Stereotypes in Marketing
The definition of stereotyping is judging a person by the things they like and the things they believe. It is also definable as making assumptions about a group of people using information that cannot be verified as valid or invalid and concluding that all people of the same kind behave the same way. It is an assumption made before meeting or interacting with the group (Totten et al. 77). People of that kind are assumed to possess the same behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. However, marketing companies can use stereotyping to gain more customers and expand client companies by increasing sales numbers. There are different kinds of stereotyping in the marketing sector.
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Companies mainly use stereotypes in advertisements (Totten et al. 77). Advertisers play a significant role in manipulating how people view society. They can control the opinions of a particular group and manipulate everyone to follow and believe their views. These perspectives impact the community as everyone tends to follow and adapt to these advertisers. It leads to many people shifting their cultures and accepting what they hear. The biggest stereotypes are from advertisements regarding gender, as most people classify themselves as male or female. Advertisers leverage what particular genders are supposed to like according to societal standards to sell products (Antoniou and Akrivos 101).
The idea that women must be beautiful to attract men is also a common societal perception promoted in advertisements. Advertisers make people believe that men must look good to attract women and also women have to look beautiful to attract men, then introduce products that would increase the chance of that happening (Antoniou and Akrivos 105). When they present the product to the market, they convince most people it will make them attractive to the opposite gender. In turn, advertisers have managed to win customers, and they are happy as they can sell more products.
This form of marketing has evolved recently. For instance, in ads, we see men with well-defined muscles, while women have soft skin with slim and slender faces. This aesthetic choice will convince the customers that they must purchase the product to look like the ads. Hence, men are expressed as heroes with an excellent physique, while women are represented as perfect in their beauty, with long hair and clear skin.
Advertisers portray children as happy, cute, and sweet in advertisements. This portrayal appeals to the parents of these children, who are mainly their decision-makers. Advertisers target services and products at parents and not the children. For instance, a diaper that changes color when wet will help the parents know when to change their child’s diaper. The child in the advertisement has a big smile, demonstrating satisfaction. Unfortunately, advertisers also use race as a stereotype in ads (Maher et al. 90). Although the advertisers target a particular demographic, they are using more multi-racial advertisements. Companies that try using race in advertisements find themselves in a much bigger conversation that will eventually make their products fail in the market.
In conclusion, stereotypes should not define who a person is or how a specific group of people behaves. The movement to end gender inequality is strong, and nothing should try to interfere with it. The media and the public condemn racially motivated advertisements. Companies target different types of people, for example, children. Sometimes it is a positive stereotyping as no one gets discriminated against or diminished. The contents of an advertisement should be unbiased.
Antoniou, Alexandros, and Dimitris Akrivos. “Gender Portrayals in Advertising: Stereotypes, Inclusive Marketing and Regulation.” Journal of Media Law, vol. 12, no. 1, 2020, pp. 78–115. CrossRef, doi:10.1080/17577632.2020.1783125.
Maher, Jill K., et al. “Racial Stereotypes in Children’s Television Commercials.” Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 48, no. 1, 2008, pp. 80–93. JSTOR, doi:10.2501/s0021849908080100.
Totten, Jeff W., et al. “Attitudes toward and Stereotypes of Persons with Body Art: Implications for Marketing Management.” Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, vol. 13, no. 2, 2009, pp. 77–96.
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