AUDIENCE PERCEPTION OF FEMALE MODEL IN ADVERTISING MESSAGE WITH REFERENCE TO LUX SOAP TELEVISION ADVERTISEMENT

ABSTRACT

This study examined Audience Perception of Female Model in Advertising Message With Reference To Lux Soap Television Advertisement as a case study. Three research questions were proposed to guide the study and they are: What is the effect of the use of female model on television advertisement? How do audiences perceive the use of female model in Lux Soap? What is the extent to which female model can influence consumer to make buying decision? The Survey research design was adopted for the study, with the use of 16 item questionnaire distributed to 150 respondents in Warri metropolis. Data was drawn through random sampling technique of non-probability. Data generated were presented with frequency tables and analyzed with the aid of simple percentages.  The study found as follows;

  • the effect of the use of female model on television advertisement is attract customers or potential customer
  • effect of the use women/females in advertisements  is to influence consumers to buy the product been advertised the effect of the use of female model on television advertisement is increase in the sale and promotion of a brand or product
  • that audience perceive the use of female model in LUX Soap television advertisement as sex idol
  • that female models in advertisement influences consumers to the extent of influencing customers’ patronage of the product being advertised
  • the respondent like the female model used in the advertisement of LUX soap

Based on the findings of the study the researcher recommended that; Advertisers should de-emphasize heavy use of attractive models. This is to avoid distracting the attention of prospects from the product. Emphasis should be on moderate and naturally looking models. Attractive female models should be sparingly used in advertisement that features masculine products. This is to ensure that the attention of the target consumers will be on the product, not on the model. There is great need for improvement in quality of advertising copy to change the present trend of making the models much more conspicuous than the product advertised. The copy should be such that the advertised product should be very bold and better imbued graphically than the models. The use of other types of endorsement should be explored by advertising agencies rather than constant use of beautiful and attractive models. Finally. Constant research should be carried out to keep up with changes in consumer needs. With new emphasis on what consumers want from the product, effective marketing and product promotion, a turnaround can be expected.

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1             Background to the Study

Media and advertising in the 21st century are unavoidable to consumers. Many research studies (Mullen, and Johnson, 1990; Bauer, and Greyser, 1968; Mehta, 2000; Hawkins et al, 2001 etc.), have examined the profound effects of advertising and its influence on shifting attitudes, evoking emotions, and modifying lifestyle choices , and playing significant role in the consumption of goods and services, (Horne, 2006).

Over the years advertising has evolved into a powerful marketing tool that any business organization who want to succeed in their line of business must recon with. According to American Marketing Association, (1985) marketing is defined as: “The process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.” Advertising is one of the “promotional tools” used in marketing endeavors, as one means of communication between the seller (advertiser) and the buyer (consumer or organization). Hence advertising is defined as: “Any paid form of non-personal presentation of goods, services, or ideas by an identified sponsor (advertiser).” (Berkowitz et al., 1991).

This definition separates advertising from other forms of promotion, namely publicity and personal selling. Advertising is “paid” for, as opposed to publicity, which is “free”. Advertising is also “non-personal” implying no “personal selling” and is created for communication with a mass population. Advertisers play on several different tactics to get people interested in their products, the humor, self-esteem, peer pressure and many other things, but one tactic that is most popular and the most effective is using sex in advertising depending on the type of product, because it plays upon the biological needs of every single human being (Gallagher, 2016),.

No matter what the product may be, ranging from shampoo to beer, get a beautiful person in there, the audience will be tricked into thinking that may be they can be/have that beautiful person. The use of women and how they are posed is actually a very precise art, starting with human biology. For instance, in most feature and health magazines there is a gorgeous model staring at you with that ever so seductive appearance. Graphic artists have become the beneficiaries of this technological age: splicing and stretching, they can turn any woman into a ‘goddess’. Baudrillard (2004) correctly perceives that “advertising assumes the role of the female.” He argues that “consumers think they know what they want; advertisers offer that which they desire.”

The benefits of using physically attractive models in marketing communications is not limited simply to generating more attention and interest in the advertisements, but also can provide other advantages such as the continues usage of the product being advertised. Research has revealed an overall ‘beauty is good’ stereotype (Eagly et al., 1991), in which attractive female models are subconsciously associated with other, unrelated, traits, such as possessing a higher degree of social competence. Advertising effectiveness is also positively affected by the attractiveness of the models used (Halliwell and Dittmar, 2004). When the attractiveness of the model is manipulated, there is a significant difference in effectiveness, independently of whether or not the model is of an average or thin body size. In order that viewers like an ad and are pushed to make a purchase, it is essential to craft advertising messages such that they elicit the desired response. In doing so, when women are portrayed in ads, it becomes important the type of portrayal preferred by the viewers.

The media seems to give more equality to female images and female models are increasingly shown in advertisements to sell products that may/ may not be directly related to them (Kang, 2002). The media is generally charged with depicting women as “sex objects” that can grab attention and interest of viewers. The underlying messages emphasize sexuality, often presenting women as sex objects (Katharina, 2004). Sex is another emotion that has been successfully employed by advertisers in promoting jeans, perfumes, alcohol, watches, personal products and cars (Chatterji, 2006). Many psychologists believe that the skilled manipulation of sexual appeals in visual images, in copy or in both, may arouse subconscious desires that manifest themselves in the, purchase of the product or service. In other instances, such advertising proves to be damaging or simply ineffective but is still used because there are few appeals in advertising that equal its attention-getting value. However, sex appeals are interpreted differently from person to person, time to time, region to region, country to country and society to society. Even the same person reacts to them differently at different stages of his life-cycle. Therefore, the advertiser must be sure that the product, the advertisement, the target, audience and the use of sexual themes and elements all match up to make the appeal effective.

