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Author Topic: Television commercials and reinforcing of gender roles:
Loca
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posted 05 December 2003 04:16 PM      Profile for Loca     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is nothing new but I just want to know what people think. Is it just me or is it indeed true that the majority of commercials in TV that advertise cleaning and cooking products use women as the performers of the related home task? In this day and age I would expect to see some men in those commercials cleaning or doing the laundry.

Is this because the advertisers still think that women are their main market? Or is it just a following on what have been traditional to assume e.g.: women cook, clean etc.


From: My family's heart | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
H Vincent
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posted 07 December 2003 11:28 AM      Profile for H Vincent        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is is just me or do the majority of television commercials show men as being helpless, buffoons? Do the majority of commercials portray violence against men as being funny?

How about this commercial? A man sits eating snacks from a little bag. He says "These are great. Crunchy outside, chewy inside...I just don't know why there's a cat on the bag." Turns out the moron is eating Whiskas brand cat food. Let's turn this around.

A woman sits eating what looks like a big bowl of beef stew. "Mmmm this is great. Big chunks of real beef and vegetables... I just don't know why there's a dog on the can." Turns out she's eating Dr. Ballards dog food. Not likely that they would run that.

How about the ad where a woman stuffs a grocery boy into the truck of her car? Or the one for Echo hatchback where the girl from the Addams Family has a huge venus fly trap that eats the grocery boy - boy advertisers seem to have it out for grocery boys. Or the one where the woman slaps the man who is looking at a car because she thinks he's looking at another woman - I guess looking at a woman justifies domestic violence - even though he wasn't looking. How about the Diet Coke ad that has 2 mature women teasing a third about her college toyboy - do you think Coke would run an ad showing 2 men teasing a third about his 19 year old girlfriend or would they be overrun with angry letters? How about the progressive insurance ad where a woman uses instant voodoo on her ex-boyfriend, burning him, stabbing him and crushing his genitals with pliers? How about the tampon ads that would have women believe that all men are so thick they won't be able to recognize a tampon? How about the pizza pocket ads that have teenagers ignoring their fathers who are being hurt? One is falling off the roof the other has cut himself with a power tool and asks the boy to call his mother for help. The boy ignores him and the anouncer says "Hunger the one thing you can't ignore." Don't think that would fly with the genders reversed.

Advertising agencies are run by morons who very carefully run ads that run the risk of offending the least number of special interest groups. Be smart. Turn off your TV. Don't buy their products.


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bittersweet
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posted 07 December 2003 01:09 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Loca: There is currently a vacuum ad featuring a guy using one. The vacuums are being marketed to a 20-something demographic--young, hip, urban. That's an exception, though. There was a time I noticed a trend in TV ads that had women teaching men to do household chores, with the men enjoying the ease of the equipment/product, but not before being represented as clueless. In TV land, men always watch sports and drink beer and drive John Deere lawn mowers and practically salivate over shiny new cars. It's not hard to make the argument that advertising (well, consumer culture) is profoundly misanthropic. The systemic negative treatment of either gender--in advertising as in real life--debases us all.
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googlymoogly
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posted 07 December 2003 01:33 PM      Profile for googlymoogly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I remember when I was about 12-13 (I'm 20 now), and they used to run those ads in Seventeen advertising weigh loss programs with slogans like "Every guy wants a girl with beautiful body!" (that's a real one I saw- verbatim); I don't read those anymore, but they pay lip service to using "healthy" models and throw in the occasional token "deep" story only to have it forgotten in the next issue. As if girls' minds are meant to be no deeper than talk of makeup, hair and "boys" will allow. They did have one story several years ago featuring a lesbian, but that's the only one I saw back when I read it.
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H Vincent
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posted 07 December 2003 01:36 PM      Profile for H Vincent        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good points Loca.

Most advertising is stupid but we can influence it by letting companies know if we like it or not. Otherwise they are just running by focus groups which may not realistically reflect public opinion.


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googlymoogly
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posted 07 December 2003 01:43 PM      Profile for googlymoogly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Kind of like those damn Cottonelle ads where the guy doesn't know what toilet paper is .

[ 07 December 2003: Message edited by: googlymoogly ]


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athena_dreaming
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posted 07 December 2003 10:42 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Loca, it's not just you. And in fact, it's even worse.

You will notice if you watch carefully that just about every advertisement featuring a woman in a domestic role will have at least one careful shot of her left hand with a prominent wedding band. This is considered a rule of the industry definitely in advertising for baby products--wouldn't want to be seen condoning single motherhood, y'know. But I've even noticed it in ads for cleaning products. I mean, unless their target audience is exclusively left-handed, it seems to me very unlikely that such a high proportion of women scrub their walls, stoves, toilets, etc. and mop and sweep with their *left hand.* The last example I saw was that ad for that new Mr. Clean eraser-sponge thingy.

