Women stereotypes in advertising

“They are better educated, earning more money than ever, and make the bulk of buying decisions. Yet when it comes to wooing women, advertisers could use a lesson in the art of courtship.”
A recent study showed that ads targeted to women were mostly cliched and offensive, more at CNN.com

The Belfast Telegraph agress and lists five typical clichés of woman (as portrayed by advertisers). There's super-granny, The Beauty Bunny, Alpha females, The Fashionista and good ol' Perfect Mum - but do these women really exist in reality and do real women identify with these caricatures?

"We already understand that women are different from men. Now we need to understand that women are different from one another. They want to be catered to as individuals," said Rebekka Bay, the head of consumer trends at Enterprise IG.

Yes, we're all individuals! crowd cheers back: We're all individuals. I'm not!

Bay argues that advertisers need to change the way they research female consumers. Instead of focus groups about particular products, she believes that marketers should find out more about all aspects of women's lives.

Not a bad idea considering that women still hold most of the buying power - 88%! “53 percent of all stock purchases, 63 percent of personal computer buys, and 75 percent of all over-the-counter drug outlays.” according to the study which CNN reports on.

The Belfast article argues that this is not just a gender issue - which is true. Caricatures and stereotypes of men exist in advertising as well - we've all seen the bumbling buffoon, the beer-guzzler, the purse-holding husband et al. Many argue that when you only have thirty seconds to tell a story, you don't have much time to flesh out a character.

Perhaps if advertising spent less time telling jokes and showing 'settings' where we should identify and spent more time telling the story of the product, these things could be avoided.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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