CONSUMERS PERCEPTION OF FEMALE MODELS IN THE ADVERTISING OF LUX SOAP

Abstract: The study investigated consumers perception of female models in the advertising of lux soap among working females in Eti-Osa Local Government. The study noted that the model remains one of the many strategies employed by advertisers or brand managers to build, promote and sustain a brand or the company at large. The study was anchored on Perception Theory and Mental Model. A survey research method alongside a questionnaire was adopted to elicit data from the respondents who are working females in Eti-Osa Local Government. The data collected were analysed and interpreted using tables coupled with a simple frequency and percentage method of statistics. The findings show that majority of the respondents prefer Septol, Delta soap and Lux soap more than any soap and they prefer this product due to their ingredients and suitability to skin. Also, just 11.7% used lux soap in more than once in a month, substantial number of the respondents (34.2%) noted that the female model has made them continually purchase a product to a high extent. The study recommended that seductive models should be used with caution because some cultures and religions negate their use while the body saddled with the responsibility to control and see to what and how the advertising business operates (APCON) should be thorough in the discharge of their duties.  


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the  Study

            The media and advertising campaigns are unavoidable by consumers in the 21st century. Researchers (Mullen and Johnson,1990; Bauer and Greyser, 1968 etc.) have studied and will continue to study the effects of advertising and its influence of change in attitudes, emotions, modification of lifestyle choices and its significant role in the consumption of goods and services (Horne, 2006).

            Advertising, over the years has evolved into a powerful marketing tools in modern economics; advertising plays an important role in the growth of a business in its line of expertise. The American Marketing Association, (1985) defined marketing 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 many “promotional tools” used in carrying out marketing, as a means of communication, advertising messages is usually from the seller (advertiser) to the buyer (consumer or an organization). Hence Berkowitz et al., 1991, defines advertising as: “Any paid form of non-personal presentation of goods, services or ideas by an identified sponsor (advertiser).”

            The above definition separates advertising as a form of promotion from other forms of promotion. Advertising is “paid” for, “advertising is non-personal” and is created for communicating with a large audience. Advertisement content creators use different tactics to get the audience interested in the product- fear, music, scarcity, humor and many other appeals but out of the many appeals the one that is most commonly used and most effective is sex appeal in advertising depending on the category of product, because it plays upon the biological needs of every single human being (Gallagher, 2016).

            Not minding what the product maybe, ranging from clothes to makeup, once a beautiful person is in fellow women will be tricked into believing that they can be/ look like that beautiful person when they use that product. The use of women and how these women are posed is a precise art, starting with the human biology. For instance, in most magazines, whether it be health or feature, there is always a gorgeous model staring at you with that seductive appearance. Graphic artists have ultimately become beneficiaries of this technological era.

            Graphic artists through splicing and stretching can turn any woman into a ‘goddess’. He further argues that “consumers think they know what they want; advertisers offer that which they desire.”

            There are numerous benefits of using physically attractive models in marketing efforts and these benefits are simply not limited to generation of attention and interest in the advertisements, but can also ensure continuous usage of the product being advertised. Research by Eagly et al., 1991 revealed an overall ‘beauty is good’ stereotype in which attractive female models are unknowingly associated with other unrelated traits, such as possessing a higher degree of social competence.

            Halliwell and Dittmar, 2004 that the effectiveness of an advertisement is positively affected by the attractiveness of the models used. Once this attractiveness is manipulated, there is a significant difference in the advertisements effectiveness and this change is not affected by the body size of the models. In ensuring that the viewers like an advertisement, it is important to craft an advertising message that elicit the desired response. In doing so, when women are portrayed in advertisement, it becomes important the type of portrayal preferred by other women (the viewers).

            Wilson, cited in Asemah (2010) argued that advertising is controversial in nature and that people in the twentieth century clamoured for the regulation of advertising because they believed it was exaggerated and untruthful. The United Nations conference on women recognised the mass medias influence on the image of women/ female models. Ingham (n.d) describes the television as a widely known tool that is used to represent and reinforce the main stream ideology of contemporary western culture, particularly.

            Ad news (2006) reported that advertising succeeds in bringing people to compare themselves and their situations with what is being presented on the advertisement.” For a woman, that means having beauty, elegance, passivity, ‘the perfect body’ and good domestic ability. Advertisers do not want to present women to other women as liberated.

            LUX is a global brand under the Unilever group of companies. The range of LUX products include conditioners, beauty soaps, hair shampoos, shower gels and bath additives. LUX when first introduced was called “Sunlight Flakes” laundry soap in 1899. By 1925, LUX had become the first mass market toilet soap in the world. It is notably one of the first brands to pioneer female celebrity endorsements.

1.2            Statement of the Problem

            Advertisements are made with the viewers in mind. The main aim of an advertisement is to attract the attention of the viewer and elicit some form of response which could be liking of the advertisement or the ultimate purchase of the product. In eliciting a response, it birth the use of women as models in advertising. When women appear in advertisement, they are often portrayed sex objects. Women are often given limited roles because of the perception of their inability to be independent, women are portrayed to be more feminine when compared to their male counterparts. The male models are seen as calm and perfect.

            It is therefore important to explore what extent these effects alter other women’s attitude towards the products and brands they see advertised. When the female models create a positive reaction among other women and the consumer’s self-esteem is increased, then higher purchasing intentions of the product and brand are generated.

            Scholars like Smeesters, Mussweiler and Mandel (2010) are of the view that the continual and excessive use of female models in advertisements by advertising agencies leads to multiple negative effects on the consumer’s self-esteem, which in turn could hurt the brand because of the negative perception it has acquired.  It is against this background that this study tends to examine the perception of female models by working females in Eti-Osa local government area in reference to LUX Soap television advertisement.

1.3    Research Objectives

The objectives of this research are as follows:

  1. To examine the effect of the use of female models in television advertisement on working females
  2. To find out working female’s perception of the use of female models in LUX Soap television advertisement
  3. To determine the extent to which female models in advertisement influence working females buying decisions.

1.4   Research Questions

  1. What is the effect of the use of female models in television advertisement on working females?
  2. How do working females perceive the use of female models in LUX Soap television advertisement?
  3. What is the extent to which female models in advertisement influence working females buying decisions?

1.5   Significance of the Study

            The results from this research will be of benefit to both advertisers and manufacturers/companies including those that practice advertising as professionals by enabling them to know how the female gender is perceived by other female especially working-class females.

            This research will also help companies make sense out the feedback they receive. It can also be used as a framework for business organizations to measure the effectiveness of their product advertisement and give them a better knowledge of advertising as an effective tool for product sale promotion.

            It is also my hope, through this research findings, that the copy designers will appreciate the need to take the audience and their cultural sensitivity into consideration in the designing of advertisement. So as not to get on the sensitive side of people under the guises of advertising.

Lastly, I hope that this research brings in-depth knowledge to all those who read and use it as a means of research.

1.6       Scope of the Study

The study which investigated the perception of female models in LUX Soap television advertisement was narrowed in scope to the working females in Eti-Osa local government area. Thus, the geographical scope of this study shall within Lagos state. The choice working females in Eti-Osa local government  in Lagos state was due to the proximity to the researcher, inadequate time to study all Lagosians among other logistics.

1.7   Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms where used is defined as follows:

Perception: It is the way a person understands or interprets the true nature of something

Female models: a lady who is used is to promote or display commercial products.

Working females: A lady who is gainfully employed or skilled in a paying job

Advertisement:  a notice, picture, or video aimed at informing people about a product or service.

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