I know the excuse of the advertising industry is that they're trying to target the people who might buy their products, but since the entire purpose of advertising is to create new markets, it's a piss poor reason as far as I'm concnerned. Men actually do clean, and I've never seen a woman so in love with her new sweeper gadget that she went and broke into a friend's house to clean it.


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Loca
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posted 08 December 2003 12:19 AM      Profile for Loca     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thank you all for your answers. You are right H. Vincent men are also stereotyped into roles by advertisers. Athena, I have never noticed the wedding band but it would not surprise me at all.

I don’t believe that the advertisers are evil with a pre set agenda as much as I believe that they help to perpetuate myths. Although I sometimes ask myself what is the reality the market, as they perceive it? Or do they help to create such market by reinforcing stereotypes / roles.

I still believe that ads act at a subliminal level and have an impact in the way our society works. Where I come from (Latin America) is even more pervasive. For instance cleaning products are advertised as the help needed by any good wife wanting to make their husbands proud (of the clean house that is).


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julie_eliot
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posted 08 December 2003 09:30 AM      Profile for julie_eliot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by H Vincent:
. . .
Advertising agencies are run by morons who very carefully run ads that run the risk of offending the least number of special interest groups. Be smart. Turn off your TV. Don't buy their products.

Yes no one escapes from the stereotyping of the marketing machine. Have you ever noticed how there are rarely mixed race couples shown in the movies or in advertising?

For every ad that uses the ditzy voluptuous women to try and sell something there is the assumption that there are men who will buy something just because of a ditzy voluptuous woman which is pretty insulting to men. I just don't believe that most men are that shallow or stupid.


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Michelle
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posted 08 December 2003 11:30 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not excusing the ads that show men as incompetent boobs. And I don't like commercials where men are hit, even kiddingly, by their wives or girlfriends. But one thing I've noticed is that a lot of the time, the men are shown as incompetent when it's something that women are "traditionally" supposed to do. They're usually incompetent at the things that most men would rather their wives do anyhow.

That Cottonelle commercial where the guy can't figure out what toilet paper to get until the soft Cottonelle music starts playing, and then he has an epiphany - sure, he's shown as an incompetent boob. However...I think of those commercials as being anti-feminist as well. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of couples I know, where the husband claims that he just can't do the (insert domestic chore here) because he's just sooooo bad at it, and his wife is just so much better at it so that's why she does it.

No, all men don't do this - in fact, most men I know who are my age don't do so. But what I'm saying is that these commercials reinforce this back-handed way of assuming domestic chores are "women's work".


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Lima Bean
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posted 08 December 2003 11:36 AM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I would add that in those commercials (and I've noticed it in a lot of sitcoms lately) where the guy is an incompetent boob, he's often also portrayed as lazy or sloppy, and often he's played by an actor who's at least slightly overweight, and not necessarily 'ideally' attractive, while the wife character is still a slim, made-up, perky beautiful woman. This offers a view of the world in which men are accountable for nothing, not even their own appearance, but women must always be vigilant, not only about the dust or grime in their homes, but about their own appearance even while scrubbing the toilets.

Garbage like this reinforces all kinds of unhealthy and unproductive stereotypes and social attitudes. It's bad for everyone who sees it, really--men and women, and children too.


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julie_eliot
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posted 08 December 2003 11:40 AM      Profile for julie_eliot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:

No, all men don't do this - in fact, most men I know who are my age don't do so. But what I'm saying is that these commercials reinforce this back-handed way of assuming domestic chores are "women's work".

I would agree that mainstream marketing is not feminist in outlook. What do you think about that ad where a guy has to call a female friend to change his tire? I wonder if more people buy because the advertiser doesn't use the same tired angle.

The sad thing is that guys who are great about doing housework on their own often regress to how things worked in their household when they live with a woman and slip back into letting the female do the housework.


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bittersweet
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posted 08 December 2003 11:50 AM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I disagree that advertising agencies are run by morons. I also disagree with the idea that turning off the TV is, beyond the very short term, an effective way to resist advertising's messages--including messages about stereotyped gender roles. A person who thinks to turn off the TV (or just mute it) is likely less vulnerable to advertising's manipulations because she or he must be aware of them in the first place to even think to avoid them. In that case, turning off the TV is less about resisting temptation than about avoiding an irritation. Irritation is what happens once one is aware of the manipulations. As for not buying advertisers' products, the moment of choice to not buy them can obviously only happen after being exposed to their advertisements. In other words, these well-meant suggestions are preaching to the converted.

I think media education (aka, the study of propaganda) is the best way to go. Is it included in school curricula anywhere these days?


