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Effects of women representation in advertising on customers' attitudes



The influence of advertising on creating social attitudes and customer behavior is visible both on rational and emotional level. Due to that, advertising creates psychological effects, and is also in conflict with moral and ethical standards of the society which should be based upon. Stereotypical representation of women in advertising, which usually includes images of a housewife, business woman with no family, or just an ornament, can be found in all kinds of ads, such as TV and Internet commercials, billboards, on a daily basis. However, the paradox which women very often face, with no clear connection with the product or service which is been advertised, brings up the following questions as the purpose of this paper: whether frequent representation of women in advertisements is necessary, or desirable even, whether the suggested models of women's beauty which is promoted in this way, are the most powerful 'means' for sales. If it is the most powerful means, is it possible to settle two opposing phenomena that arise from such a fact - the social one, which puts a woman in a negative context, has a negative effect on her personal satisfaction and self-confidence, and is opposed to the morals and ethics, and the marketing one, which has an aim of attracting consumers, thus changing their attitudes towards purchasing.
Abstract:  The influence of advertising 
on creating social attitudes and customer 
behavior is visible both on rational and 
emotional level. Due to that, advertising 
creates psychological effects, and is 
also in conflict with moral and ethical 
standards of the society which should be 
based upon. Stereotypical representation 
of women in advertising, which usually 
includes images of a housewife, business 
woman with no family, or just an orna-
ment, can be found in all kinds of ads, 
such as TV and Internet commercials, 
billboards, on a daily basis. However, the 
paradox which women very often face, 
with no clear connection with the product 
or service which is been advertised, brings 
up the following questions as the purpose 
of this paper: whether frequent repre-
sentation of women in advertisements 
is necessary, or desirable even, whether 
the suggested models of women’s beauty 
which is promoted in this way, are the 
most powerful ‘means’ for sales. If it is 
the most powerful means, is it possible to 
settle two opposing phenomena that arise 
from such a fact – the social one, which 
puts a woman in a negative context, has a 
negative effect on her personal satisfacti-
on and self-confidence, and is opposed to 
the morals and ethics, and the marke-
ting one, which has an aim of attracting 
consumers, thus changing their attitudes 
towards purchasing.
Key words:advertising, women in ads,
customers’ attitudes, ethical issues.
JEL Classication: M37
e role of advertising in a contemporary society has been a subject of
numerous debates. Not only does advertising stimulate purchasing of
products and use of services (Moriarty, Mitchell, Wells, 2009, 58; Ogn-
janov, 2009, 151), but it also contributes to the consumers’ formation of
social identity, frequently, inuencing both their current attitudes and
what they should be (Gallagher, 2016, 24; Maričić i Radulović, 2013,5).
Modern consumers are exposed to a great number of advertising mes-
sages on a daily basis, as a result of which they quickly react by buying.
is is indicative of the probability that such contents are socially ac-
ceptable and are a reection of modern consumer culture (Pardun, 2013,
3, Maričić i Radulović, 2013, 5). Let us take the following situation into
consideration – on his way back home from work, a consumer passes by
three billboards showing advertisements for Volkswagen cars, to which
he pays no attention. When he comes home, while watching the news
online, he notices a Volkswagen ad in the right hand corner of the web
page he is on. A logical question that arises is whether Volkswagen is
spending their money in vain. According to Robert Heath, an inuential
academic and researcher from England, the money is not frittered away
in such case. In his book e Hidden Power of Advertising (Heath, 2011),
he points out that the inuence of advertising is not limited to the depth
of message or to the consumer’s power to process a rational and emotion-
al message, but is also manifested through the process of low inclusion of
the consumer. Prior to this theory, it was assumed that advertising had
an inuence only aer consumers had paid close attention to a particular
advertisement, or if they had had even the slightest awareness of having
seen an ad. Heath emphasizes that advertising has an eect regardless of
whether we are aware of that or not (Heath, 2011). Every time we see an
advertisement, it has an impact on our consciousness or subconscious-
ness (Belch and Belch, 2013, 18; Maričić i Radulović, 2013, 21). Further-
more, Heath explains that advertising inuences the formation of per-
manent association in human consciousness, although we may not be
aware of that. ese associations are upgraded in time, changing the con-
Effects of Women Representation in
Advertising on Customers’ Attitudes
Jelena Stanković, Radmila Živković,
Tamara Marić, Jelena Gajić
UDK: 659.1-051-055.2:658.8.013, pregledni članak
Effects of Women Representation in Advertising on Customers’ Attitudes   193
sumers’ behavior and prompting him to switch from
using one brand to using another one. In psychology,
such an eect is called the mere-exposure eect and
it is a phenomenon by which people develop a prefer-
ence for things merely because they are familiar with
them (Ferrier and Fleming, 2014, 27). In other words,
the more familiar consumer with a brand, the more
he will like it. In addition, he may not be aware of the
advertising message of the brand in question.
e impact of advertising is frequently so strong
that buyers lose a personal feeling for critical think-
ing and clear perception of things (Hayko, 2010, 79).
erefore, it can be concluded that advertising to a
great extent fosters and supports the development of
consumer society and the materialism culture, which
is particularly characterized by valuing acquiring of
and exhibiting one’s property, as well as an aspiration
to a lifestyle that involves having material possessions
(Belch and Belch, 2012, 688), without sharing them.
Moreover, having valuable possessions does not con-
tribute to greater happiness, but only leads to new
living demands that a particular person makes, and
which does not result in great satisfaction with their
lives (Kanuk and Shiman, 2004, 105). e criticism
of advertising is centered, above all, on a particular
persons replacing inner motivation and happiness
with a new social role, which boils down to buying
and the consumption of happiness. e research-
es have shown that by utilizing stereotypes and ma-
nipulating emotions and ideas of real life situations,
advertising has rendered a modern consumer rather
economically irrational human being (Belch, Belch,
2012, 688; Hayko, 2010, 80).
Luxury, lavish lifestyle, beauty and sex are fre-
quently the contents of advertising strategies which
promote a large number of products, from chocolate
and cosmetics to cars and fashion (Aysad, 2014, 6129-
6130; Arens. Weigold, Arens, 2011,47). Women show-
ing their faces and bodies in ads, is another example of
the inuence of advertisements on the consumers’ at-
titudes. Such inuence is usually considered negative,
with an argument to the eect that female body in ads
is used as a sexual object, which inevitably devalues
the role and value of women in society. Nevertheless,
dierent attitudes also exist. Certain feminists from
academic circles, support such a trend in its entirety,
characterizing it as the use of bodies as works of art
(Zimmerman and Dahlberg, 2008, 72). On the other
hand, the act of women showing their faces and bod-
ies in advertisements is used as a denition of beauty,
which becomes a model of a kind, even an ideal which
women strive for (Belch, Belch, 2012, 691, Berberick,
2010, 2). A negative side of such messages of ’ideal
beauty’ whose most common protagonist is a wom-
an, can be seen in a fact that advertising has a power
to inuence consumers’ perception of self, and cause
problems such as unhealthy diet, depression and per-
sonal dissatisfaction (Hayko, 2010, 80). Such persua-
sive advertising contains numerous emotional appeals
(Živković, 2011, 131-132) which in a cited example,
created a series of negative feelings in a consumer,
such as fear, a feeling of guilt, concern etc. ese kinds
of strategies have a powerful inuence on adolescents,
particularly young girls, who are in search of their
identity. By buying a particular cosmetic product,
they believe they will change themselves and become
like a model from the advertisement.
