Speaking to Marketing during the launch of Always’ latest ‘Like a Girl’ ad, Donnelly said advertisers had a "huge responsibility" to send out positive messages to female customers.
Her comments come after the Football Association was slammed for a tweet saying, "Our Lionesses go back to being mothers, partners and daughters today, but they have taken on another title – heroes."
The post was branded sexist by critics, who pointed out that such domestic language is rarely used in reference to the men’s football team.
Donnelly said: "I think it’s just unacceptable. Anyone on twitter has got to be responsible, and has to have internal processes.
"He - if it was a he - was just looking at the world through their mindset and you can’t do that in the public arena. They have done the right thing by taking [the tweet] down so quickly."
The FA’s chief executive, Martin Glenn, yesterday described the incident as a "mistake" and called on advertisers to support women’s football.
Something in the air
In spite of the controversy, there have been several high-profile campaigns focusing on gender equality recently.
Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign was seen as a shot in the arm for female sport, while Nike released its equally positive "Better for it" ad at around the same time.
Donelly said: "We’re on a journey, and we have to make sure that everybody putting advertising messages into the public domain understands real people and talks to real people."
She said most normal consumers are more likely to be impacted by advertising than feminist books such as Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’.
She added there was "something in the air" in marketing around gender equality, with the introduction of a new prize category at Cannes Lions that recognised gender inequality or prejudice.
At this year’s Cannes Lions, P&G won a runner-up Glass Lion for ‘Like a Girl’, and won the Grand Prix with another sanitary campaign, targeted at Indian consumers, called ‘Touch the Pickle’.