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paxamillion
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posted 08 December 2003 11:55 AM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by googlymoogly:
Kind of like those damn Cottonelle ads where the guy doesn't know what toilet paper is .

Man, I want to wretch when I see that one.


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Lima Bean
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posted 08 December 2003 11:59 AM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I hate that one too. I always reach for the remote in a panic as soon as I see that guy standing so hopelessly in the aisle. I just hate the singing part, and the whole premise is just ridiculous.

Also, who gives a shit (really) about what they wipe their bum with? It's just so aggravating.


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Meowful
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posted 08 December 2003 12:07 PM      Profile for Meowful   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lima Bean:
I would add that in those commercials (and I've noticed it in a lot of sitcoms lately) where the guy is an incompetent boob, he's often also portrayed as lazy or sloppy, and often he's played by an actor who's at least slightly overweight, and not necessarily 'ideally' attractive, while the wife character is still a slim, made-up, perky beautiful woman. This offers a view of the world in which men are accountable for nothing, not even their own appearance, but women must always be vigilant, not only about the dust or grime in their homes, but about their own appearance even while scrubbing the toilets.

Garbage like this reinforces all kinds of unhealthy and unproductive stereotypes and social attitudes. It's bad for everyone who sees it, really--men and women, and children too.



I agree completely Lima.
I mentioned this to my husband the other night -- that women are expected to be slim and beautiful (and smart) while the men can be sloppy and unattractive (and stupid).
Ever see a sit-com with a "metro-man" married to a heavy-set woman? Nope, and you aren't likely to see one.
Commericals too, especially for vacations... you always see a sloppy fat men drooling over the beautiful slim women on the beach... makes me sick!

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Hinterland
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posted 08 December 2003 12:07 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree that advertising agencies are run by anything but morons - these people are skilled in the impact of imagery, the tastes of the average consumer and the manipulability of their audience...if only they used their powers for good instead of evil..*sigh*. My real complaint with advertising is not so much the stereo-typing (...it's still there, but it's better than it used to be, including showing men and women in non-traditional roles and racial stereotyping) but just with the sheer banality of and, most egregiously, the lack of humour in most commercials. I think on average, advertisers see their audience as considerably dumber than they are, and I'm not a fan of treating anyone like this. But this is a fundamental quality of North American business practices (as opposed to Britain, continental Europe and Australia).

I go to great lengths to block advertising - I don't have cable now, but when I did, I mostly watched the commercial-free services. When I glimpse a print advertisement, my instinct is to look away or unfocus my eyes, and I recently installed software that very effectively blocks Internet advertising. I've been a big supporter of media education in schools; people have to learn to reduce the confusion caused by these distractions in a media-saturated world in order to be able to focus and to think more clearly.

Edited to add:

Yes, the Cottonelle ad, the worst...although I remember one from the 80's when a woman approaches her mother with her hands behind her back and says cheerily "Guess what Mom" and mom says chirpily "What?"...and the daughter brings out her hands holding two packages and says exaltingly "Two brand new douches!". Jesus.

[ 08 December 2003: Message edited by: Hinterland ]


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julie_eliot
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posted 08 December 2003 12:08 PM      Profile for julie_eliot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by bittersweet:
I disagree that advertising agencies are run by morons . . . I think media education (aka, the study of propaganda) is the best way to go. Is it included in school curricula anywhere these days?

Well morons insofar as a "raised consciousness" goes in others ways they are cooly calculating, know their stats & demographics & public attitudes and use their intelligence to milk the most dollars out of this information.

I'm pretty sure that media education is included in the curriculum I seem to remember that it began around grade 5 or 6.


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mighty brutus
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posted 08 December 2003 12:32 PM      Profile for mighty brutus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Stereotype or not, you've GOT to love the commercial where the woman is 'swiffering' to the tune up Devo's 'Whip it'!
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Lima Bean
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posted 08 December 2003 12:32 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
get real. Makes me wanna barf.
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mighty brutus
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posted 08 December 2003 12:36 PM      Profile for mighty brutus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Swiff it!
Swiff it good!

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skdadl
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posted 08 December 2003 12:40 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Also, who gives a shit (really) about what they wipe their bum with?

Slight drift here, but it should be less a question of what you wipe your bum with than what goes into the sewage system.

A lot of toilet paper, both high-end and ultra-cheap, is too dense, clogs toilets, and does not break down quickly further along the system. A plumber demonstrated this to me once: I hate to tell you this, but the tp he used as the "good" tp was Cottonelle, which really does fall apart almost as soon as it hits the water.

You'd think, if some tps have that advantage, some smart marketer would decide to appeal to our intelligence rather than insult it, and sell the stuff for a good reason for a change.

