AUDIENCE PERCEPTION OF FEMALE MODELS IN ADVERTISING MESSAGE (A STUDY OF “ALWAYS ULTRA”COMMERCIALS)
1.1 Background of the study
For any organization, advertising is one of the most important marketing activities, in modern economics; advertising occupies an important market position. The industry (advertising) has grown to become an important economic entity supporting lives of millions of people in the world. Advertising is not only an economic activity, but it articulates, different ideas, attitudes and values, which shape out social life and consumption patterns. Therefore, it can be said that advertising has become and form by virtue of signifying practices. Advertisements, articulates meaning to words and images although this depends on how we interpret them.
Advertising is such a strong influence in our society that it determines our needs, what we care about, how we raise our children, what our interests are and so on. Advertising plays a role involving a number of relationships, power and satisfaction; in this light, advertising has over the years used women as a tool/ implement to persuade consumers into buying a product and portray the woman beautiful and desirable. As noted by Puranik(2011) “advertising is nothing, but a paid form of non-personal presentation or promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsors with a view to disseminate information concerning an idea, product or disseminated is called advertisement.
In present day marketing activities, hardly is there any business in the modern world which does not advertise. However, the form of advertisement differs from business to business.
Areas (2008) said that “advertising is the structured and composed, no-personal communication of information , usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature, about products, services, and ideas, by identified sponsors, through various mass media like television, billboard, newspaper, magazine, with the aim of creating awareness”. This definition has a close link with that of Dominick (2007), which says that “advertising is any form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods and services, usually paid for, by an identified or known sponsor. Advertising makes use of various media to reach out to the consumers across the globe”. Thus it is seen as the process of persuading potential customers to buy products or promote its services. Wikipedia (2011) give way that any organization that wants its products to be known and looked for, has to create awareness through advertising.
Wilson, cited in Asemah (2010) said that advertising is controversial in nature and that in the early twentieth century, people clamored for the regulation of advertising. Believing much of it was exaggerated and untruthful. The United Nations conference on women recognized the importance of the mass media on the image of women/ female models. As noted by Ingham (n.d), television is widely known to represent and reinforce the main stream ideology of contemporary western culture: particularly. While television representations of women have changed greatly in the last twenty years alone, in other to accommodate the changing role of women on the society, one is led to ask how much the ideology has changed behind the more modern representations of women. If this is the case, then it is important for us to question how real the representations of women are on television and how this affects the attitudes of those who watch. Some of the most watched and perhaps influential genres of television viewing are advertisements and soap operas, in a world where women are numbered greater than men, can television be said to reflect the world as it is or dictate it?
Limipinnian (n.d) avers that gender representation on a small scale has always been important for one to understand what it means to be male or female. Looking at it in terms of advertising (possibly considering the most important aspect, powerful and influential medium in this ever-increasing commercial society) is to look at it with a more serious eye from the image inflicted upon us in the patriarchal mass media that surround us, it is assumed that we have been encouraged to mould ourselves into a set ideal. For a woman, that means having beauty, elegance, passivity and good domestic ability. One of the reasons televisions is resistant to the messages as conflicting with women’s desire to consume. Advertisers do not want to present to the audience a liberated woman, because this new woman does not want and thus, will not buy their products. For this reason, the paper critically examines the perception of the audience of female models in advertising messages, using “always ultra” commercials as the study.
Understanding the concept of advertising
It is any paid form of non-personal communication link, initiated by an identified marketer, to establish or continue exchange relationships with customers and at times, with other stakeholders. Companies advertise to: build awareness, position a product/brand, build preference, and differentiate their products/ brands. Dominick (2007) sees advertising as any form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods and services, usually paid for by an identified sponsor.
Wikipedia (2011) gave a comprehensive definition of advertising thus:
Advertising is the process of persuading potential customers to buy products or promote its services. It is also the branch of marketing that deals with communicating to customers about products, brands, and services. Advertising is a type of communication used to persuade an audience (viewers, readers, or listeners) to take some action with respect to products, ideas or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common. Advertising messages are usually paid for by sponsors and viewed via various traditional media, including mass media such as newspapers, magazines, television commercials, radio advertisements, outdoor advertising or direct mail or new media such as website and text
Therefore, the real message, aim/objectives of advertising is effective communication and understanding between producers and consumers.
