Critical Thinking in Advertisements

Psychology of Prejudice in advertisements

Psychology of Prejudice in advertisements

Psychology of Prejudice in advertisements

Social researchers have debated the power and influence of advertisements for quite some time.  Some believe that subliminal messages in advertisements influence people’s behavior while others believe any advertisements effort in general plays a role in persuading the consumer.  In many examples of advertising, generalizations, stereotyping and even prejudice exist

in hopes of influencing consumers’ attitudes and/or behaviors through advertisements

Through TV, movies, commercials, magazine/newspaper advertisements , billboards, radio ads and the Internet, advertisers are constantly competing for your attention and attempting to get your business, yet they also can send prejudicial/stereotypical messages.

Think about some recent advertisements you have seen from any of the above-mentioned media.  Identify examples of ads that targeted different groups and different kinds of attitudes. 

Select two (2) examples of advertisements that could be interpreted as displaying generalizations, stereotyping and/or prejudice and obtain copies of them (videotapes, audio-recordings, printouts, cutouts, copies, etc.)  

For each advertising example, respond to the following:

 What generalizations are made and why?

Is the advertisements “playing into” an attitude or trying to change an attitude? Why do you think so or not?

Is there any example of stereotyping and or prejudice present in these advertisements? Please explain your answer.

Do the advertisements influence the audience to change its thinking, attitude, or behavior in a certain way that might be related to generalizing, stereotyping, and/or prejudice? Please explain your answer.

Do you think this advertisements campaign is successful? Why or why not?

The Paper That was Done

According to AXE Spot (2006), the ad The Axe Effect: Billions of Women clearly falls wayward from the normal expectation of being an advertisement. The ad depicts an aura of sexism through expressing the so-called axe effect, which is an avalanche of beautiful women running towards a single man. Barely does the advertisement cover the real product; instead, it focuses on the so-called benefit that would accrue which is to score more women after applying Axe. While most men might be glad if such a case were to occur, one wonders just how this is presumptuous. It is true that the ad targets young men showing the effect of applying Axe, which is to have more women. However, the ad generalizes women probably portraying them as sex symbols. All the women in the ad have curvaceous bodies and are quite admirable, the ad depicts the aura of beauty contest the real intention has not been achieved.

The axe effect advert is quite stereotypical depicting women to be attracted to the man only because he has applied axe. In the real world this would not exist, the advertisement may have achieved its objective to the young male population of about 15 years. However, the older lot are quite aware the Axe effect would not assure them to score on women. The advertisement is quite prejudiced, in one instance I heard a person confess probably those women really did intend to kill the man. The advertiser needs to recreate this advert to highlight aspects that the product will cover. For example, the advertiser could depict how people respond to the Axe’s scent. This should be in isolation from depicting themes of controversy such as sexism.

The second advert Awesomely Sexist Pepsi Commercial From 1957 portrays women to have only one goal. This is to be married and live happily ever after. The advert targets, the whole family, but depicts largely young adults at their youthful ages just after marriage or at that period. The advert has made several generalizations a major assumption being that after being married one live happily ever after. Such assumptions only exist in fairy tales. Additionally the advert focuses on the life of a woman specifically how they to work hard only to quit working hard after being married. The advertisement slightly covers the main objective that is to highlight the benefits of Pepsi cola. Very little has been done to make Pepsi visible well as it only appears at the end of the advert (Pepsi, 1957).

The prejudice of the advert is to focus on the life of women and view it as a fairy tale. The advert does not depict its main aim and Pepsi appears as a subtopic while in real essence it should appear as a major theme. I believe the advert does not change the attitude of its audience, as it is not quite clearly visible who the audience is. At the beginning, the advert is introduced by a carton probably targeting the children and later on focusing on the life of adults. This appears as one of those adverts that are not successful as they barely focus on the main objective that is to market Pepsi, the content of Pepsi was quite shallowly covered. If I were to redo all this, I would focus on Pepsi and highlight how it help bond the family.

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