We could, of course, always link here to the great thread that was -- somewhere? -- about not using tp at all ...


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Hinterland
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posted 08 December 2003 12:43 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
One commercial I actually do like (..but I don't watch much television anymore, so I'm not a representative viewer) is the Wendy's commercial where two guys are eating their new super-scrumptuous salads. After some banter, one the guys notes the strangeness of two guys, sitting at a table, chatting about salads, which seems a little..wink, wink...you know...and the other guy says "Grow up, man". I actually couldn't care less about fast-food joint salads, but this ad wasn't too bad.

Edited to add: Skdadl, you and I are posting at the same time it seems; but that point if yours is one I wish advertisers would understand more...I in fact really like Cottonelle tp (...for rather delicate reasons, which I'll tell everyone about IF they really want to know ) but the company chooses such a lame vehicle for promoting it...why? (...oh why!)

[ 08 December 2003: Message edited by: Hinterland ]


From: Qubec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 08 December 2003 12:50 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
On the topic of gendered ads: if you want to know who an ad is aimed at, listen for the pronouns. I've noticed that a lot of baby product commercials and cat food commercials use "her", as in "Doesn't your baby deserve the best that you can offer her..." or "give her the cat food that's...".
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julie_eliot
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posted 08 December 2003 12:58 PM      Profile for julie_eliot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mighty brutus:
Stereotype or not, you've GOT to love the commercial where the woman is 'swiffering' to the tune up Devo's 'Whip it'!

I confess it does make me laugh. Humour is seomthing I respond to in a commercial. I guess the fact that it's a woman swiffering is offset by her teen girls rolling their eyes and saying, "I hope it's not genetic."

The thing is until more of you guys start doing the housework the ads will be aimed at the person who makes the buying decisions about housecleaning products.

Who cleans the toilets in your household? Fess up now.


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Meowful
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posted 08 December 2003 01:14 PM      Profile for Meowful   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I like the commercial where the guy says "If you like sex, don't buy your wife a toaster for her birthday!"
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julie_eliot
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posted 08 December 2003 01:17 PM      Profile for julie_eliot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My favorite is the commercial for Immodium where a guy calls out to his friend in the hot tub who is flanked by two friends ands yells to him, "How is your diarrhea!"

[ 08 December 2003: Message edited by: julie_eliot ]


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Rebecca West
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posted 08 December 2003 01:29 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by julie_eliot:
I would agree that mainstream marketing is not feminist in outlook. What do you think about that ad where a guy has to call a female friend to change his tire? I wonder if more people buy because the advertiser doesn't use the same tired angle.
That's an interesting example. I think the ad is for Secret anti-perspirant, so it's being marketed to women. Interesting thing about Secret ads - they've changed their slogan from "strong enough for a man, but made for a woman" to simply "strong enough for a woman".
I guess they somehow ended up with a bunch of "radical feminists" in their focus group.

From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
julie_eliot
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posted 08 December 2003 01:36 PM      Profile for julie_eliot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rebecca West:
That's an interesting example. I think the ad is for Secret anti-perspirant, so it's being marketed to women."


I couldn't remember what the ad was for. What are examples of ads we consider to be highly sexist and that we would never if our life depended on it buy that product.

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amkowalsky
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posted 08 December 2003 02:04 PM      Profile for amkowalsky     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I remember learning in grade 8 Lifestyle class that Secrets "strong enough for a man" was sexist. That was over 10 years ago!

My favorite current commercial is the Canadian Tire one (I think) where the dad is showing his young daughter how he organizes his tools and nails in the garage. Very nicely done.


From: The Heart of a Nation | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 08 December 2003 03:11 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The people who design and target advets aren't morons. The problem with these ads is that they treat us as if we were morons.

Except Wal-Mart. I'm serious. They don't have sexy models, male or female, but instead show plain or even homely people in their ads.

Talk about mass appeal.


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skdadl
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posted 08 December 2003 03:39 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why, yes, Hinterland: I'd be fascinated to hear more.

For anyone who missed it earlier this year, here is TP (toilet paper) and India, from Body and Soul. An oldie but a goodie.


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bittersweet
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posted 08 December 2003 03:40 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
skdadl wrote: You'd think, if some tps have that advantage, some smart marketer would decide to appeal to our intelligence rather than insult it, and sell the stuff for a good reason for a change.
This is an interesting question. The answer, I think, is that advertising appeals to emotions, not the intellect. For example, link a gas-guzzling SUV with an emotional need like familial love and security (cute, wet kids packing into the warm, secure vehicle after a soccer game...which then drives them safely to a warm, secure McDonald's), and you can hope to trump environmental (and dietary) concerns. The environmentally friendly tp is not in a vacuum, but is competing against other, less benign tp that compensates by advertising through appeals to emotion. Emotions that are stronger than that of the sight of a pristine landscape or ocean floor--if that is even an emotion. (And it's no good appealing to the warmth and security of loved ones who will one day inherit the environment, because emotions are grounded in the present.) My guess is that advertisers would keep very much in mind the way other tp is effectively advertised, and that this awareness would figure in their process of deciding whether to emphasize an appeal to the intellect (its environmentally friendly quality) or to emotion.

