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(Last Updated On: 5th January 2023)



1.0       Introduction

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.

1.2       Problem Statement

One of the most debating issues in this 21st century is gender equally and the advocacy of this ideology uses all media to change the status quo. Adverts and films are extensively used to promote gender equality and stereotyping because of the way the advertisers depict and portray masculinity and feminity in the society.  

Gender portrayals in advertising have been examined extensively in the last five decades and still remain an important topic. Changing role structure in the family and in the labour force including politics and education have brought significant variation in both male and female roles and subsequently how it is reflected in advertising (Stacy & Yorgos, 2016).

Erin (2019) find out that gender stereotypes in adverts can contribute to inequality in society, with costs for the society. He adds that some portrayals in advertise can over time play a part in limiting people’s potential. According to data from Kantar (2015) cited in Erin (2019) indicated that two-thirds of women skip ads if they feel they negatively stereotype females. The data also show men are 38% more likely to be featured prominently than women in advertising. And when both genders appear, men feature more frequently than women in a leading role (21% versus 15%).

Though, lots of studies have been conducted on sex appeals in advert, women in advertisement, body teen image in advertising, gender stereotype in film (Doghudje and Elegbe, 2014), Folounso (2016), Heather (2019), Adewoye, Odesanya, Abubakar and Olorode (2014) But little or no study has been specifically conducted on gender stereotyping in advertisement and even where it exists they were not conducted in Nigeria (Ibrahim, 2017) and specifically on Dove Go Fresh Moisturizing. Using women or female in public particularly in advertisement is against some culture and religion especially among Muslim and such advertisement don’t often do down well with them (Ibrahim, 2017). The study equally observed that men are stereotyped from the beauty world and considered that only women desire to appear good and this is evidence in Dove Cream.  To this end, the study examines the influence of gender stereotyping on consumers patronage of Dove Go Fresh Moisturizing Cream advertisement especially among the students of University of Nigeria, Nnsuka.

1.3       Research Objectives

The objectives of the study are:

  1. To examine the extent whether Dove Cream stereotype in its advertisement and other promotional campaigns.
  2. To ascertain the extent which gender stereotype in Dove Go Fresh Moisturizing Cream advertisement influenced the gender patronage of the brand among UNN students.

1.4       Research Questions

  1. What is the extent which Dove Cream stereotype in its advertisement and other promotional campaigns?
  2. To what extent has gender stereotype in Dove Go Fresh Moisturizing Cream advertisement influenced the gender patronage of the brand among UNN students?

1.5       Significance of the Study

The research of this nature has micro and macro beneficiaries especially in this era of rising in gender equality. Different companies will find this research very interesting as it will keep them aware on the level of effect that their activities have on gender and consumers consumptions especially on image body and general appearance of teen and women.

This study will also challenge advertisers to conduct research on the attitude of consumers to gender stereotyping in advert especially in religion and cultural values communities.

The advertisers and advertising agencies will see the need to develop new strategies to convey their advert messages to the target audience without necessarily stereotyping and other forms of bias. Government through its regulating agencies such as APCON, BON, NBC and others should common up with policies and regulations just like they are currently doing in the West and Europe to banish stereotyping adverts because of its inherent implications in the society. It forms part of academic materials that students, lecturers, researchers, company can turn to when looking for material on gender in advert, gender stereotyping and other gender related issues.

1.6       Scope of the Study

The study which investigates the influence of gender stereotyping on consumers patronage of Dove Go Fresh Moisturizing Cream advertisement shall be narrowed in scope to the undergraduate students of the University of Nigeria Nnsuka due to their proximity to the researcher and because the University community has urge numbers of female students who can be the respondents for this study. Another rationale for selecting UNN undergraduate is that it will be difficult to study all consumers of Dove Cream.

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

Influence: This refers to the impact or contributions that advert have on consumers’ patronage of Dove Go Fresh Cream among undergraduates of the University of Nigeria Nnsuka. 

Gender Stereotyping: It is the use of a particular gender to convey advert message in order to point that the advert is targeting a specify social category such as using female to point to Dove Go Fresh Moisturizing Cream. 

Consumers Patronage: This refers to the desire of consumers especially University of Nigeria students to use or introducing the Dove Go Fresh Moisturizing Cream. 

Dove Go Fresh Moisturizing Cream: This is one of the Dove advert designed to promote Dove Go Fresh Moisturizing Cream with women and young ladies as target with the impression to go fresh and beautify using the cream.  

Advertisement: This is any form of persuasive communication about Dove Go Fresh Moisturizing Cream purposely to influence and persuading consumers in order to sell or recommend to friends and family.


WHAT TO EXPECT: (Format: MS WORD, Chapter 1-5, Abstract, Table of Contents, Questionnaire and References)

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