Brands which trigger strong emotional reactions of
consumers are evaluated to be generating better sales
and prot, and have a greater level of credibility among
competitors (Filipović, 2014, 355; Moriarty, Mitchell,
Wells, 2009, 57 Florin isar., 2009, 1). Also, adver-
tisements which require emotional involvement and
contain stimulation, are easier to remember by wom-
en more than by men (Baird, Walhers, and Cooper,
2007). Furthermore, women tend to have positive re-
actions to the messages of advertisements more than
men. e use of emotional appeals can be eective in
female consumers even in case of products, which by
their nature, do not arouse any emotions, such as for
example, car tires (Baird, Walhers, and Cooper, 2007).
A study has demonstrated that men have better
reactions to advertisements aimed at their perception
of self, whereas women react better to advertisements
showing situations they are able to sympathize with
(Brunel & Nelson, 2003). Some studies have also re-
ported that celebrities and typical kinds of people ap-
pearing in advertisements also draw womens atten-
tion in an eective way (Cramphorn, 2011).
It can be asserted that advertising sells values, imag-
es and concepts of what is considered to be normal.
rough perfectly set images, advertisers strive to cre-
ate a virtual reality and impose the idea of what is con-
sidered normal in society in its entirety. Author Jim
Fowles dened changing fashion trends as a cycle of
attraction, and pointed out that the cycle has been de-
ned in popular culture and completed in advertise-
ments (Klein, 2013, 30). e evolution of the role of
women in the cycle of attraction clearly indicates the
194      Jelena Stanković, Radmila Živković, Tamara Marić, Jelena Gajić
changes in style, fashion and social values. rough
idealized images, advertising tells consumers who
they are and who they wish to be. rough manipula-
tion of words and messages, advertising inuences the
consumer’s critical power of reasoning. In this way,
it creates an unhealthy environment for a woman’s
self-condence. Such environment prompts women’s
dissatisfaction with their own bodies, which usually
leads to an obsessive control of their basic need for
food (Klein, 2013, 30).
Women are most frequently, tendentiously por-
trayed as beautiful and attractive in commercials (Ay-
sad, 2014, p. 6129), which is supposed to trigger in
viewers and buyers, an association of what is aesthet-
ically acceptable, the appearance which is preferred
and which should be striven for. e female charac-
ters in commercials are usually given the role of ob-
jects of attraction, perfect housewives or independent
young women (Nagi, 2014, p.86).
Differences in representation of
women and men in advertisements
A study which analyzed the results of 30 dierent re-
searches, has stressed the dierence in representation
of men and women in commercials by four dierent
criteria (Furnham and Paltzer, 2010, pp.217-218).
According to the rst criterion, conveying a verbal
vs. conveying a visual message, the study has shown
that the role of men is more dominant in conveying a
verbal message, whereas women were predominantly
given a visual role in commercials.
Credentials, as another important criterion, was
analyzed from the aspect of expert vs. user, which
men or women could assume in commercials (Fur-
nham and Paltzer, 2010, 217-218). In the majority
of European countries, women were predominantly
represented as users of products which were being
advertised. However, when it comes to men, both the
roles of users and authorities (experts) were equally
evident. In other words, 42.9% of men were portrayed
in the role of a product user, while in 38.1% cases, they
were represented as experts. e only exception to the
rule was Russia, where men assumed the role of prod-
uct users in more cases than women (Furnham and
Paltzer, 2010, 217-218).
Studies which were conducted in Europe have
found considerable dierences in the engagement of
protagonists from certain age groups in commercials
(Furnham and Paltzer, 2010, 217-218). e most com-
mon protagonists of commercials were young women
(60%) in Russia, Turkey, Sweden, Poland, Bulgaria
and Asia, while, in Austria, for example, commercials
featured 64.1% of middle-aged men.
Another category which was analyzed in the studies
was the way in which advertising represented awards
consumers would earn if they bought a particular
brand, depending on their gender. When talking
about Europe, in Poland rewarding women was main-
ly demonstrated in the form of gaining a better posi-
tion in society and self-armation, which occurred
in 37.7% of cases, which is double the percentage of
the segment of men. In Turkey, this ratio was 44.4%
for women, compared to 16.1% of men. Concrete
and practical rewards are promoted via commercials
to women in Serbia (65.8%), while satisfaction with
oneself and with what one could achieve by the con-
sumption of a product is promoted to men (45.9%)
(Furnham and Paltzer, 2010, 219-220).
In order to gain a better insight into the dierenc-
es of representation of men and women in commer-
cials, it is necessary to analyze their body language.
Men are usually portrayed in laid-back manners, with
an attitude of dominance, legs spread apart, looking
straight into the camera (picture 1, le), illustrating
the concept of masculinity, which implies rationality
and self-condence to the viewer. On the other hand,
women are usually represented in commercials sit-
ting or standing, legs crossed, arms resting on their
bodies (picture 1, right), which send the message of
Picture 1: Representation
of women and men in
advertising catalogues
Source: FemCities Conference (2012) Ending Gender Stereotyping and Sexist Portrayals in Advertising, City of Vienna,
Department for the Promotion and Coordination of Women’s Issues, p. 10.
Effects of Women Representation in Advertising on Customers’ Attitudes   195
their emotionality, sub-ordinance even, to the viewer
(FemCities Conference, 2012, 10).
Facial expressions of women in commercials are
far more emotional compared to men. Such stereo-
typical portrayal stems from a traditional assignment
of subordinate role to women as housewives, who are
not independent and have no freedom. e same goes
for men in commercials, who display an attitude of
dominance in family and society. e situation, has, to
a certain extended, changed, especially, owing to the
increase of the number of women on the job market
(Sheehan, 2014, 89). Researchers report that in mod-
ern advertising campaigns, contrary to representa-
tions of men as being occupied with work, working
women are usually depicted as being occupied with
themselves and their own bodies, rather than their
jobs (Catalogue of Criteria for the Classication of Sex-
ist Advertising, p. 5, retrieved from: http://www.wer-, 10.08.2017).
