1.1       Background to the Study

Advertising is a persuasive non-personal communication about products, services, or ideas usually paid for by identified sponsors through the various mass media. Today, we are exposed to advertisement everywhere, whether in the bus, walking round the street, on the high ways, while travelling, in the newspapers, on the radio, while watching  television, on social media, SMS advert and email advert/marketing. 

            Writing a persuasive, attractive and audience driven advertising copy requires creativity and innovation. In doing that, copy writer employs varieties of tools and techniques that will help in achieving the desired goals through careful selection and positioning of copy elements such as the pictures, colours, fonts among other elements. However, one of the trending visual elements used in today’s advertising copy is the use of gender approach like feminine pictures otherwise called gender appeals especially in promoting fashions and cosmetics products and services (Erin, 2019). Advertising critics have berated excessive use of women or ladies as a persuasive tool because sometimes it amounts to deception, lies and just mere propaganda. It is rare these days to see adverts on either print or broadcast media, even online without women especially in the beauty manufacturing products and services particularly in most soaps, body cream, hair cream such as Dove brands.

            Most of the advertisement that showcase women have them as the user of the product, such as in the Dove, Harpic Toilet Washer, Sunlight Detergent Soap, Always Pad, Body creams and toilet soaps (Delta Soap, Lux Soap, Tura, Joy,  e.t.c.  Although, this trend is changing as more women are used in advertising luxuries such as hotels, cars, motorbikes and so on.

            In order to make some products and services more appealing to men by reinforcing sexist notions, adverts exploit sexuality. Many products are pitched with explicit sexual imagery that borders on pornography. Not only do these ubiquitous images encourage us to think of sex as a commodity, but also they often reinforce stereotypes of women as sex objects and may contribute to violence against women (Mamah, 2009).

            It may be argued that, there is nothing wrong with using women in advertising products. But we do worry when that advertisement involves demonstrating her sexuality and using it in such a way as to untangle men, to keep their attention but (Mamah, 2009) opines that ‘people might end up buying sex, instead of the commodity being advertised’.

            Nowadays, the impact of women in advertisements has generated a lot of controversy in many parts of the world. Some argue that women are used as followers in the advertisements. They see women as ornaments that are used to beautify the advertisement. They further went to say that women garnish the advertisements and make the adverts appealing to the eyes (Stephen, Adel and Nancy, 2016). Perhaps, this accounts for why must advert agencies see or feel the impact of women in advertisements as a powerful polarized force of feminine attraction over masculine, a phenomenon well cherished for quick awareness of advert and sale of product (Stephen, et. a.l., 2016). Also, product adverts like Dove Fresh Moisturizing Cream, Delta soap, Joy soap and so on, call to mind what effects womanish roles on advertisements can play on the audience.

            To Africa and Nigerian especially the northern society, women should remain in their traditional role and remain in their background, unseen and unheard. The African society perceives exposure of women as a most unwelcome thing. In certain parts of African tradition society exposing of a female’s body termed a taboo, just like the Muslim community forbid women from exposing themselves to certain practices which they term evil and ungodly.

            Individuals holds numerous beliefs about what constitutes masculinity and feminity, these beliefs shape their perceptions of who is likely to perform certain behaviours and what behaviours are appropriate at work, school and congregations. Such beliefs and perception constitute gender stereotypes, which are the images of males and females. Gender stereotypes, influence people’s expectations and evaluations of what is appropriate for them as well as for others. Stereotypes can limit the types of careers that people select and can facilitate or inhibit the perceptions of an individual’s effectiveness.

            Finello (2014) writes that gender stereotypes can limit the development of a human personality and can lead to social inequality. Indeed, the effects of gender stereotypes and gender inequality can easily be observed in all spheres of life. For instance, studies have shown that there are gender differences in communication styles (Katz, 2013).

Unilever Nigeria Plc is the manufacturer of Dove cream and other products. Dove Go Fresh Pear & Aloe Vera Body Wash offers refreshing scent and moisturizing formula. Some are made of Aloevera while others are made of Cucumber and so on. It also revitalising dry skin care, nourishment, fragrances. Dove doesn’t dry skin like soap can moisturising cream and mild cleansers help protect skin’s moisture, it leaves skin softer, smoother and healthier-looking (Unilever, 2019). Dove Go Fresh Moisturizing Cream advertisement is essentially designed to promote beauty and freshness among women and young girls with bias for men. All celebrities, models and images used in the media and advertisement.

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