1.2 Brief history “Always ultra” product/commercials
“Always” began in test market in Minneapolis, Minnesota in January 1983. At that time (3) pad types were introduced: maxi pads, minipads, and pantiliners. The ongoing market share objective was 25%; by October/November “always” had a 21.5% share; year (1) was 18.9%.The target audience were women between the ages 12-49. Test market result indicated “always” could achieve a 22.5% going share nationally. Competition at the time was intense. Johnson and Johnson was the market leader. Competitive response includes new product line extensions, products improvement, and heavy competitive promotional spending. “Always” also spent very heavily at the time. Consumer awareness of the product was low; consumers who tried “Always” like it, except for the pad.
By 1984, “Always” was in national distribution at that time there were (4) four pad types: maxi pads. Minipads, thin minipads and pantiliners. National expansion results were mixed: market share was 14.8% vs. the 16% objective key issues included in-market distribution and out of stock problems to meet the original 22.5% objective. Additionally, awareness among pad-using women was 82% compared to test market at 89%. Television advertising started 7-2-84 and samples were mailed including a coupon. In 1986, “Always” plus was introduced into the US representing the first line of feminine hygiene pads with panty protectors on the side where leakage is most likely to occur. In 1991,”Always” ultra was introduced into the US market. The ultra pad incorporates a novel super sober technology for feminine hygiene protection. In Europe, the general expansion of the full “Always” product line, including “Always ultra” and pantiliners also began.
1.3 Statement of the problem
It is important to know that advertisings increasing sophistication and sophistry are clearly evident
In today’s world, sophistication is manifested in attention grabbing advertisements copies, which virtually compel recipients to pay undivided attention. The primary stereotypes, is the portrayal of female models as sex objects. Women are often presented in limited roles because of the perception that they are not dependent and do not fit into the business votes or authority settings, they are portrayed to be more feminine. Men or male models are usually placed above the female models, because they (male models/men) are seen as calm and perfect for such roles. Therefore
the study is after the perception that is how the audience views female models or their thoughts of them in passing advertising messages.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are:
- a) To examine the role of female models in advertising messages.
- b) To find out audience perception of female models in advertising messages.
- c) To determine the effect “always” ultra commercials has on the advertising perception of the audience.
- d) To find out how “always” ultra commercials have portrayed female models to the audience.
1.5 Research Questions
- a) To what extent have female models passed advertising messages?
- b) How has “always ultra” as a product helped in terms of advertisements, to portray advertising messages to the audience?
- c) How has “always ultra” commercials influenced the audience?
- d) In what way manner does the audience see female models?
- e) Do models have negative or positive impact in advertising?
1.6 Scope of the Study
The essence of this research work is to study how “Always ultra” as a product and its advertisements/commercials has aided audience perception, of female models in passing advertising messages in Enugu metropolis. The study covers the various commercials run by the
“always ultra” company and how it has helped the audience in making their choice, or giving their opinion on what they think of female models.
1.7 Significance of the study
The study will help to determine the extent of knowledge of audience and likewise their attitude towards commercials both on radio and television. Also, the research helps to ascertain the importance of electronic media especially the television as a media of bringing about people’s awareness innovation. As a result of this research/study, it helps to educate the audience on the benefits include positive view of female models in advertising messages, and the importance of the product been studied to the audience and finally eliminating the thought of female models as only sex objects and not product promoters.
1.8 Operational definitions of Terms
The following terms where used and is defined as follows:
Audience: a group or number of people that come together to watch, listen, or read the same thing.
Perception: it is an idea, belief, or an image you have as a result of how you understand the true nature of something.
Female models: a lady or woman that showcases a product/service.
Audience perception: what a group of people think of the true nature of a thing.
Commercials: it is connected with showcasing goods and services and making profit.
Advertisement: a notice, picture, or film telling people about a product, job, or service.