Women as (sexual) objects in commercials
Messages with sexual contents are relayed not only
through images, but also by way of words which ac-
company them. Advertisers link such messages to the
brands they promote. When it comes to commercials
with sexual connotations, three brand promises can
be singled out (Aysad, 2014, 6131-6132):
Sexual attraction promise – this promise can
frequently be found in perfume commercials, the
main role played by a woman who enters a room
lled with people who watch her with amusement,
while a handsome man follows her through the
More frequent sexual intimacy and enjoyment
promise – such examples are frequent in commer-
cials for cosmetic products for body care, such as
lotions and shower gels in which a man expresses
overwhelming desire to touch ‘velvety’ woman’s
skin thanks to her usage of a particular cosmetic
A promise that a consumer would feel more
sexually appealing – just like the previous brand
promise, this one is also typical of commercials in
the cosmetic industry which by showing attractive
famous women, consumers are sent the message
that they would attain a sexually appealing look of
the model represented in the commercial if they
used a particular product.
e world’s leading brands such as Victorias Se-
cret, Calvin Klein, Giorgo Armani, Nike, Gucci, have
dened their identities at the same time dening sex-
ual identities of women (Torlak, 2013, 38). Upon ana-
lyzing the role a sexual appeal can have in the eld of
modern marketing, it can be concluded that people
resort to its usage due to the fact that erotic motives
according to a number people’s views represent some-
thing that attracts their attention. is reason has an
entirely psychological background, due to the fact that
sexual desire holds for second instinctive urge in in-
tensity, immediately aer the urge for self-protection
which is always present in person (Torlak, 2013, 38;
Filipović, 2013, 357). In order for a sexual appeal to be
eective, advertisers need to make sure that the prod-
uct, commercial, aim, consumers and deployed sexual
contents are carefully coordinated (Nagi, 2014, 75).
e manner in which women are represented in
commercials in women’s magazines considerably
diers from the way of their representation in com-
mercials in men’s magazines. On the one hand, ad-
vertisers primarily focus on the product, and less so
on the model itself in women’s magazines, whereas,
the woman’s body is the most important element of
a commercial in men’s magazines. Women are aimed
at by the commercial in womens magazines, while,
women serve as an advertising material in men’s mag-
azines. Actually, products are advertised in womens
magazines in order for a target group to purchase
them, while woman’s body is principal in viewers
eyes in mens magazines. In commercials published in
mens magazines, womans face and body are used as a
means of marketing the message on product.
Picture 2 depicts a commercial for the Wolverine
mens boots. An attractive blonde woman states: ‘I am
Picture 2: Commercial for Wolverine
boots and MAX shoes
Source: Crisan, R., Pop, A. (2013) Women as Advertising
Target Versus Women as an Advertising Tool, Academica
Science Journal, Economica Series, No. 2 (3), p. 11.
196      Jelena Stanković, Radmila Živković, Tamara Marić, Jelena Gajić
built for comfort. I am Wolverine.’ (Crisan and Pop,
2013, 11). e use of verb ‘built’ leaves an impression
that it is the matter of an object, and not a human
being. A verbal message of this commercial is that
woman’s body is an object, which was specially made
for men’s usage. Picture 2, right, shows a commercial
for MAX shoes, in which a woman is depicted in a
subordinate position, sexually accessible, since she is
not able to resist. She is tied to a shoe, and her passive
‘slave-like’ position, entirely excludes an aspect of her
personality, because the non-verbal message is clear
– a woman is accessible, exclusively for a mans usage
(Crisan and Pop, 2013, 11).
e fact is that eroticism in advertising messag-
es can have a positive persuasive role for their target
group, in both men and women, as long as it is kept
within acceptable limits (Crisan and Pop, 2013, 14).
Differences in advertisements’
perception by women and men
Studies performed on the sample of 100 nal-year
undergraduate students of both genders have shown
that men and women share certain similarities, but
they also show dierences in the perception of sexual
contents in commercials (Torlak, 2010, 56). Final-year
female students recognized sexual appeals in the way
of representation of women to a greater extent (28%)
compared to male portion of the student population
(6%). Contrariwise, men described physical char-
acteristics of models (e.g. physical beauty, body and
type of clothes) in more detail than women. Never-
theless, although men provided such description to a
greater extent (71%), women, too, found physical fea-
tures important (58%). Models’ movements and oth-
er non-verbal behavior were also important for both
women (37%) and men (37%). ese studies demon-
strate that men and women have dierent reactions to
sexual stimuli, meaning that the respondents’ gender
has a signicant inuence on the perception of sexual
contents of advertising messages (Torlak, 2010, 56). It
is also interesting to note that men and women react
to commercials with sports contents in a dierent way.
Women rarely consider themselves sportswomen, ex-
cept for in cases when they play professional sports,
whereas, men perceive themselves to be sportsmen,
even if they do not do professional sports (Sheehan,
2014, 91).
Practice has shown that sexual appeals have a
stronger persuasive inuence on men than they do on
women (Sheehan, 2014, 104). One of the reasons why
this is so is that men, traditionally speaking, consid-
er women who are young, healthy and beautiful to be
good partners. erefore, visual messages (pictures)
are used in commercials in order to attract men’s at-
tention, who will link the purchase of a product to
winning a woman’s heart on a subconscious level.
On the other hand, women pay more attention to the
long-term potentials of men – their capabilities of
becoming a father, making money and having power
and prestige. Since it is almost impossible to represent
all these factors in one place, commercials aimed at
women use a romantic appeal and show courting, re-
lationships and the process of falling in love. It can be
concluded that visual elements of commercials (pic-
ture) aimed at women are more focused on an intel-
lectual than physical aspect (Sheehan, 2014, 104).
Depending on the perception of an advertising
message, men and women make decisions about pur-
chase (Sheehan, 2014, 91). Men process messages and
make decisions much faster than women, one of the
main reasons for it being their exclusive concentra-
tion on the primary message, whereby their way of
reasoning can be considered linear (Sheehan, 2014,
91). On the other hand, women process information
from dierent sources and at dierent levels, includ-
ing music, images, sounds and text. e process of
making decisions in women happens in such a way
that every new piece of information is an upgrade of
the preceding one. Such non-linear way of reasoning
enables women to think about closely related factors
(Sheehan, 2014, 91).
Analysis of examples of representation of
women in advertisements of famous brands
Coca Cola advertisement for the Fairlife milk
e advertising campaign of the Coca Cola compa-
ny for new milk was met with sharp criticism by the
public due to the prevailing sexual appeal in the way
women were represented. Women were shown naked
with only parts of their bodies covered in milk in the
commercials (picture 3). is campaign was inspired,
apart from a well-known catchphrase that ‘sex sells’,
by Coca-Cola’s previous commercials from the time
the so-called pin-up girls like Marilyn Monroe were
popular (Klauster, 2014, Bad taste? Coca-Cola under
re for ‚sexist‘ new ad campaign which features na-
ked women covered in dripping milk, retrieved from:, 04.07.2016).