From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 08 December 2003 03:55 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Why, yes, Hinterland: I'd be fascinated to hear more.

Well, it seems I lived a few years with a tropical parasite that....no wait, I'm too shy...


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nonsuch
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posted 08 December 2003 06:58 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I still believe that ads act at a subliminal level and have an impact in the way our society works.

Of course they do. That's why i'm particularly angry with the ads that feature teenagers (predominantly male) being irresponsible, ignorant and brutish (mostly fast food and snacks). Or young adults (both sexes, but more women) being aggressively selfish (candy bars, clothing, cars). Or children being wasteful, heedless, totally self-absorbed and greedy (prepared food). That kind of thing both caters to and reinforces the worst in people.

I'm not real crazy about all the ads that show good-looking, smart-ass, overachieving women stuck with rotten kids and sloppy, stupid husbands. In those ads, the woman knows everything and the other people know nothing. This may reinforce men's unwillingness to do household chores (since they haven't a hope in hell of ever meeting Suprewife's exacting standards... well, who could?) but i think they're actually aimed at the women who do most, if not all, of the shopping, and the message is supposed to be: "You're so wise and wonderful, they'd all die without you!" Still a bad message. Piles on the stress. Then they sell you bath-salts to escape for fifteen minutes and pain relivers to get you back in charge quicker.

quote:
Where I come from (Latin America) is even more pervasive. For instance cleaning products are advertised as the help needed by any good wife wanting to make their husbands proud (of the clean house that is).

We had those in the 50's and 60's.
Nothing's really changed; women are still supposed to satisfy a boss, a husband, children and a social circle with the things they buy.

By the way, i've been seeing quite a few ads where a man does laundry. I guess that's the entry-level domestic chore.


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
julie_eliot
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posted 08 December 2003 07:10 PM      Profile for julie_eliot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Offhand I can't think of a specific ad that enrages me though I know that ads for diamonds inevitably make me want to gag.
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nonsuch
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posted 08 December 2003 07:35 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There are several that enrage me, but the worst are about wasting food. There is one for some takeout (KFC?) where the old man lets his bench-saw burn out, the kid crashes his model plane and the housewife throws a finished roast in the waste-bin. In another one, a kid has huge piles of the old, passe, breakfast cardboard with red sugar-muck stashed in his locker, 'cose his friend brings him the new, trendy breakfast cardboard every morning.
My abhorrance for these ads isn't about gender roles. It's about early training: i learned at my grandmother's knee that wasting food is a mortal sin. When you become aware of how many people in the world have no food, grandmother-wisdom only gains authority.

By the way, would it help put people off tv commercials if they introduced a little verisimilitude? Like, if babies pissed yellow and women menstruated red, instead of that ubiquitous, ridiculous blue?


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julie_eliot
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posted 08 December 2003 08:15 PM      Profile for julie_eliot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by nonesuch:
There are several that enrage me, but the worst are about wasting food. . . My abhorrance for these ads isn't about gender roles. It's about early training: i learned at my grandmother's knee that wasting food is a mortal sin. When you become aware of how many people in the world have no food, grandmother-wisdom only gains authority.

This is a bit off topic but I know that some daycares will not do crafts that involve using food. Like pictures with colored pasta etc.


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nonsuch
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posted 08 December 2003 09:01 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, i knew it was off topic.
(The progressive daycares, like progressive parents, are probably wasting their time: the mainstream propaganda will win by dint of weight and repetition.)
I didn't care that it was off topic, because the topic, as usual, is too narrow. You can't have a society that respects women unless it first respects basic princliples... or, at least, has some.

From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 09 December 2003 09:22 AM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by nonesuch:
You can't have a society that respects women unless it first respects basic princliples... or, at least, has some.


But we do have basic principles:

1. Greed Is Good
2. Spend Spend Spend--Society Depends on It
3. If you don't have what everyone else has, you will live an empty life devoid of meaning

...etc.

I know, it's not what you meant.

I agree that advertising agencies are not run by morons. No one, no company, would spend such a significant portion of their budgets on ads if they didn't work--if they didn't persuade people to purchase their products. Advertising *does* work, which is why it's a problem.