The source defines a promotional model as a model hired to drive consumer demand for a product, service, brand or concept by directly interacting with potential customers. The most important characteristic of the vast majority of promotional models is that typically they tend to be attractive in physical appearance. Their major function is provision of information about the product or service and make it appealing to customers (Wikipedia).

Ad news (2006) reported that “advertising succeeds in bringing people to compare themselves and their situations with what is being presented on the advertisement”. The studies (Altstiel and Grow, 2006; Wallace, 2003) reveals that physical attractiveness of models has tremendous effect on how men and women see, evaluate and purchase certain products. This therefore asks the question how do consumers see or perceive the use of female models in delta soap advertisement?

Perception by way of definition is an act of being aware of “one’s‟ environment through physical sensation, which denotes an individual’s ability to understand”. However, many social psychologists have tended to develop the concept around one of its most essential characteristics that the world around us is not psychologically uniform to all individuals. This is the fact, in all probability, that accounts for the difference in the opinions and actions of individuals/groups that are exposed to the same social phenomenon (Durojaye, Hammed, and Godwin, 2009).

In respect to this, Asemah cited in GistArea (2013) sees audience perception as the views, expressions and feelings held by the general members of the society about issues, events, happenings and occurrences in the society and in this sense, delta soap advertisement.

APCON GUIDELINES ON ETHICAL ADVERTISING

APCON maintains a strong focus on its vision of promoting responsible and ethical advertising practice, acts as the conscience of society in matters of commercial communications and as a watchdog for consumers.

The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) was created with the promulgation of Decree No. 55 of 1988. The responsibilities of APCON are summed up in “To control and regulate advertising in all its aspects and ramification”. To carry this out, APCON requires a measure of authority. The Council later gave to itself the Code of Advertising Practice to provide guidelines of the expected manner of approach to the handling of advertisers’ products. These two items constitute the main tools with which APCON is performing its statutory functions. According to APCON (2015) code of conduct;

  • All advertisements shall be legal, decent, honest, truthful, respectful and mindful of Nigeria’s culture.
  • They should be prepared with a high sense of social responsibility and should avoid misinformation.
  • All advertisements should confirm to the principles of fair competition generally accepted in business, and of fair comments expected in free human communication.
  • The aim is to enhance public confidence in advertising and should always be in the interest of the consumer and wider society.

 

 

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Advertising is a vital marketing tool that enables an organization to communicate directly with the consumer. Therefore, ads are made with the intent to seek viewer attention and response. In order that viewers like an ad and are pushed to make a purchase, it is essential to craft advertising messages in such a way that they it will elicit the desired response. This has given birth to the use of female model in advertising. When women are portrayed in ads, consumers are seduced and attracted to information on the advisement and consequently make purschaing decision.

It is important therefore to explore what extent these effects alter people’s attitudes towards the products and brands they see advertised. Where the female models in advertisements create a positive reaction and consumer self-esteem is increased, then higher purchasing intentions of the product and brand are generated.  However, some scholars Smeesters, Mussweiler, and Mandel are of the view that the continual use of very female models by advertising agencies leads to multiple negative effects on the consumer’s self-esteem, which in turn hurts the brands because of the negative perceptions it fosters (Smeesters, Mussweiler, and Mandel, 2010). It is against this background that this study tends to examine audience perception of female model in advertising message with reference to LUX Soap television advertisement.

 

Objectives of the Study

The purpose of carrying out this study are as follows;

  1. To examine the effect of the use of female model on television advertisement
  2. To know audience perception of the use of female model in LUX Soap television advertisement
  3. To know the extent to which female models in advertisement can influence consumers to make buying decisions

Research Questions

The purpose of carrying out this study are as follows;

  1. What is the effect of the use of female model on television advertisement?
  2. How do audience perceived the use of female model in LUX Soap television advertisement?
  3. What is the extent to which female models in advertisement can influence consumers to make buying decisions?

 

1.5       Significance of the Study

The findings from this research will be beneficial to both advertisers and manufacturers/companies incl;uding those in the advertising profession, by enabling them to know how the use the feminine gender is perceived by audience.

Similarly, findings from the study will help provide feedback, a framework which business organization will use to measure the effectiveness of their   product advertisement. It will also give them a better understanding and knowledge of advertising activities as a necessary tool for product sales product promotion.

It is hope that the finding from this study will drew the attention of copy designers to appreciate the need to take audience and cultural sensitivity into consideration in the design of advert copy so as not to deprave the mind of the people under the guises of advertising.

Finally, this research will provide indepth knowledge to researchers and readers.

1.6       Scope of the Study

Conceptually, the scope of the study is limited to the audience perception of female model in advertising messages with reference LUX Soap ad.

LUX is a global brand developed by Unilever. The range of products includes beauty soaps, shower gels, bath additives, hair shampoos and conditioners. Lux started as "Sunlight Flakes" laundry soap in 1899. In 1925, it became the first mass-market toilet soap in the world. It is noted as a brand that pioneered female celebrity endorsements.

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