Advertising slogans used in these commercials
were: ‘Drink what she’s wearing’ and ‘Better milk
looks good on you’. is advertisement is an indicator
Effects of Women Representation in Advertising on Customers’ Attitudes   197
of stereotypical representation of a woman as a sex-
ual object in the media advertising, in addition, the
product oered in such manner cannot be connected
to a woman (Fairlife’s new milk adverts are unoriginal
and tediously sexist, retrieved from: https://www.the-, 04.07.2016). is campaign caused
strong reaction of consumers on Twitter, who vehe-
mently condemned it and labeled it as a way of pro-
moting sexual objectication of women (Carey, 2014,
Coca-Cola Under Fire For Fairlife Ad Campaign Fea-
turing Nude Women Draped In Milk, retrieved from:, 04.07.2016).
Advertising campaign of the Belgian organ donor
e campaign of the Belgian organ donor foundation
with the slogan of ‘Becoming a donor is probably your
only chance to get inside her’ provoked extreme pub-
lic reaction, considering that sexual appeal was used
to promote humanitarian eort of organ donations.
e commercial showed a young, lean woman in un-
derwear and high heels (picture 4). e objectication
of a woman, via humanitarian message, downplays
her role, reducing her to being nothing more than a
sexual object. e commercial can, at the same time,
be oensive to men as well, by sending the message
that they are supercial beings whom only sex can
motivate to do a good deed.
e logo and slogan of this commercial was re-
moved from the website, and vis-
itors were asked a question of what, in their opinion,
the commercial promoted. Some of the answers pro-
vided were organ donations, underwear and shoes.
Out of 755 visitors who answered the question, 42%
(318 visitors) suggested it was organ donation, 30%
(227 visitors) thought it was the underwear commer-
cial, while 28% (210 visitors) considered it to be the
shoe ad (
is-this-ad-announcing/, retrieved: 08.08.2017). Re-
spondent who answered correctly can be assumed to
have seen the advertisement earlier, which is the rea-
son why they provided a correct answer. e results
of the survey, besides danger of sexual objectication
of women, point to a potential problem of mislead-
ing consumers, especially if they nd it hard to make
a connection between the purpose and the subject of
the advertisement.
Sony PlayStation Vita Advertisement
e 2011 advertisement promoting the Sony hand
console with precise dual analogue controls and in-
stalled memory, portrayed a faceless woman with two
pairs of breasts, to the front and back (picture 5). is
ad was targeted at teenagers and young men with the
slogan ‘Touch both sides for added enjoyment’ repre-
senting a woman’s body as a part of play and an ob-
ject that serves for touching (http://www.eurogamer.
tion-vita-to-a-woman-with-four-breasts, retrieved:
Sony PlayStation is a company that frequently uses
sexual appeals in its ads, owing to the fact that their
target group is mainly teenagers and young men who
are most susceptible to such inuence. Nonetheless,
Picture 3: Advertising slogans
of the Fairlife campaign
campaign-following-backlash, retrieved: 04.07.2016.
Picture 4: Campaign of the Belgian
organ donor foundation
ad-announcing/, retrieved: 08.08.2017.
198      Jelena Stanković, Radmila Živković, Tamara Marić, Jelena Gajić
assuming that an ad is a reection of a company’s val-
ues and its brand, the question that arises is wheth-
er the subconscious message of the company is that
women are seen as games, that can be controlled and
manipulated. Due to the fact that such ads are strong-
ly criticized in public, they threaten to tarnish the im-
age of the company in the long-term, which can have
a negative eect on the company’s overall business.
e BMW campaign g ’Ultimate attraction
e advertising of the BMW company entitled ’Ulti-
mate attraction, in addition to the sexual appeal, also
contains a stereotypical representation of sexes (pic-
ture 6). e ad depicts a man and woman during sex-
ual intercourse, with womans face covered with the
magazine showing the BMW car commercial (https://
mate-attraction/, retrieved: 10.07.2016). e maga-
zine placed over womans face, is an act of complete
dehumanization, in which a woman has completely
lost her identity, since her face has been replaced with
the picture of a car in the magazine.
is commercial conveys a false image to the pub-
lic about the relations between sexes. e body po-
sitions of a man and woman reect a stereotype that
men are dominant and control every situation, while
women are subordinate and replaceable. e man is
also distanced from a woman, whereas she looks as if
she is trying to have him touch her at all costs (Kim-
mel, Hearn & Connell, 2005, 37-38). It can be stated
that the ad is also in a certain way oensive to men
as well, as it depicts them as being supercial, not in-
terested in having relationships with women, and ob-
sessed with material things such as BMW cars. e
ad also sends the message that a man, if he purchases
BMW cars, will be more attractive and win a beauti-
ful woman’s heart. Men relate to a man in the ad in
their aspiration to identify with him, while the pic-
ture of a man and woman in the ad is far from being
realistic (
archives/1515, retrieved: 10.07.2016). ‘e Ultimate
Attraction’ refers to a passionate relationship between
a man and woman, since the woman in this imagery
is practically non-existent. e only attraction that ex-
ists is the one between a man and car.
e social role of advertisements in the life of wom-
en is depicting them but also forming them. is type
of its power should be used in an ethical way, through
planning of extremely realistic representation of
women. Studies have shown that realistic representa-
tion in ads leave a positive impression on consumers,
whereas, certain types of representations including
objectication of womenapart from other things, pro-
voke negative reactions by consumers (Sheehan, 2014,
Realistic representation of women in advertise-
e Vogue fashion magazine launched an initiative in
June 2012 to promote healthy look in advertisements.
Being ’an ambassador of healthy representation, it
would not use models who suer from eating disor-
ders in their ads, nor models younger than 16 on the
pages of its editorial in its 19 international editions
(Sheehan, 2014, 108). Ben Barry, a Canadian fashion
Picture 5: Sony PlayStation Vita
hand console advertisement
playstation_touch_both_sides, retrieved: 08.08.2017.
Picture 6: The BMW campaign ‘Ultimate attraction’
bmws-ultimate-attraction/, retrieved: 10.07.2016.
Effects of Women Representation in Advertising on Customers’ Attitudes   199
agency founder, conducted a research about the ex-
tent to which representation of women in advertise-
ments had an impact on their decision to buy (Shee-
han, 2014, 108). e results have shown that women
relate to ads to a greater extend when models wore
their actual size, were of their age and had the same
skin color. is has only conrmed the results of an
earlier study which demonstrated that the majority of
women consumers wanted to see models with natural
body shapes in magazines (Sheehan, 2014, 108).
e majority of women in the study stated an inten-
tion of buying magazines showing ’plus-size’ models,
although they had taken a stance that clothes looked
better on leaner models (Sheehan, 2014, 108).
e habits of behavior of the Y generation point to
their surfeit of perfection in the consumer society. e
fact that #nolter hashtag denoting that the photo-
graphs are real and untouched, is one of the most pop-
ular hashtags on Instagram, testies to that. In a sur-
vey from 2014, 86% of members of this generation has
stated that aws made people more authentic, while
63% reported they liked buying goods with defects
(Bergh, V. J., 2014, Trends for 2015: Perfectly Imper-
fect, retrieved from: http://www.howcoolbrandsstay-, 06.07.2016). e Diesel brand expressed a
support of imperfections in its advertising messages,
within its campaign #DIESELREBOOT (picture 7),
with one of the ads featuring Jillian Mercado, a mod-
el in wheelchair suering from muscle dystrophy
(Bergh, V. J., 2014, Trends for 2015: Perfectly Imperfect,
retrieved from: http://www.howcoolbrandsstayhot.
com/, 06.07.2016).