On the intellect-vs.-emotion question, I remember doing some reading for a school paper many years ago that talked about hte "Green Backlash"--how advertisers were learning that if you advertised a product as environmentally friendly, people would avoid it because they would assume the quality was lower. In order to attract people to Green products, advertisers had to use traditional methods or wind up with a hopelessly small market.

[ 09 December 2003: Message edited by: athena_dreaming ]


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skdadl
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posted 09 December 2003 10:02 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I dunno: when that plumber gave me the real-life demonstration of Why Toilets Go Bad, that was a pretty emotional moment for me. It hit me where I was living at that moment, which was on my knees, mopping up a wet floor. I tell you, that plumber and I could do a pretty powerful re-creation of the scene that would change hearts and minds overnight.

Maybe we should get an agent.

Seriously: media intelligence doesn't just mean that we should become cynical about the marketers' cynicism; it means we should start arguing back, from the deep understanding that intelligence and emotions are not totally separate things.

Everyone has personal experience of how the crap can back up on you, y'know? And I'm not just talking toilets. If we had a few marketers who were really pushing that point of view for the clients, they would be applying pressure to many others as well.


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julie_eliot
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posted 09 December 2003 11:14 AM      Profile for julie_eliot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A lot of our susceptibility to advertising is based on class/disposable income. One thing I maintain is that when you have little money you don't have to spend too much time thinking about what to buy as the bottom line is price.

If you grew up in a middle-class environment and your family used name brands some cannot bring themselves to use "no name" brands. No Frills does a booming business as there are many people who think it is stupid to pay so much more for name brands and their advertising costs for a marginal or non-existent difference in quality.

For those who grew up outside North America the allure of those brands that North Americans grew up with is not there.

My son is very critical of television ads. There are so many ads to which his response is, "That's for rich white kids." And by rich he means middle-class as most of his friends are not middle-class.


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athena_dreaming
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posted 09 December 2003 11:23 AM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
skdadl: *lol* Remind me to tell you sometime about my toilet "spill" story from when I was working at the MOE.

quote:
Originally posted by julie_eliot:
For those who grew up outside North America the allure of those brands that North Americans grew up with is not there.

Which is why Coca Cola is doing such a booming business in China? And McDonald's? And Nike? And ....


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julie_eliot
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posted 09 December 2003 11:39 AM      Profile for julie_eliot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by athena_dreaming:

Which is why Coca Cola is doing such a booming business in China? And McDonald's? And Nike? And ....


Hmmm . . . you've got a point. I guess I was thinking very specifically of what happens in the supermarket at Dufferin mall. It would be a marketers nightmare. I would guess that immigrant families on a tight budget are more willing to settle for the cheap knock-off of a Nike product than someone born in Canada and would buy no name Cola . . . as for Macdonald's well it's a phenomena in itself probably meriting it's own thread. My son and his high school friends rarely frequent the mall for lunch and buy at the mom and pop fast food joints in the Bloor and Dufferin area because it's cheaper.

He also came home one day with bottles of pop of a brand I had never heard of because they were a great price.

As far as teen fads go . . . Nike is "out" and the far more expensive brands like Phat Farm and FUBU companies which are black owned and operated are more popular.

I recently bought him a nice shirt at Honest Ed's for $3.99 and I confess that I avoided telling him where I bought it.


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 09 December 2003 04:35 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by amkowalsky:
My favorite current commercial is the Canadian Tire one (I think) where the dad is showing his young daughter how he organizes his tools and nails in the garage. Very nicely done.

It's for Home Hardware. I think they're finally atoning for those "Home of the handyman" ads.

But, the Canadian Tire ads featuring the happy renovating couple are also pretty good at combatting stereotypes.


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Lima Bean
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posted 09 December 2003 04:39 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't like that Home Hardware commercial because they're advocating tossing all your innovative and 3R's storage strategies in the bin in favour of some ugly plastic contraption.

I really like the glass jars and old coffee tin regime he's got going on there. It would be a real shame to see all of it replaced (even though it's fictional, I guess).


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julie_eliot
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posted 09 December 2003 05:58 PM      Profile for julie_eliot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lima Bean:
I don't like that Home Hardware commercial because they're advocating tossing all your innovative and 3R's storage strategies in the bin in favour of some ugly plastic contraption.

Same goes for me . . . I prefer glass. Geez . . .we're fussy. Come to think of it my dad gave me a toolbox and tools. I don't think he's given one to my brothers.


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Rufus Polson
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posted 09 December 2003 06:06 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think the most egregious ads are for kids. Partly because they really do tromp down hard on the gender roles, partly because they do it to kids, and toddlers, trying to form their consciousness before they know how to resist.

