Stereotyping in Advertising

Essay by larghetto98C+, September 2004

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Advertising tends to follow a basic format; it often tries to attract the attention of the reader or viewer. It usually does this by initiating a dialogue between the user by using a striking image, or some other kind of out of the ordinary thing that separates it from other adverts. Advertisers do this because they know that people do not tend to look at them, and as such may have to get the message to the person as quickly as possible, with as much attention as possible.

Stereotyping is the use in advertising to create an easy association with the human brain, to allow it to easily associate items, and to understand that because a man in a white lab-coat says that a certain toothpaste is better than any other, is because he is wearing a white lab-coat. This creation a lot of tension in the public as they often dislike this.

Prior to the 1990s men used to be depicted as authority figures, often the head of departments, and often having a lot of power, such as a high place in a company. This put the message to the public, that because these "high class" people must use it, they should. Woman used to be classified as helpless housewives, who were often rescued by men with the "new" product that would help them out of their situation of distress.

Recently, however, advertising has evolved, there have been challenges to the stereotyped, men have now been depicted as "the family man" for example the Granada advert which shows the man holding a child and watching a baby being born. The passive, submissive housewife seen changed to an independent blonde who no longer want to do the cleaning, such as the Levis adverts which sell their jeans with...