American Eagle did a similar thing in its campaign
American Eagle I’mperfect, in which it mounted re-
sistance to the ‘one-size-ts-all’ concept of beauty, em-
braced by a number of fashion brands. e idea of this
company was to establish democracy in the world of
jeans, by launching 22 models in 84 dierent sizes that
would t every person and character. e campaign
was launched through printed advertisements, posters,
digital videos and short commercial with the slogan
‘My Imperfections Make a Perfect Me’, as well as though
a powerful imperfect brand declaration (Picture 1)
gle-outtters/, retrieved: 06.07.2016).
When talking about sexually explicit messages,
with the aim of protecting their consumers, Facebook
made a considerable step with their advertising pol-
icy which prohibits both showing people in sexually
explicit and lascivious positions, and activities that
are too intrusive or sexually provocative. e pictures
may not depict nudity, nude skin or décolletage, or
unnecessarily uncovering certain parts of the body –
even for the artistic or educational purposes. A sim-
ilar improvement was made with regard to showing
‘before and aer’ pictures, or photos containing un-
expected or unreal results from using an advertised
product (,
retrieved: 06.07.2016).
e initiative by the American government
non-prot organization ‘About Face’ aimed exclusive-
ly at ghting against distorted and bleak pictures of
women in advertising messages is also interesting to
note. Apart from numerous protests organized re-
garding sexually discriminating advertising messages,
the movement got involved in spreading its network
across the globe. ey regularly publish ‘e Hall of
Shame’ on their website, in other words, the list of
producers who actually abuse women through the
messages they send in advertising their products. e
list of countries that have the greatest number of such
commercials is also posted (France occupies the rst
position, while Serbia has not been on the list yet).
Apart from that, the movement publishes addresses
and phone numbers of such producers, together with
letters of protest sent to the producers in question
(Torlak, 2010, 112).
Picture 7: #DIESELREBOOT Diesel campaign
campaign-dieselreboot/, retrieved: 06.07.2016.
200      Jelena Stanković, Radmila Živković, Tamara Marić, Jelena Gajić
e research carried out on the sample of 109 re-
spondents of legal age, had an aim of observing at-
titudes of consumers in Serbia to representation of
women in advertisements broadcast on TV, published
in electronic media or the press. Out of the total num-
ber, 63% of respondents were females, while 37% were
males. e research combined two types of surveys: a
personal interview, comprising 20 respondents and 89
electronically via Facebook.
e research tested a hypothesis that modern ways
in which women are used and represented in adver-
tisements can create a negative image of women in
society, from the aspects of their appearance, roles
and values. Respondents, who took part in the sur-
vey, were also consumers who saw advertisements on
a daily basis, through electronic media and the press.
e majority of respondents, i.e. 41%, oered
an armative answer to the question whether rep-
resentation of women in advertisements le a posi-
tive impression on them. Additionally, as many as
30% of respondents replied they had no particular
opinion, the reasons for it being both the advertising
messages and the way in which they were conveyed.
e next question had an aim of ascertaining in what
ways consumers perceived types of women featured
in commercials. As many as 92% of participants an-
swered, that in their opinion, advertisements most
frequently featured only one type of a woman – wear-
ing full make-up and well-dressed, with perfect looks
and complexion. Also, 82% of respondents provided a
positive answer to the question whether they consid-
ered women featured in advertisements to be shown
as decorative objects promoting an advertised prod-
uct or service, in other words, they agreed with the
assertion that women were used as decorative objects
in ads, particularly in cases of product advertisements
whose target group were men (e.g. car advertisements
etc.). Only 8% had a diering viewpoint, while 10%
had no particular attitude to the said question. Fur-
thermore, the majority of respondents, i.e. 76% stated
they considered that advertisements predominantly
featured women without traces of old age on their
faces, with consumers being sent the message that the
model of youthful looks is preferred to the realistic
portrayal of women. Only 11% of respondents had a
dierent viewpoint, whereas 13% had no particular
When it comes to the question of whether wom-
en in ads were represented as a weaker sex, in other
words, dependent on men, almost half the respond-
ents held the view that women in ads were not de-
picted as dependent on men. Such results are not ex-
pected since the role of women in the 21st century has
evolved to a great extent, and in accordance with that,
a need arose for the advertisements featuring them to
be changed. Ads depicting successful business wom-
en who do jobs which were once only given to men
exclusively are more and more frequent (Crisan and
Pop, 2013, 15).
e majority of respondents, i.e. 46% answered
positively to the question whether they thought ad-
vertisements respected women’s dignity. As a part of a
personal interview, respondents explained that wom-
en in ads were frequently represented in provocative
positions compared to men, which, in their opinion,
led to the creation of image of disrespect towards
women. 15% of respondents answered negatively,
while 39% were not able to dene their viewpoints on
the said question.
It is interesting to note that the majority of respond-
ents, in this case 46%, did not nd it decisive to buy a
certain product only because it was advertised by an
attractive girl (graph 1). It is assumed that some other
factors could be decisive in their making the decision,
such as price and quality. On the other hand, as many
as 74% of respondents were of the opinion that the
feature of a beautiful and young girl in an ad would
be a deciding factor in the decision to make purchase
when it comes to other people, and not themselves
(graph 2). Also, the majority of respondents, i.e. 82%,
expressed a view that an average woman – a woman
from real life, did not correspond to the way a woman
Graph 1: The influence of an advertisement
featuring an attractive girl on one’s
personal decision to make purchase
Yes No I do not have an opinion
Effects of Women Representation in Advertising on Customers’ Attitudes   201
was depicted in advertisements (graph 3). Taking the
data regarding answers to the said three questions into
consideration, it can be concluded that: a) consumers
were aware of unrealistic portrayal of women in ad-
vertisements (82%), b) they had that in mind when
making decision on buying (46%), c) they were also
aware of the fact that such an unrealistic, but attrac-
tive image, could be a decision-making factor in other
consumers to make purchase.
As regards acceptability of showing a womans nude
body in advertisements, opinions dier. e accept-
able option was selected by 27% of respondents, while
18% of respondents chose the partially acceptable op-
tion. On the other hand, the unacceptable option was
selected by 29% of respondents, whereas 22% chose
the partially unacceptable option. A greater number
of respondents (51%) selected options referring to the
unacceptability of showing a naked woman’s body in
advertisements compared to the respondents choos-
ing options referring to acceptability of such kinds of
representations (45%). It should be emphasized that
younger respondents were the ones who selected the
acceptable option, while the unacceptable option was
mainly chosen by the elderly. Such results may be
expected, having in mind the fact that young people
have almost unrestricted access to all kinds of con-
tents, therefore, their understanding of what is accept-
able and what not is dierent from the reasoning of
the elderly section of society.
