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Stereotyping in Advertising
In the modern day business world most entrepreneurs are struggling to capture the attention of the attention of consumer and ensure that their products and services are sought after on a regular basis. It is only by ensuring that the company's goods and services are moving that the company will be able to register profits and hence the growth of the business. This is where advertising plays an important role. Advertising is the medium that manufactures and retailers use to persuade consumer to buy their goods and services. There are different channels of advertising that most companies use and they include print advertising, television and radio advertising and the lastly the most popular medium of advertising the internet. It has however been observed that advertisements often rely on stereotypes to present their message in a few words or images. This brings us to the focus of our research paper. The purpose of this paper will be to find out a variety of stereotypes in several media and discuss what we, as consumers, need to be aware of. In addition to that the paper will pin point out what should ethical ad designers avoid?
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Stereotypes in Advertising
There are numerous stereotypes in the world of advertising and each of them has contributed differently to the way consumers respond to goods and services as well as to how this stereotypic approach affects people who "religiously" follow this adverts and the faces behind the advertisements. In advertising there are two main things that are mainly stereotyped; gender and race. In nearly 90% of commercials that appear on our televisions screens, it is easy to notice the kind of persons that have been used in them. If they are women they have to meet a certain criteria and belong to certain race group, the same goes for men too.
Gender Based Stereotypes in Advertising
Gender stereotyping is categorized into two; male and female stereotypes. It is however the female stereotypes that is more dominant that the male one. The rapid growth of the information and communication technologies sectors and more specifically the internet has greatly changed the way women are viewed in advertisements. From the early 1950's to the late 1980's, the only visual form of advertisement that was used to show the stereotype in women was the television; however that has since changed and the internet and bill boards have taken over (Courtney & Lockeretz, 92-95; Courtney & Whipple, 4-17; Dominick & Rauch, 259-265; Geis et al.,513-525; Knill, Pesch, Pursey, Gilpin & Perloff,497-506).
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One way that the stereotypic nature has been revealed in advertisement is the way of dressing; in any commercial advert especially print and visual advertisements, most females are teenager models and dressed in a more revealing wardrobes and extreme make up. This is irrespective of the product they are marketing. For instance, a junk food restaurant will use the portrait of a model in its advertisements and that will give consumers (mostly ladies) the impression that by consuming the advertised food they will be as slim and beautiful as the model; however this is not the case and most of them end up disappointed.
According to Milburn, Carney and Ramirez most of the advertisements are not only stereotypes but also used as a form of communication as well. For instance in most adverts, women are portrayed as submissive, respectful and they mostly appear in "household advertisements" and this gives the impression of "women should be seen not heard" as compared to their male counterparts who are always active and energetic. This then gives the notion that most women are good housekeepers and house wives which is not true. In the advertising industry, image is everything; most companies that manufacture beauty products always use young and beautiful girls to advertise their products. For example it is common to see a 20 year old model advertising a wrinkle removing beauty product yet she does have a single pimple on her face. This acts as an excellent marketing tool since it will capture the attention of the aging and desperate women who want to remain young forever.
Gender based stereotypes does not stop with woman alone, men have also been drawn into this based on a number of reasons. According to Media Issues, there are several ways that the media has brought out the stereotypes in men when it comes to advertising; the first way that the media has portrayed men is that they are jokers. This means that men should always be jovial and show little or no emotions at all, this is just a stereotype. It is however a business strategy used by companies that manufacture refreshments, energy drinks and sports material. Apart from the joker there is also the stereotype about "The Big Shot" man. This is the guy that every single lady wants to have in her possession, he is educate, has a good career and sizeable amount of investments. In addition to that he has great looks and character, the question that most people fail to ask themselves is how many such guys are there in the real world? There are some advertisements that have made people especially women believe that the most ideal person to date is the super hero who will engage in physical fights to protect you, they have managed to achieve this by using the most gorgeous and most admired personalities in the advertisement of their products and services.
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It is however important to note that the decision of whether or not whether to purchase a certain product or service should not be determined by the advertisement and the personalities used in the advert but rather by the quality of the product and what benefits are in store for you as a consumer.
Racial Stereotypes in the World of Advertising
Racial discrimination and ethnicity does not affect people in the professional and schooling arena only but plays a major role in the world of entertainment and more specifically advertising. According to Hoon, et al the issue of race and ethnicity in advertisement is one that has been under study for many years. The main purpose of the study was to determine the influence of race and ethnicity on the purchasing power of people of a certain region. This caused a dilemma to most advertisers because they were trying to practice "integrated advertising" where a person from one ethnic back ground or race was used to advertise a product in the opposite race (Tommy, Whittler). For instance a white model was used to advertise a product in the black dominated market. This however was in the ancient days when racial discrimination and ethnicity was the norm of the day, in the modern day people have become more educated and have started to gradually appreciate such commercials.
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The reason as to why it was hard for such an advertising project to succeed was because of the stereotypic nature of people in the developed nations. Most of them believed that black people were inferior and therefore they were not qualified to advertise certain goods and services in a white dominated region and vice versa. This was and is just a stereotype since as indicated in the previous paragraph of this research paper; it is the quality of the product or service that should be used as the determining factor to the purchase of a product and not the face behind the advert. The reason for this is that most of the people who are used to advertise certain product do not actually use the product or service but since it is their career and they stand to get monetary gain they have no option but give the best impression of the products or service.
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Summation of the Paper
The advertising industry is one of the most profitable and rapid growing sector of the media and entertainment industry. This has been propelled further by the rapid growth of the information communication and technologies sectors of the economies of most nations around the globe where most of the modern day advertisements are conducted on the internet and social websites like twitter and face book. One evident factor about stereotypes in advertising is that they have had a major impact on the people's choice of product and service for many decades.
This research paper has started off by looking at the definition of stereotypes in advertising and the growth that the advertising industry has witnessed since the introduction of the internet and telecommunication technology. The paper has then discussed the two main advertising stereotypes and these are gender based advertising stereotypes and racial centered advertising stereotypes. Under the gender based advertising stereotypes, the paper has looked at it from the male and female perspective and their contribution towards advertising stereotypes. The issue racial discrimination and ethnicity has been a thorn in the flesh in the entertainment and media industries of many nations around the globe; it is with this in mind the second part of the paper has focused on the impact that racial discrimination and ethnicity stereotypes has had on the advertising industry. In the last part of the paper, it has discussed reasons as to why consumers should stop relying on the stereotypes to determine their shopping patterns but rather they should concentrate on the quality and durability of the product or service. The reason for this is that most a time people have purchase a product or service because of the face behind the advertisement and they end up regretting something they could have avoided if they could have not "judged the book by its cover".