Saturday, 10 January 2009

What women want.....

Some interesting research, that's still ongoing, about what women prefer to see in advertising.

It would appear that female audiences do prefer to see models who reflect them in size, age, and background.

The research is being carried out at the University of Cambridge.

Dove, the skin care company, has been the most prominent brand in the UK to acknowledge this fact, well before the research began, running a successful advertising campaign using everyday people to front its campaigns. The image above is taken from one of their advertising series.

You can read the Guardian article all about it here.

What's interesting too is to browse through the comments that follow. Opinion is, naturally enough, divided. There are some who think promoting 'over-sized' models is promoting poor lifestyle choices, while others, both male and female, see the use of a wider range of bodyshapes to be a good move. One or two hold a cynical feminist stance, arguing that to encourage women to feel as if they are taking on an editorial role in marketing, is a cunning ploy to suck audience members into a greater dependency on brand allegiance.

The re-presentation of the human form in the media is a complex topic and one that too easily becomes bogged down in polemical mud-slinging. However, it's the high octane level of debate it causes, and the important issues it raises, that makes it such a rich area for study.


AliCrees said...

Without sounding to much like a girl, there was a program on channel four called 'Miss naked Beauty.' This promoted women to feel comfortable about there body shape and how they look, like the dove advert. This is becoming more and more popular because women want to see the fashion stance as being more realistic not just size 0 supermodels. The presenter of the program tried to make the women love their body's whatever they have and that they are just as beautiful as the models in their own way etc..
The Dove advert working well because the women in the advert appealed to a larger audience so they could relate themselves to the advert therefore buying the product.

Sacha van Straten said...

Indeed. I wonder when we'll see male models who look distinctly average parading their beer bellies on the catwalk!

TesoriTrovati said...

Interesting discussion topic, Sacha. Well on this side of the 'pond' that Dove campaign is a few years old. But I can tell you what my opinion is...I agree with it wholeheartedly. I take offense to the stance that
"promoting 'over-sized' models is promoting poor lifestyle choices"...since when is promoting chain-smoking, drug-imbibing, anorexics a good lifestyle choice? Have you ever watched "America's Next Top Model" or the "Janice Dickerson Agency" *reality* shows (ahem)? What a crock! More importantly to me, I am raising a daughter and I want her to grow up with a rich sense of herself as defined by herself, not beaten down the way I was constantly bombarded by "supermodels" and the thin elite. I want her to be comfortable with the body God gave her, and to embrace her strength and all that it can do. Those who believe that the women in that ad you portrayed are leading poor lives, or rather, unhealthy lives should really wake up. Did you know that the average size of women is 14? Not 2...14. And while there is certainly a case for being health-concious, what makes someone so arrogant to think that a plus-sized woman isn't healthy or doesn't work out, or only sits around eating bon-bons? We don't. And it makes me mad to hear someone implying that. So I applaud Dove for taking a stance against the slaughter of our self-concept. Growing up I can tell you that it was a tenuous thing. And now, I am finally seeing my way clear to loving who I am despite the negative images bombarding me everywhere I turn. I don't see it as a gimmick to inspire brand loyalty to Dove but rather as a revolution to wake us up to reality. And just becuase I believe in the veracity of what they are doing doesn't mean that I buy more of their products, but if I did I would feel very good about it, because they are treating me like a real woman, not an airbrushed, surgically enhanced, paper thin cardboard cutout! Bring on the curves and the hips and the hourglass figures! I count myself lucky that I can see the beauty in that (and more importantly that my husband relishes that as well!)

Sorry. You must have touched a cord in me tonight. Thanks for letting me share.
Enjoy the day!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I think the Dove campaign is great, it's really valuable to help women to feel more confident about the way they look because that has a knock on effect on so many other things.

Charly said...

I think the dove campaign is great, but think rather than a group of women dancing round in there underwear, they should have the women doing stuff like the models do, rather then emphasising their natural women campaign. But I think these adverts can become dangerous, just like the slim adverts have. If we see then, and think it’s the norm, then the world will become even more overweight, there is already an obesity problem in the country and the USA, there are 2.3million Britain’s with type 2 diabetes and 100,000 people were diagnosed with having it in 2006/07, and 750,000 people believed to be suffering unknowingly! It’s so dangerous! And terribly worrying!

Also I think I am affected by the models. If there is a pretty, slim person on an ad, I think ‘I want to be like that’ and want to buy the product. An example is the Neutrogena Wave advert with Vanessa Hudgen in it. That girl has never had a spot in her life, but her flawless skin makes me want one.
Although many adverts do have normal people on then who are normal weights and nothing special, men and women e.g. mouthwash adverts, face scrub adverts, Asda. Sainsbury’s has a family they use every advert with the mum who works in the shop! So dove aren’t the first people to use normal models! I would say that it is only really the designer brands that use skinny flawless models.

I don’t think it helps that clothe sizing vary in every shop, I have a pair of jeans and skirts which are size 10 + 12, and tops which are from size 8 to14. The smaller sizes gives a boast and make me feel better, not because models are telling me to be skinny, but because I want to be slim as a person. But at the end of the day, its not the size which count, its whether it fits well and looks nice!

I think people of all sizes should be used on adverts and not have their shapes emphasised but just accepted. No one should have a fuss made over the size of their body, because what ever person they use, it will appeal to a wide audience.