Women in Advertising - Women in American Society


Term Paper, 2006
24 Pages, Grade: 2,0

Excerpt

Contents

1. Introduction

2. Advertising
2.1 General information on advertising
2.2 Brief history of advertising

3. Women as target group
3.1 Techniques to address women

4. Women`s portrayal in advertising
- Women as mother and housewife
- Working women
- Setting
- Product
- Authority
- Age
- Psychological health
- Sport
- Beauty and body image
4.1 Women in advertising for men

5. Outlook

6. Conclusion

7. Bibliography

1. Introduction

Advertising can be seen as a cultural commodity in that its popularity as a tool of communication is a consequence of our developing society. From pre-industrial, industrial to consumer and global society, advertising communicates the centrality of consumerism in the western world.[1]

Today advertising is more than ever important for the success of a new product. Companies spend fortunes on analyzing the style the campaign should underlie, the media which should be used to distribute the advertisement, or the frequency by which it should be published. Advertising experts do not leave things to chance and therefore every aspect is evaluated.

The most important issue those experts and the companies think about is the target group. “Advertisements are aimed at specific audiences, and the message is designed to fit the audience; these messages play on or even create the fears, needs, or desires of specific groups of people.”[2] Two major audiences are simply men and women.

For different reasons women constitute special target groups and therefore whole commercial campaigns are addressed to them in a way experts find adequate. To find out why women are addressed in particular and what kind of advertising the experts think might appeal to women will be an important topic in this work.

But women function not only as addressee of advertising, they are quite often also seen as actors or models in campaigns. To analyze what different pictures of women are made up, if they are realistic and what they aim at will be discussed in the second part.

But before focussing on the women`s role in general it is necessary to take some more basic information on advertising in general in account.

2. Advertising

2.1 General information on advertising

“In its simplest sense the word `advertising´ means `drawing attention to something´, or notifying or informing somebody of something.”[3] “Something” in most cases is a product a company wants to sell, and “somebody” usually is a member of the above mentioned target groups, which will be explained in more detail under point 3.

Advertising is seen as the manipulation of social values and attitudes through which false needs and desires are disseminated with the aim of regenerating desire for the consumption of an ever-increasing volume and diversity of goods.[4]

Advertising can be used also to create a positive image of a company. Consumers are supposed to feel connected to the company`s philosophy or sympathize with a company`s identity and as a consequence buy its products, rather than the product of another company. But this function of advertising has much to do with Public Relations and will not be discussed here any further.

The most important thing about advertising is the way it is supposed to work. As also mentioned above the major goal of advertisement experts is to create certain needs, so that people feel they really want a certain product to be, for example, healthier or more beautiful, or to create fears, for instance the thought that without a certain product one might miss something important in life. “Because of this power to shape emotions, they (ads) can have a profound influence on creating, or at least maintaining, specific gender and sexual norms”[5], which is a function we will evaluate in the continuing chapters.

But to create such emotions is just one part of the general advertising process, which is all in all very complex and therefore cannot be explained in detail here.

To give a short overview on how advertising works, the AIDA – formula will be explained in the following:

A Attention/ Awareness

I Interest

D Desire

A Action[6]

The most important and of course chronologically first step in advertising campaigns is that the potential customer is attracted by the ad. This is important because there are so many ads in today`s massmedia influenced society that only few are recognized. Therefore experts try to do unique ads of a high quality, which is very difficult because of the huge market.

However, after the potential customer was attracted, he has to get interested in the product. This can be done by listing several advantages of the product, also in comparison to other company`s equivalent products (here, of course, many other techniques can be applied).

Through the given positive information on the product and a very attractive positioning, advertising experts expect the customer to feel a need for the product, and by this create the action, which they aimed at, namely that the product is bought.

But before an advertising campaign can be started a very important thing is to focus on the target group to find out how they can be attracted (which media, what time, which frequency), how can their emotions be addressed and what are their potential needs they might not have developed yet. Only by knowing as much as possible about the target group the AIDA-model can work successfully. To gather this information experts engage market researchers that interview consumers on their living standards.

Another attempt to explain advertising focuses on three major functions it can fulfil.[7]

First of all it can inform people about the existence of a new product with the help of detailed information. Within this function the product is also positioned towards a certain target group, for example families.

