instagram.com/p/CI7vrqnDJAd/
Christmas commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yQdtpJFB7Q


Camilla Skjelsbæk Gramstad

Head of Sustainability

Kristian Willanger

Senior Communications Advisor, Elkjøp Nordic

Jan Christian Thommesen

Nordic Head of PR and Communications, Elkjøp Nordic