Also, the opinions on whether showing women’s
bodies in advertisements make women in real life
insecure about their own bodies are mixed. Never-
theless, a somewhat greater number of respondents
(44%) took negative attitude to this issue, while 38%
of respondents stated the opinion that naked womans
body could have an eect of women in real life feeling
insecure concerning their attitude to their own bod-
ies. It should also be stated that 18% of respondents
had no opinion on the matter in question, which le
room for researches relating to factors that impacted
on their being undecided.
One of the questions posed referred to the attitude
of respondents to the inuence of representation of
models of below average weight on consumers’ atti-
tudes (graph 4). e majority of respondents (57%)
voiced the opinion that advertisements promoting
thinness as women’s beauty ideal and featured famous
models whose weight was below average, had a neg-
ative impact on womens attitudes in the real world.
Advertisements with such contents had a signicant
eect on members of younger generation, teenage
girls, who usually considered such models as beauty
Graph 2: The influence of an advertisement
featuring an attractive girl on the decision-making
to make purchase on the part of other people
Yes No I do not have an opinion
Graph 3: The respondents’ opinion on the realism
of portrayal of women in advertisements
Yes No I do not have an opinion
Graph 4: Respondents’ opinions on the
influence of representation of models with below
average weight on consumers’ attitudes
8.00% 0.00%
Yes No
Frequently Rarely
I have never seen such advertisements I have no opinion
202      Jelena Stanković, Radmila Živković, Tamara Marić, Jelena Gajić
standards that should be striven for. Out of the over-
all number of respondents, 22% thought such adver-
tisements had no inuence on women, while 12% of
respondents expressed opinions that such advertise-
ments had a negative eect on women.
Modern young women are becoming increasing-
ly concerned with their weight, and this problem
occurs as early as their childhood, at the age of nine.
Advertising and mass media in general, seem to ag-
gravate the problem even more due to the fact that
young women are exposed to a great number of ad-
vertising messages insisting on them losing weight,
on a daily basis. Having in mind that the media mes-
sages shape the formation of their social identity to a
great extent, exposure of women to commercials that
call for losing weight can have a signicant eect on
their habits and health concerning their diets (Hobbs,
Broder, Pope and Rowe, 2006, 720). e inuence of
such advertisements on men is almost unnecessary
for consideration, owing to the fact that men much
less seek to buy dietary products, despite the fact that
there is almost an equal percentage regarding weight
problems i.e. 32.2% in men as opposed to 35.5% in
women (Cawley, Avery, Eisenberg, 2011, 26). Models
that are featured in advertisements have a perfect g-
ure, which is a suggestion for a modern woman that
if she wishes to be considered beautiful, she needs to
look the way it was represented in an advertisement.
Researches have shown that what women see in ad-
vertisements has an impact on their perception of
their own bodies, and such occurrence has become
more intensive in the last 20 years. Images of women
have always been used to sell products, however, the
problem arises the moment women consumers start
to upload images of their lean bodies which were not
edited in Photoshop, but are a result of exhausting di-
ets that modern advertisements encourage them to go
on (Klein, 2013, 12).
e majority of respondents, i.e. 56% of them, also
think that advertisers should follow certain rules and
guidelines when it comes to depicting women in ad-
vertisements, while 14% of them were of the opinion
that it is even necessary to impose stringent rules
(graph 5). ere was a smaller number of those who
thought censorship was not necessary and that adver-
tisers should have a full freedom in creating advertise-
ments (27%).
e results of the conducted survey are in accord-
ance with the results of researches that have been pre-
viously dealt with in the paper. Hypothesis that ad-
vertisements can create a negative image of women
in society, which was analyzed many times in scien-
tic research and public discussions, was also proven
within the framework of this primary research. How-
ever, the survey has certain limitations which should
be emphasized and considered.
e limitation of the work primarily concerns the
sample size and the sampling method used in the re-
search. Namely, the used sample was very small and
therefore, the validity of the conclusion should be
taken with a caution. However, since it was more of
a case study conducted as a pilot survey, and that the
ndings were more or less expected, the authors were
encouraged to continue further research more exten-
sively. at would involve a much larger number of
respondents in order to make conclusions more rele-
vant. e recommendation for future researcher con-
cerns other demographic group (elder, children, ert.)
that could be analyze and their impact on customers’
attitudes as well.
However, the consumers’ attitudes expressed
through the survey, tentatively conrm that they rec-
ognize this negative practice and they do not approve
of it to a large extent. is applies, above all, to the
unrealistic representation of a woman’s body as well
as its exploitation and objectication for the purpos-
es of creating sexual appeal. Nonetheless, the great-
est paradox of this research is the results that show
that depicting a beautiful girl in commercials would
not be a deciding factor in consumers making a per-
sonal decision to buy a certain product, while, on the
other hand, the majority of respondents thought that
a product would sell better if it was advertised by a
beautiful and attractive girl. Such attitudes lead to the
Graph 5: Respondents’ opinion on existence
of rules and guidelines in the way women
are represented in advertisements
Advertisers should have complete freedom
There should be certain rules and guidelines
There should be stringent rules
I do not have an opinion
Effects of Women Representation in Advertising on Customers’ Attitudes   203
conclusion that the majority of consumers and ad-
vertisers share an opinion that a woman’s beauty in
advertisements is a powerful means for sales, which
reects a general stereotypical attitude of society to-
wards a womans beauty as a predominant norm of
value and success. Such a conclusion leads to a new
question of whether stereotypes and sexual objecti-
cation of women are a product of society, and not
advertisers, and whether, if this is the case, adver-
tisements set socially acceptable values and attitudes
themselves. Another question that arises is whether
the creation of stereotypes on the representation of
women in advertisements is a consequence of massive
passing on of the certain advertising messages lasting
for several decades, which has, through a principle of
repeating the message, established certain habits in
communication with consumers and acceptance of
certain models of their behavior. Such questions are
a good basis for undertaking new researches on this
Nevertheless, regardless of ‘whose fault it is’ for
such an attitude of society to exist, the responsibility
in both cases rests with advertisers. Whether it is the
case of an attitude on women’s beauty as a means for
sales which has naturally become ingrained in society,
or whether the advertisers themselves had imposed it,
the challenge of conveying positive advertising mes-
sages, which will have an eect on valuing women as
persons lies in them and the responsibility to change
such an attitude. Unfortunately, the fact that is fre-
quently overlooked is that the role of marketing in so-
ciety is far greater than the commercial role, and that
the mission of every company should be directed to
positive changes in society and creating a healthy so-
cial community, whose main section would constitute
women precisely.
