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PROJECT III

SOCIAL CHANGE IN AUTOMOBILE


ADVERTISEMENT
AND SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
A Project Submitted to:
Prof. Gladys Florangel I. Ortiz
In Compliance with the Requirement for
GM 201
Introduction to Social Change
And Admin Process

Submitted by:
Amelia C. Bibera
MSERM
October 18, 2015

SOCIAL CHANGE IN AUTOMOBILE


ADVERTISEMENT AND
AND SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
Introduction
Take a browse over a magazine and more often than not, you will see a brand
new, shiny car with a beautiful, sexy and seductive lady model. Watch a televsion
advertisement about a new car. Words are sometimes not even utilized in the
advertisement. Just a show of how fast and sleek the new car is and the sultry siren
in the background. Why do advertisements use women as models for car? Are
women used as a sexual object to titillate the sexual drive of men? What is the
correlation of automobiles with women? How are these two different things linked?
Has this always been the trend or type of advertisement for cars? Are the advertisers
saying that cars are for women only? Or are there sexual innuendoes that cars and
women are created for mans pleasure.

History of Car Advertisements


Advertisements in 1940s- A Focus on Patriotism
During the early 1940s, in the midst of Word War II, and continuing during the
Cold War years of 1950s, the advertisements of cars were filled with patriotic themes
and optimism. Thus, most if not all car advertisements
would portray the flag or soldiers, paritcularly how they
encouraged participation in the war effort, tips for saving
and re-using ordinary objects, buying war bonds and
volunteering.
As a concerted effort to show support for the troops most
of the advertisements then show tinges of patriotism.
Figure 1. Car Advertisement in 1940s

Advertisement in the 1950s A Focus On Family

The advertisements for automobiles in the


1950s were all about the cars features and functions
as well as its durability and dependabilty. The car was
the selling point, not the experience.The competition
for car selling then was more of its functions and other
amenities in the car being sold. Not much symbolism
about patriotism appeared in the advertisements, be it
in television or print media. During that time people

Figure 2. Car
Advertisement Focus is
the
Performance of the Car

were trying to move on from the ravages and trauma of war, hence, as much as
possible war, patriotism and any of its symbolisms were not placed in the
advertisements. In a modern age where car advertisements focused on selling an
experience, the 50s ads seem long winded due to the fact they are nothing but an
announcer describing the car.

The 1950s meant peace and the end of Wordl War II, so the parts needed to
build a car were no longer scarce. This was the era of a new car boom where
everybody loved the idea of just being able to drive and the freedom that
accompanies it. The advertising focused on the car itself, on what it is capable of
because that was what the consumer was looking for. The advertisers pursued the
public by trying to attract their rational desires.

The advertisements wanted to reach diverse people in great number as much


as possible, so they focussed on the family or a happy couple. The whole concept

during that time was to match the idea of car ownership with the idea of suburban
family.

However towards the end of the 50s until th 70s and 80s, women have become the
models of car advertisements.

Figure 3. Car Advertisement In the Late 50s


Focused on Family

Figure 4. 1950 Car Advertisement With Woman as


Advertisement with Woman as Model
Model

Figure 5. 1960 Car

Figure 6.1980 Car Advertisement with Woman as Model


Advertisement with Woman as Model

Figure 7. 1970 Car

This change of strategy on how to advertise cars spread to all the


manufacturers, thus, one seldom sees a car witthout a woman beside it. What is the
link between the car and women?

The Link Between a Woman and a Car In an Advertisment


Why the sudden shift in car advertisement by adding a sexy woman? Is this
linked to a change in sexual behavior of the people? The trend to advertise cool cars
and hot ladies is a common marketing strategy 1 especially in auto shows. The
marketers do not allow their new line of cars sitting alone, looking unwanted. So,
they have a foxy lady directing the attention of customer to the car, and insinuating to
the male customers that the car is a geniune chick magnet.

Draping a model

seductively over the product on sale has beena ploy loved by advertisers. The
advertisers are trying to insinuate that if you buy the car, the possibility of attracting a
sexy lady is high.
For the adverstisers and automobile companies, since it was usually the man who
paid for the car, they would readily give an added bonus to the man by putting a sexy
1 http://www.retrospace.org/2011/09/vintage-wheels-12-car-show-honeys.html

lady to satisfy the males eyes, hence, some lady models would even be sitting on
top of the hood.
In an article entitled: Sex Does Sell.... and heres why: Attractive Men and
Women In Adverts Affect our Capacity for Rational Thought 2, scientists have
discovered that ads using attractive models make consumers buy on impulse.
Further, they concluded that putting all the facts and figures about the product will
not persuade the costumer to part with his cash. We, as human beings, are less
likely to use the logical parts of our brains when confronted with images of attactive
people, we become impulsive.
Scientists now claim that they have the science to explain why sex sells- not
because consumers think that if they buy the car they can get the girl. Researchers
found out that seeing an attractive man or woman in an advertisement excites the
areas of the brain that make us buy on impulse, bypassing the sections which control
rational thought.

