Women in advertising Essay
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Women’s representation in advertising has changed dramatically through the past century. Women started off being portrayed as elegant and sophisticated very unlike how women are portrayed today as society has evolved since the nineteen twenties. An example of women being elegant and sophisticated is the ‘Lucky Strike’ advert which was used during the nineteen twenties. Women in advertising then evolved as the world was sucked into war calling men away from their jobs and women into the work place. This meant that advertising had to take a new line in who they were targeting.
So instead of targeting the men who were fighting on the front line they had to target the women in the factories doing their bit for the war effort.
The men then came home from winning the war and then went back into the workplace allowing the women to return to their previous occupation of being a housewife. Many women resented this and stayed in their jobs meaning that the advertising firms had to target men and women. The women were revolting against going back to the house and being a housewife cooking and cleaning meant that they became liberated after a fierce struggle. This meant that women started to appear more after the nineteen sixties as women started to earn their own money and that meant they did not have to explain to their husbands what they spent their money on.
As women progressively became more accepted in the work place society started to change in the nineteen eighties and through the nineties, women started to be portrayed as sex objects in more explicit positions and portrayed in a completely different light. Today it is very common to see women as well as men used in advertising and sometimes it is more common to see women rather than men even if it is selling the product to a man. For example Calvin Klein’s advert which is homing in on the mans vulnerability by using a woman as well as a man to advertise a perfume for men.
In the early nineteen twenties Lucky Strike produced an advert portraying the Caucasian women as elegant and she is also portrayed as untouchable. The advert is targeting women as in the early nineteen hundreds the majority of advertising was aimed at men. This meant that cigarette advertising ignored a huge 51% of society. Lucky strike acknowledged this and used the ‘femme fatale’ in their advertising. This is what the women of the time may have wanted to be elegant and untouchable. The advertising campaign was trying to kill two birds with one stone by targeting men as well as women by using the female in the advert, as a method of seduction. The advertising campaign was trying to make the female want to be elegant and upper class like the female in the advert, by smoking ‘lucky strike’ cigarettes.
‘Lucky strike’ tried to portray the cigarette as good for you because the slogan says, “It’s toasted,” which happens to all tobaccos during its drying process. Society however did not know, unlike today, that smoking is bad for you and because there was no evidence that it caused cancer back then, the company could say that it was good for you because nobody could prove that it was bad for you.
Around the end of the war Acme brought out an advertising campaign for its mangles portraying a Caucasian middle class women wanting a new kitchen which she has been dreaming about for the last five years. Her dreams come true when she gets her new Acme mangle and the readers dreams could also come true when they buy an Acme mangle. The advert has a piece of copy, which tells the reader that the woman in the advert has “no more washday terrors” and that the reader could also enjoy “no more washday terrors.” Women were also earning their own money and therefore could actually go out and buy the mangle as they had been liberated due to the war. This meant that if the woman of the house really wanted one then they could actually go out and purchase one if they had the money for it.
Due to the war advertising took a new angle and started to target women as well as men because they were able to purchase items without asking their husband for money, however most probably did not take that advantage or have enough money to pay for something they wanted. During the nineteen seventies advertising using women took off and has not stopped since then and never will as there are always different markets in which have advertising as the heart of their business.
For example Yorkie launched a campaign involving a lorry driver and a stuck up woman in a soft-top convertible, which signifies that she is rich and that she is also a liberated woman. This woman is in the upper class, as she obviously could not afford a car like that unless she was upper class or married to somebody who is. The woman is around twenty-five to forty and most probably has no occupation or she is a film star for example.