e consumers’ attitudes that certain rules and guide-
lines necessarily need to exist is completely justiable.
e role of guidelines in this sense would be to remind
advertisers of their social and ethical responsibility to-
wards consumers and to make them, prior to passing
on their messages, think about possible consequences
every one of them could have on consumers.
is paper has analyzed a contemporary rep-
resentation of women in the media advertising, as well
as the way in which women perceive such advertis-
ing messages. Based on the results of dierent studies
and making a research, we have arrived at a conclu-
sion that the image of women in modern commercials
is quite distorted, as well as their image in society,
having in mind a great inuence of advertising as a
means of marketing communication. e consumers’
attitudes reected in the survey contribute to the fact
that they have recognized such a negative practice and
they did not approve of it to a large extent. is refers
to, above all, unrealistic representation of a woman’s
body as well as its exploitation and objectication for
the purposes of creating a sexual appeal. In this way,
a general hypothesis of this research was conrmed,
i.e. modern depicting of women in commercials cre-
ates a negative image of women in society from the
aspects of their appearance, role and values that they
have traditionally assumed, and they could have a
negative eect on their perception of the self and their
However, the fact that the majority of respond-
ents of this research agreed with the statement that
the product would sell better if it were advertised by
a beautiful and attractive girl creates a paradox, al-
though the majority of respondents had an opinion
that such a factor would not inuence them to buy.
Unfortunately, advertisers overly rely on a premise
that ‘sex sells’, therefore, based on the examples from
practice which were analyzed in this paper, it can be
stated that the strategy of modern advertising is in-
creasingly based on the principle ‘the end justies the
m e a n s ’.
Nonetheless, the purpose of Law is to change and
develop the used means. It is a fact that sexual appeals
in advertising messages can have a strong persuasive
role (Filipović, 2013, 356), both in men and women,
yet it is very important to keep their usage within
certain acceptable limits. e only company that has
achieved an advancement in setting the limits, is Face-
book, that has within its advertising policy prohibited
the use of sexual appeal both visually and verbally. In
this way, Facebook has created a healthy environment
for advertisers in which consumers are protected from
possible negative eects of advertising. All advertis-
ers should follow such a practice, as well as a concept
of femvertising which aims to encourage women, in-
crease their self-condence and break stereotypes re-
garding them (Herby-Becker, 2016, 3).
Companies should become aware of the huge re-
sponsibility they have towards women consumers,
and to take such a responsibility as a humane chal-
lenge in forming their personalities and social posi-
tion that will motivate them to act in an ethical way,
while creating a healthy advertising environment, and
thus a healthy society.
204      Jelena Stanković, Radmila Živković, Tamara Marić, Jelena Gajić
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Uticaj reklama na formiranje društvenih stavova i
ponašanje potrošača, ispoljava se na racionalnom i emo-
cionalnom nivou. Shodno tome, efekti reklama zalaze u
domene psihologije i etike, često se sukobeći sa moralnim
principima društva, na kojima bi, između ostalog, komu-
niciranje putem reklama trebalo da se zasniva. Stereotipno
prikazivanje žena u reklamama, kao domaćice, uspešne
poslovne žene bez porodice, ili samo kao ukrasnog objek-
ta, svakodnevno se pronalaze u svim oblicima oglašavanja,
od bilborda i televizijskih reklama, do reklama na inter-
netu. Paradoks, u kome se žene masovno pojavljuju u
reklamama bez neke jasne veze sa proizvodom, nameće
kao cilj ovoga rada sledeća pitanja: da li je učestalo prika-
zivanje žena u reklamama zaista i potrebno, da li je uopše
poželjno, i da li sugerisani model ženske lepote, koji se na
ovaj način promoviše, ipak predstavlja najmoćnije “sred-
stvo” prodaje. Ukoliko to jeste najmoćnije sredstvo, da li je
moguće pomiriti dve suprotne pojave koje proizilaze iz te
činjenice – društvenu, koja ženu, na ovakav način, stavlja u
negativan kontekst, loše utiče na njeno lično zadovoljstvo
i samopouzdanje, a i kosi se sa principima morala i etike, i
marketinšku, koja ima za cilj privlačenje potrošača, samim
tim menjajući njihove stavove u kupovini.
Ključne reči: reklame, žene u reklamama, stavovi
potrošača, etička pitanja.
Efekti prikazivanja žena u reklamama
na formiranje stavova potrošača
Jelena Stanković, Radmila Živković,
Tamara Marić, Jelena Gajić
Jelena Stanković,
Radmila Živković,
Tamara Marić,
Jelena Gajić,
Singidunum Univerzitet, Danijelova 32. 11010 Beograd
... These urgencies are evoked by the potentially negative effects of using stereotypes in advertising, that is, viewing women as exclusively sexual beings whose purpose is to sexually arouse and gratify men. Due to potential perceptions of women as appropriate targets for sexually aggressive behaviors (Lanis and Covell 1995: 647), differences in gender representation in advertisements have been widely investigated, and a recent study by Stanković et al. (2018) has shown men's more dominant role in conveying a verbal message, whereas women are predominantly given a visual role in commercials. ...
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The present paper illustrates the preliminary findings of a CORECOM-funded project called "The representation of the image of women in advertising: interlinguistic and multimodal perspectives". Its aim has been to identify, analyze and deconstruct semantic asymmetries which continue to proliferate in the field of information and communication, thus perpetrating discursive constructions of stereotyped and discriminating gender identities. Drawing on the most influential contributions to the study of language and gender (present research has identified possible pragmatic characterizations leading to the identification of subliminal, discriminating or degrading advertising messages which provide the audience with the image of a stereotyped woman or allusively associated, for example, with an aesthetic canon based on beauty as an absolute value. To this end, the comparison between advertising messages disseminated on the regional, national and international territory has brought out quantitative and qualitative data that have allowed us to define the extent to which the presence of gender stereotypes and sexualization of the female body are occurring in regional and national advertising in relation to some European countries. Reference has thus been made to advertisements in English in both English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries. Consequently, the results of interlinguistic and comparative research have also brought out useful data for the definition of pragma-linguistic patterns characterizing ELF (English as a Lingua Franca; Seidlhofer 2001) in advertising.
