You can kill a lot of time finding out how Google autocomplete finishes a search. The results are often bizarre, hilarious, and even dark, making you wonder what goes on inside the average person’s brain.
Searches regarding women were included in Buzzfeed’s post “What Google Can Teach Us About Women” from last year. The terribly outdated misogyny was something to laugh at and dismiss, but an ad campaign from the United Nations’ group UN Women is telling the world that gender discrimination is something to take seriously.
Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai took women representing four different cultures and imposed Google autocomplete searches over their mouths, portraying their sex as one to be controlled, distrusted, and silenced.
Here’s what one of them looks like:
The autocomplete algorithm is based upon your part of the world, so a search from New York for “women should” will yield some unsavory results, but the top choice is “women’s shoulder bags.” Ogilvy did, however, conduct the searches from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates — in, of course, a part of the world where women struggle to be treated fairly.
Though the ads were published in the United Arab Emirates earlier this fall, an Adweek post last week brought attention to the campaign. The ads soon spread throughout the Internet, and even inspired a UN gay rights group to produce their own autocomplete ads in homage to the UN Women campaign.
Ogilvy Dubai told Adweek that they were so enthused by the immediate global response to the ads that they will be developing the campaign even further.
You can check out the other two ads below:
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