I don't even have to be watching, or close enough to hear the words, to tell whether it's a "boy" ad or a "girl" ad. The "girl" ads have music that's either syrupy or sorta "trying-to-be-hip-and-nightclubby", and soft, higher-pitched voices. The "boy" ads have a generally heavy-metal sound, along with roaring, snarling voices. Get closer and yes, the girls are being sold dolls and "my little pony" and domesticity and fashion. The boys are being sold violence and fast cars. And mechanical gizmos, but ones which are nearly always either violent or can be made into fast cars. Or both. Even lego's all about violence nowadays; it's not a building toy any more, it's a toy for building fight scenes. And you never, ever see a girl playing with a violent toy. Girls get to be soft and defenseless and very pastel.

Makes me want to puke.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
angela N
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posted 09 December 2003 06:44 PM      Profile for angela N   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Excellent points Rufus Polson.

I love the Clarica ads. I love that ad for some pasta (or is it sauce?) "A fresh take on tradition" Where the big Italian family finishes up dinner and the men jump up to clean while the women rub their stomachs, lean back and talk.

It really shocked me when I first saw it because it truly was so unheard of where I come from (although the setting is very familiar)

Considering the budgets that a lot of these companies have, commercials should be highly entertaining... and some are. Some use great music and have great concepts - remember that Jetta ad where a couple turn a corner (while listening to some great funky beat) and suddenly everything from the guy sweeping the sidewalk to the rhythm of the wipers is in sync. - Beautiful piece of work. Almost made me buy a Jetta ..... hahaha ... not.


From: The city of Townsville | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
waterDeva
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posted 09 December 2003 07:03 PM      Profile for waterDeva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by julie_eliot:


Who cleans the toilets in your household? Fess up now.


Not me! My partner and I actually had to have a discussion before we moved in together about house work. I have a much higher clutter/mess tolerance than him and he will often end up cleaning before I even notice that a room needs it. When I confessed my fear that we would have problems because I'm not as clean as him he told me not to worry, he would just follow me around with a squirt bottle.

I hate the comercials where the woman is dressed in period 50s clothing and the house looks like it's from the same era. And she's oh so happily mopping the floor or doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom. Blech.


From: Middle of Somewhere, SK | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged
clearview
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posted 09 December 2003 07:18 PM      Profile for clearview     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by nonesuch:
By the way, i've been seeing quite a few ads where a man does laundry. I guess that's the entry-level domestic chore.

I agree, that was my introduction to housework. Followed by vacuuming, and then the dishes.

I also agree with waterdeva, there is something to be said about clutter thresholds.


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Olly
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posted 10 December 2003 05:09 PM      Profile for Olly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have some friends in the advertising industry - one even donated his team to create print ads saying the Ontario government should raise welfare rates. It's great when you see what their creativity can bring to selling progressive ideas and not products.

Anyway, from what I hear from them, it is often the company who pushes against "non-traditional" images in ads. One friend I have was doing ads for Neutrogena. They wanted to do something that didn't involve a young pretty girl putting face cream on. They would have lost the contract had they not done that. The ad people are extremely smart and creative - it's the business execs who won't allow anything outside their narrow definition of the "norm."


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 10 December 2003 05:36 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
My partner and I actually had to have a discussion before we moved in together about house work.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people prefer to skip this in favour of 20 years of grousing.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 10 December 2003 07:05 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by clearview:

I agree, that was my introduction to housework. Followed by vacuuming, and then the dishes.

Funny. For me, vacuuming is easy, and the dishes are a snap, but laundry is a minefield. I can do my own, but when it comes to the family there's all this what can be hot and what should be cold or delicate or kept out to handwash or whatever. Danger, danger!

And yes, I think there really is something to clutter thresholds--but with the caveat that women tend to be socialized to have lower clutter thresholds. So while the person who's most bugged by the mess often ends up cleaning it, that person is more likely on average to be a woman.
It might, for a lot of women, be worth doing a sort of roleplaying exercise where they spent a few weeks imagining themselves as utter slobs and waiting to see if they ever got to their man's threshold . . .


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 10 December 2003 07:10 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I tried that with my first hubby, Rufus, and wound up with once-green beans growing an interesting orange mold in the kitchen sink before caving in and cleaning up... Which took 10x as long as it would have if I'd just kept up with it.

The blond guy and I never needed much discussion on housework. We share. I don't let him sort laundry, though, because I don't like the colour pink. He washes after it's sorted, though, and folds.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mush
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posted 14 December 2003 12:53 PM      Profile for Mush     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by athena_dreaming:
[QB]I agree that advertising agencies are not run by morons. No one, no company, would spend such a significant portion of their budgets on ads if they didn't work--if they didn't persuade people to purchase their products. Advertising *does* work, which is why it's a problem.
QB]

I beg to differ about the degree to which this advertising "works". It surely does in the sense that it tells people that there is a thing called a Swiffer, and that they should buy one, and that it probably leaves them with a basically positive message about it. But I doubt that there is very reliable information about whether the presence of the wedding ring, etc, actually increases the likelihood someone would buy the product. That would all come from the focus groups done before the ad. There is not a lot of information gathered from people who actually buy or don't buy a product, and the effect the ads had.