According to the study, there are two types of advertisements: the Logical
Persuasion (LP) simple convincing facts; where data and figure or numbers are
shown and the Non-Rational Influence (NI) feel good, stimulating images.

The study revealed that the LP are less effective in making the consumers
spend or part with their money. It is the NI type of advertisements that make
consumers buy the products. Hence a sexy woman on top of the hood of a car was
found to have a stronger influence on us than, for example, a car ad containing
miles-per-gallon data. The reason for this is because NI bypasses the parts of our
brain that process ideas logically and rationally. The findings support the conjecture

2 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2040218/Sex-DOES-sellAttractive-men-women-ads-affect-capacity-rational-thought.html

that some advertisers wish to seduce, rather than persuade, consumers to buy their
products.3

Another Point of View of the Link Between Women and Car Advertisement
(From a Mans Perspective)

In an article4 written by Paul Suggett, an advertising expert, he wrote that the reason
why women are used in advertisement aimed at men are the following:
1. Men like manly things
2. Men are crass, puerile, arrogant, slobbish, insensitive jackasses
3. Men like women

Cars are manly things (according to the author) and men like women. The
article continued by saying that for some reason, draping a leggy blonde or brunette
over a car makes the appeal of said vehicle go up tenfold. Maybe men think that they
can also have the Playboy bunny if they buy the car.

Another Point of View of the Link Between Women and Car Advertisement
(From a Womans Perspective)

3 Ibid.
4 http://advertising.about.com/od/creatingads/a/6-Ways-Advertising-AttractsMen.htm

Mimi Seldner (Ms Blog, August 21, 22011) pointed at the recent BMW
advertisment saying that the road to car sales is still paved and youll know that the
road to car sales is still paved, just as it has been since its construction, with sexist,
heteronormative, racist and outright offensive advertisements. Unfortunately, this
sentiment is as inaccurate as the assumption that women are inherently bad drivers,
incapable of changing a tire or driving down a straight road without hitting
something.5
In the 1970s, companies and advertising agencies were alerted to the large
consumer base of intelligent, capable, empowered womenand that led to some
feminist advancement in car advertisements. Not only were there nonsexist
advertisements,

but

car

marketed

their

informed,

financially

companies

actually

products to women

as

independent consumers.

Despite this brief-but-

inspiring run of feminist-

friendly car ads, sexist (and

racist and heteronormative)

car ads have remained an


of the present. Thus women
as

shown

in

this

Figure 8. BMW
Advertisement

offensive, ugly, rusty thing


have learned to fight back
advertisment.

Why does the car industry get women so wrong?


Later on the car industry Another study seem by Clotaire Rapaille, a French-born
pyschiatrist-turned-marketer, had a theory that what women wants in car is safety,
hence the first ting they look for in a car is how many cup holders it has. He
associates cup holders with coffee and coffee with with feeling of being safe.

5 http://msmagazine.com/blog/2011/08/29/still-using-the-old-model-for-sexistcar-advertisements/

This simplistic diagnosis of the females brain irritated most women and
according to Libby Copeland6 in her ariticle Baby, You Cant Drive My car. The
advertisers failed to update themselves in the new study that the female drivers have
now outnumbered the male drivers. Further the female drivers are not swayed by
frivolous details but are serious reserachers who tend tend to be less impulsive in
their purchases and less intersted in aesthetics and styling, more rational, like men.

Perhaps the reason another reason for this women in car advertisements is
because men predominate in most automobile companies hence failing to anticipate
the needs of female consumers. Because of this male chauvinism, instead of hiring
women there is this story from Automotive News about, about 10 years ago, GM had
100 of its male employees attempt to get into a full-sized SUV while wearing heels,
fake nails, and plastic bag skirts, and carrying purses and babies. Upon reaching the
drivers seat, one engineer had a revelation that has occurred to virtually every
woman: I thought, Well, shoot, I would want my purse right at arm's reach. He
wound up designing a console to store it.

Conclusion

The social change of the relationship between cars and women have indeed
evolved to a point that women have hated being used as a sex symbol. But because
of studies that show that beauty motivates the men to buy, then the there will always
be women in the car advertisement.

6
http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/03/car_ads_for_women_does_the_in
dustry_get_it_all_wrong.html

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