Beauty is intangible, and standards of beauty differ from culture to culture and have changed over the years. Past studies in psychology have shown that at the individual level, the quality of one's body image is strongly related to the level of one's self-esteem and psychosocial adjustment. Shame inopportunely is a powerful self-conscious emotion which emerges from the experience of being seen by others as flawed, inferior, inadequate or powerless. Regardless of what we have been told, that only what lies within matters, most women grow up seeking perfection in their physical appearance as they are socialised to believe it is important to be physically perfect. Using the auto-ethnography method, this paper will explore my personal experience as a large-sized and dark-skinned individual, from my childhood days until I became an adult. Using my personal experience as a member of a minority community in Malaysia’s multicultural society, I will explore how issues related to body shaming, objectification and colourism affected me at different stages of my life. It shows how living in a culture that places emphasis on the physical attractiveness of women and insistently objectifies them, inadvertently leads to the feeling of body shame and low self-esteem and eventually creates despair and misery in adolescent girls and women’s lives. This paper also explores the journey of empowerment as I began to accept my body and it chronicles the choices I made to be who I am today.KeywordsBeautyCultureColourismMinorityDiscrimination
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Slimming products have been continuously produced, while advertisements used for marketing these products increase in number. Advertisement of these slimming products shows an image of the ideal female body that is promised to be achieved if consumers use the offered products. Advertisement of these slimming products becomes one of the facilities to spread and maintain an ideology of beauty in society. The ideology can influence and shape the perspective of society related to beauty stereotypes that are later made a benchmark in assessing a person. Many people are disadvantaged by these beauty stereotypes spread in society. This research aims to reveal the construction of the image of the ideal female body in an advertisement of the slimming products through three dimensions of Critical Discourse Analysis, as Fairclough (2014) stated. These three dimensions are the text analysis phase, discursive practice analysis phase, and sociocultural praxis analysis phase. Besides analyzing verbal and non-verbal aspects in the selected advertisements, the researcher also interviewed 10 (ten) women to identify the perspective of Indonesian women to the beauty discourse existing in advertisement and society. The results of the study revealed that beauty discourse, as shown in the advertisement, was internalized by women as participants in this research. In this case, discourse related to the ideal female body image is still persistent in society.
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This paper is the first to estimate the impact of exposure to deceptive advertising on consumption of the advertised product and its substitutes. We study the market for over-the-counter (OTC) weight-loss products, a market in which deceptive advertising is rampant and products are generally ineffective with potentially serious side effects. We control for the targeting of ads using indicator variables for each unique magazine read and television show watched.
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While they demonstrate some ability to critically analyze the more obvious forms of deceptive weight-loss advertising, many girls do not recognize how advertising evokes emotional responses or how visual and narrative techniques are used to increase identification in weight-loss advertising. This study examined how girls aged 9-17 years interpreted magazine advertising, television (TV) advertising and infomercials for weight-loss products in order to determine whether deceptive advertising techniques were recognized and to assess pre-existing media-literacy skills. A total of 42 participants were interviewed in seven geographic regions of the United States. In groups of three, participants were shown seven print and TV advertisements (ads) for weight-loss products and asked to share their interpretations of each ad. Common factors in girls' interpretation of weight-loss advertising included responding to texts emotionally by identifying with characters; comparing and contrasting persuasive messages with real-life experiences with family members; using prior knowledge about nutrition management and recognizing obvious deceptive claims like 'rapid' or 'permanent' weight loss. Girls were less able to demonstrate skills including recognizing persuasive construction strategies including message purpose, target audience and subtext and awareness of economic factors including financial motives, credibility enhancement and branding.
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This article demonstrates how presentation order, gender, and value relevance can influence advertising processing under different viewing situations. One study found that message order and gender influenced message persuasion: under situational low involvement, females (males) exhibited primacy (recency) effects when viewing two advertisements differing in values (help-self versus help-others) for a charity. In a second study, with higher situational involvement, all respondents appeared to process advertising messages systematically and considered the value content within the message in their evaluations. Thought-listing data revealed that females continued to exhibit primacy effects regardless of message appeal, but the recency effects with males disappeared when the advertisement (help-self) matched their values. Relevance for advertising effectiveness and media planning is discussed.
Controversies in Contemporary Advertising is a new text presenting a range of perspectives on advertising. It examines economic, political, social, and ethical perspectives and covers a number of topics including stereotyping, controversial products, consumer culture, and new technology. The book is divided equally between macro and micro issues, providing a balanced portrait of the role advertising has in society today. Author Kim Bartel Sheehan’s work recognizes the plurality of opinions towards advertising, allowing the reader to form and analyze their own judgments. It encourages readers to obtain a critical perspective on advertising issues. Controversies in Contemporary Advertising is ideally suited as a core text for undergraduate and graduate courses in advertising, marketing, journalism, mass communication, and communication studies.
Less than 15% of ads are directed specifically to women and less than 5% are intended just for men. The remaining 80% are apparently targeted to everyone. This presumes very little difference in overall response between genders, which is strange, given that fundamental gender differences do exist. For example, women typically respond more positively to ads than men. Why should this be so? Is it intrinsic, is it cultural, or are there types of ads that work better with women than men, and vice versa? What leads to such differences? This paper reviews gender differences stemming from in-utero hormonal flows that shape the embryonic brain. How do such differences affect overall gender response to advertising? The findings show that advertising directed to just men or just women k more effective - yet paradoxically, it is seldom utilised, as most advertising appears to be targeted to both genders. In addition, although there is a wide range of effective styles of advertising and of content types that are demonstrably effective, many are comparatively neglected. Thus, there are opportunities for much more creativity and variety in the way advertising messages are communicated. The paper seeks to provide some dear pointers on how to go about this. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of International Journal of Market Research is the property of Warc LTD and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
This study measures attitudes of young women to sexually objectified advertising. A survey combining elements of two previous studies (Ford, LaTour, and Lundstrom, 1991; Mittal and Lassar, 2000) was administered to 94 female undergraduates. Results show significant (p < 0.001) changes in attitudes of young, educated women. Respondents agreed females were portrayed as sex objects in advertisements, but were less offended by these portrayals than female respondents in 1991. Results also show females' attitudes toward the advertisement have little effect on purchase intention, a highly significant change from attitudes of women in 1991.
Research in the behavioral sciences has found that memory tends to be enhanced by exposure to emotion‐arousing stimuli. While this relationship is not fully understood, the linkage appears to be more pronounced for females than for males. While the majority of prior studies dealing with memory have relied on the use of visual stimuli in a clinical experimental setting, this research examined the impact on memory resulting from exposure to actual print advertisements of varying degrees of arousal‐producing content. Differences in the relationship between arousal and memory were explored for male and female participants. In general, females were found to exhibit higher memory levels than males. As a single combined group, subjects exposed to emotion arousing versus emotion neutral ad. stimuli exhibited no significant difference in memory. For the set of emotion neutral ad. stimuli, no difference in memory was found between sexes. However, retention was significantly higher for females than males for the set of emotion‐arousing stimuli. The study identifies opportunities for further applied memory research.
In 1999, Furnham and Mak published a review of 14 content-analytic studies of sex roles stereotyping in television commercials. All these studies were based on the McArthur and Resko (1975) content categories. This paper updates that review considering 30 studies in over 20 countries published between 2000 and 2008. Studies were from Australasia, Austria, Bulgaria, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. They examined over 8,000 advertisements. National and cultural differences in gender stereotypes are also considered in the light of this data. The popularity of, and the problems associated with, the research paradigm are considered.