Advertising business aspects
Advertising business aspects? Not in this world. How can advertising be ethical when we live in a society that says sex sells? The less you have on the better the ad is. Then we also live in a time that still portrays most minorities in stereotypical roles. Most minorities are still seen as second-class citizens in some advertisements. I think until advertisements depict women and minorities in a better way, advertising will never be ethical.
Women are seen as insurance to an advertiser to sell their product. Many advertisements that are targeted to men use partial or complete female nudity, sexual suggestiveness, and innuendo (Sex stereotyping in advertising 103). In other words these ads imply that the female in the advertisement is the man reward for him buying the product. For example there is a corona (beer) commercial out now. The first thing you see in the commercial is two women walking on a beach in tiny bikinis. Then after that you see a couple holding hands finally the corona bottle appears. Women are not only used for men advertising, female models that are half naked are used to sell women products also. Victoria Secrets commercials and ads would fall under this category. Although the product is clearly for women, according to Berger the advertiser is still trying to draw a male audience. Advertisers believe that men and women prefer to see female bodies in advertisement.
Public Service Announcement is usually thought of as informative. Public service announcements are ad that tries to bring awareness about certain issues such as cigarettes.
But there are some public service announcements that can send mixed messages out to the public. In one public service announcement there is an ad with this tall, thin and attractive women. In the poster she is smoking a cigarette, but she also have one of her hand on her butt and the other right under her breast. Then under the picture in bold letters it states, “AN UGLY BUTT CAN RUIN A GREAT BODY.” The word butt could mean to different things in this sentence. So what was meant to be a health issue has just changed to a health or sex issue. The cigarette looks as if it is adding to her sexual appeal instead of demeaning it. Now the message that cigarettes are harmful to body has gotten lost. Advertising cannot be ethical when we are not sure about the message of a cigarette public service announcement. Going back to that same ad, look at the female who was chosen to do it. She is tall, thin, and attractive. Why didn’t the advertiser go for a more full figured woman?
Women as represented in popular culture have gotten thinner and thinner. Wolfe (1991) noted that the weight of fashion models went down 23% that of ordinary women. The average American woman’s dress size is sixteen and the average age is not eighteen (Anne Telford, sexism in advertising 23). But if you were ever looking through a fashion magazine you would find that hard to believe. A national health study found that out of 2,379 9-year-old and 10-year-old girls (approximately half white and half African American), 40% of them reported that they were trying to lose weight. Out of the 101 million women in the U.S., 70.3% of those working are between the ages of 25-64. In August 1996, the London office of Grey Advertising conducted a survey of women between the ages of 15 and 45. “According to this survey, ” feeling happy to be themselves despite shape or size is important to more women (56%) than feeling attractive (40%).” “90% of the women say they would be interested in advertising that shows real women, not actresses or models. Over 70% say they would be interested in seeing ads showing interesting and attractive women who are also over 30 years old.” A study published a year earlier by Grey Advertising New York location, said “82% of women wish advertisers would recognize they don’t want to look eighteen forever”.
Minorities in advertising and media as a whole still have a long way to go before it is ethical. Sometimes if an advertisement is not clear it can take on more than one meaning. So advertisers should be more careful in the way they delivery a message to the public. There was a public service announcement that was out in the mid nineties. The public service announcement was a campaign against the drug crack. The advertisers decided to keep the ad simple. He put three people face on a white back round, then gave a summary of each one life with drug use involvement and without drug use involvement. Out of the three faces chosen two were black men. The pictures remind you of a photo I.D. or a mug shot The first thing one would wonder is why the advertiser went with two black men. But once you move pass that there is still a problem with the ad, both of the black men fit stereotypical images. The first picture of the first black man has a face shot of him. Beside the face shot it states that ” Michael /junior varsity/ varsity/ honorable mention/ all city/ all state/ high school all-American/ scholarship UCLA”. Then the other side describes Michael life as a crack user, it states ” Michael/ junior varsity/ crack user/ pick up ball” In the first picture Michael does go much farther in life without the use of crack, but look how he got there. The achievements in his life came from sports, reading the summary one can conclude that everything in his life is sport related. This is one type of stereotypical thinking towards black mean that is often used in the advertising. The ad focuses more on Michael physical ability than his intellectual abilities. His went to college because he was an athlete.