I suspect it is a lot like the Neilson or BBM ratings- the market research itself becomes a sort of currency upon which the advertising industry runs.

Soooo...I think that gender stereotypes come more from the ad agencies taking the easy road and not "offending" the sensibilities of the people who buy the ads- not whether or not they sell the product effectively.

Edited to add: I don't know nuthin, though...
I find the Bud Light ads currently running to some of the worst (the 'Bud Light Institute") or some such thing...men are all insensitive jerks just looking for a good time and women are all over-emotional and demanding.

[ 14 December 2003: Message edited by: Mush ]


From: Mrs. Fabro's Tiny Town | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Puetski Murder
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posted 16 December 2003 02:09 AM      Profile for Puetski Murder     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Not to mention busty.
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athena_dreaming
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posted 16 December 2003 08:39 AM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mush:
I beg to differ about the degree to which this advertising "works". It surely does in the sense that it tells people that there is a thing called a Swiffer, and that they should buy one, and that it probably leaves them with a basically positive message about it. But I doubt that there is very reliable information about whether the presence of the wedding ring, etc, actually increases the likelihood someone would buy the product. That would all come from the focus groups done before the ad. There is not a lot of information gathered from people who actually buy or don't buy a product, and the effect the ads had.

But I wasn't just referring to this advertising in particular. I mean advertising as a concept--the idea of promoting a product and associating it with emotions, drives and desires in order to separate people from money they can't afford to lose to purchase products they don't need. I do not believe that corporations would spend gazillions of dollars on celebrity endorsements and TV spots if advertising didn't work--if it didn't pursuade people to buy their product.


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Mush
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posted 16 December 2003 09:36 AM      Profile for Mush     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh...sorry, you're entirely right...certainly It does work.

I was concerned that some (nobody here) might absolve sexist advertisers of blame the same way they would the makers of violent television by saying that it's what people want (at some level). I don't think it's the case that the presence of the wedding ring (I now watch obsessively for that) improves sales.


From: Mrs. Fabro's Tiny Town | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 16 December 2003 10:06 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Maybe it's not a case where a person who subliminally notices the ring runs out and buys the product, so much as some Xtian busybody who notices the absence of the ring, tells their congregation, and the next thing you know they're calling a press conference and boycotting the company for not promoting family values.

It'd be the difference between "doing this works" and "NOT doing this does NOT work".


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 16 December 2003 10:46 AM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mush:
I was concerned that some (nobody here) might absolve sexist advertisers of blame the same way they would the makers of violent television by saying that it's what people want (at some level).


Oh gods, not me! I'm not about to absolve advertisers of blame for anything! Blame away.

Actually I think Mr. Magoo has hit the likely rationale. It's not that most people notice it's there, but that for people to whom it's important, they notice the wedding ring is *not* there and organize boycotts on organizations for "promoting single motherhood and the degeration of hte nuclear family" and so on.

My favourite is the ad for life insurance with the two women sitting in a coffee shop--I don't know why, but there are two entirely gratuitous shots of the women cupping their coffee mugs in their left hands, wedding rings prominently displayed. Why? Why would they think it's important for the audience to know those women are married?


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
clearview
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posted 16 December 2003 11:00 AM      Profile for clearview     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by athena_dreaming:

My favourite is the ad for life insurance with the two women sitting in a coffee shop--I don't know why, but there are two entirely gratuitous shots of the women cupping their coffee mugs in their left hands, wedding rings prominently displayed. Why? Why would they think it's important for the audience to know those women are married?


It's important because they are trying to sell life insurance to married women whose husdands are about to die and leave them with nothing but the mortgage to pay off - which is easy enough to do with two incomes, but not so much with just one.


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
praenomen3
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posted 16 December 2003 03:52 PM      Profile for praenomen3        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That speaks to a larger truism in advertising generally. Whenever one thinks that a given ad is stupid or unclear - or has gratuitous shots of wedding bands - it's more than likely that you're not the target market, and the advertiser doesn't really care what you think.

Remember those Norwich Union life insurance ads ("It's Patrick!") that were constantly ridiculed?They were, in fact, remarkably effective among the target audience and thats the whole point. The sole point of commercial ads is to sell product to the target group. Any entertainment value the give to the public at large is almost irrelevant.


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