The second function is that advertising can motivate people to buy the product, which is also the main goal of the advertising industry. This is done by addressing the potential customer emotionally and thereby creating the above mentioned needs and fears.

The last function can be summed up under the term of “socialization”. This means that companies represent certain social values, like tradition or modernity, for example. The advertising experts try to project this picture of the company on the product, and thereby also reflect society`s values.

This will be the most important function for the topic of women`s roles in advertising, and will therefore occur in later chapters.

2.2 Brief history of advertising

Advertising can be traced back to ancient times as a method to make people think they need whatever one has on display and is advertising. But in those times people advertised only by verbal propaganda.

Advertising as we know it

was inspired by the transformation from an agricultural- to industrial-based economy. After the 1760s in Britain, and the 1860s in America, the dominance of rural, agricultural life was replaced by the onset of industrialization. The use of raw material in manufacture, the invention of labor-saving, development in transport for distribution and the move to urban cities sparked a new phenomenon of mass production. This meant a surplus of goods could quickly be produced due to the new technology and concentration of people working in factories. In order to avoid overproduction new consumers were needed in a larger market.[8]

And therefore companies needed to praise the advantages of their goods in public. The instrument to spread their campaigns were the mass media. In the early years this meant in first place print media and the radio. “By the 1920s advertising was professionalized, and later it became increasingly technical and scientific in its approach,”[9] which was of course also due to the invention of new mediums, that demanded the modernization of advertising.

With advertisement`s improvement also the issue of target groups became more important. And a new audience was quickly found in the late 19th century when women took up the role of one of the most important addressees.[10] By that time also television, which became a major platform for advertising, spread quickly over the country. In 1950 there were already 38 televisions stations.[11]

“Some of the first important efforts to direct advertising at women occurred in the late 19th century, as women took up the role of being the chief domestic consumers – fuel for the growing economy.”[12] From that time on it was unthinkable not to include the factor of gender in the process of advertising.

3. Women as target group

A target group or audience can be defined as in the following explanation.

A term widely used in market research to refer to a section or group of people that advertisers are trying to attract to a product. Through market research the advertisers discover all they can about the target audience (through discussion, groups, interviews, etc.) – for example, lifestyle, tastes, class, age, gender etc. This information is then used when determining the best method of advertising a particular product.[13]

[...]


[1] Newbold, Chris/ Boyd-Barrett, Oliver/ van den Bulck, Hilde (ed.):The Media Book. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Page 320.

2 Sapiro, Virginia: Women in American Society: An Introduction to Women`s Studies. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1999. Page 264.

[3] Dyer, Gilian: Advertising as Communication. New York: Routledge, 1982. Page 2.

[4] Cronin, Anne M.: Advertising and Consumer Citizenship. New York: Routledge, 2000. Page 55.

[5] Sapiro, Virginia: Women in American Society: An Introduction to Women`s Studies. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1999. Page 264.

[6] Schneider, Karl (ed.): Werbung. Waiblingen: M + S Verlag, 1997. Page 333.

[7] Mayer, Hans/ Däumer, Ute/ Rühle, Hermann: Werbepsychologie. Stuttgart: C. E. Poeschel Verlag, 1982. Page 10.

[8] Newbold, Chris/ Boyd-Barrett, Oliver/ van den Bulck, Hilde (ed.):The Media Book. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Page 320.

[9] Sapiro, Virginia: Women in American Society: An Introduction to Women`s Studies. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1999. Page 264.

[10] Sapiro, Virginia: Women in American Society: An Introduction to Women`s Studies. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1999. Page 264.

[11] Newbold, Chris/ Boyd-Barrett, Oliver/ van den Bulck, Hilde (ed.):The Media Book. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Page 325.

[12] Sapiro, Virginia: Women in American Society: An Introduction to Women`s Studies. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1999. Page 264.

[13] Newbold, Chris/ Boyd-Barrett, Oliver/ van den Bulck, Hilde (ed.):The Media Book. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Page 424.

Excerpt out of 24 pages

Details

Title
Women in Advertising - Women in American Society
College
Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald
Grade
2,0
Author
Year
2006
Pages
24
Catalog Number
V78231
ISBN (eBook)
9783638828178
File size
508 KB
Language
English
Tags
Women, Advertising, American, Society
Quote paper
Vanessa Lengert (Author), 2006, Women in Advertising - Women in American Society, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/78231

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