Running Head: PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS

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To examine how consumers react to print advertisements on second hand cars that have been labeled as offensive

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........ 9 Measurements of constructs .................................................... 3 Design/methodology/approach ........ 12 ..... 4 Ethics in Advertising................................................................................................................................................................................................ 6 The Alleged Offensiveness of Advertising ............................................................................................................... 9 Participants ................. 10 Research Findings and Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 4 Problem Statement .................. 7 Research methodology ...... 3 Findings ......................... 6 The Dale Wurfel Second-hand Cars Advertisement ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 4 Scope ................................PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS Table of Contents 2 Executive Summary .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 3 Purpose ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5 History of Offensive Advertising........................................................................................................ 11 Recommendations ......................................................................................................................... 9 Method of analysis and results of the survey ................ 3 Introduction ........................................................

as expected. older respondents were less accepting of offensive advertising. Design/methodology/approach A survey of 25 respondents aged 17 to 58 from Strathoy. Ontario where the used Dale Wurfel dealership is located. Findings Findings on perceptions of the offensive advertisements among the respondents were mixed. The survey also found that advertising perceptions had a significant impact on consumers’ intentions to reject the products and the brands. However.PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS Executive Summary Purpose To examine how consumers react to print advertisements on second hand cars that have been labeled as offensive. I also compare the dimensions of consumer perceptions for different 3 respondents and how consumer perceptions are related with intentions to reject the products and the brands because of the ads. they were also more likely than younger respondents to find the advertisements convincing and informative. Results showed that old respondents and young respondents had different dimensions of advertising perceptions. A questionnaire with two ads containing sexism and other themes was constructed. Data were collected through the neighborhood. The two print advertisements that received the most negative perceptions both contained sexually-oriented body images. Overall. as they liked the advertisements less than younger respondents. .

PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS 4 Introduction Various companies have been using different ways of promoting their products and increasing sales. But the research was conducted on the used cars advert. This will enable them to fulfill the business objectives i. Problem Statement This research was motivated to take an in-depth look at the adverts that have been regarded as offensive and how it affects the society. Advertising is a public promotion of some product or service with the aim of drawing attention and in the process.e. persuade potential consumers to buy the product or service. Some adverts are educative and very informative but others are offensive and tend to be racist. there needs to be a way to monitor and give views on what these firms present to the society. which features a blonde woman posing . One way of creating this product mix is advertising. The supporters argue that the world needs controversial adverts because they are usually more creative and therefore easy to remember. profit maximization and maximization of shareholders wealth. Scope This research will only focus on the offensive ads in the media that have elicited controversy. degrading to women or just insulting. Offensive advertisement has been supported by some while others have elicited a lot of controversy. With firms increasingly using advertising as a way of boosting sales.

The report ends with conclusions and recommendations. lack of trust. to the advertising decision making and behavior. bad publicity. customers develop more positive attitudes about the firm. The data collected will be analyzed and findings presented. The report will be aimed at establishing views on the morality and sense of such advertisement being aired and printed on papers. when a company behaves ethically. violation of ethics often lead to pressure for institutions to assume responsible for their actions. the market process becomes less efficient. lost business and even legal action. shape the decisions people or organizations make. As our economic systems have become successful and providing for needs and wants. Secondly. The rest of the report explains the history of offensive advertising and issues raised. a business is expected to act in its own interest. consumer interest groups and self-regulatory groups exert a great influence on advertising. 5 Ethics in Advertising As a collection of principles of right conduct. . through good advertisements. ethics. This has come about because of two reasons. It is due to this that professional associations. When these ethical practices depart from the acceptable standards.PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS seductively. its products and its services. Practicing ethics in advertising means deliberately applying standards of fairness and moral rights or wrong. Airing offensive adverts may lead to dissatisfied customers. Firstly. there has been greater focus on firms’ sticking to ethical values rather than simply providing products. One of the purpose of advertising as a mix of marketing is to create a competitive advantage for the firm. In a market economy.

Both advertisements portray images that would be regarded as degrading women and racist respectively.PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS History of Offensive Advertising 6 Advertising that feature offensive content and images have been around for a long time now. Most of them feature racism. and shameless lies about the healthiness of products are a rich aspect of America's past. and sexism. In other words. The Alleged Offensiveness of Advertising Offensiveness in advertising is considered a “social” criticism in advertising. usually by insulting and . Some examples are illustrated below. advertising allegedly offends the consumer’s sense of good taste.

Furthermore. They go on to argue that. The two images are displayed below. Luxury German auto-maker BMW's original 2008 ad featured a female model lying on a bed. cigarette and pornographic literature that have no redeeming moral value. the “offensiveness” charge collapses to one or both forms of the first “social” criticism (84) The Dale Wurfel Second-hand Cars Advertisement After reading wide on the theory of advertising and what the society considers as offensive. looking seductively at the camera. In its early stages. the critics frequently equate their tastes to moral values and their moral values to alleged rights deserving legal protection from the “coercive” power of advertising (84). Both ads display the same image. it promotes products like beer. an advertising expert. because of their underlying intrinsicism. used car owners may not care about buying a used car but I’m sure many women will care that they are being objectified in order to sell used cars. According to Kirkpatrick.PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS degrading his intelligence. . then advertising is in itself immoral. since it promotes immoral and harmful products and encourages immoral behavior. This ad features a young blonde woman who is considered a nonvirgin as the copy reads “You know you are not really the first. He further states that in its final stages. But do you really care?” Well. some advertisements are said to promote low and poor quality products (for instance the BMW Used cars are not of the best quality since they have 7 been used before) and encourages immoral and harmful behavior. Critics also assert. the criticism does not attribute the power of physical force to advertising. I set off to do a survey using Dale Wurfel Used Vehicles.

PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS 8 Figure 1 This survey was conducted on the targeted consumers in the United States. . The ad has been run by Dale Wurfel Used Car Dealership and the BMW car dealership in the United States in print media and the television.

Data were collected during the day in the neighborhoods of Strathroy. One questionnaire was used to collect views. A total of 30 respondents participated in the survey.PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS Research methodology Participants A survey study was conducted to investigate consumers’ perceptions and reactions toward the potentially offensive advertisements. The set of adjectives used were as shown in table 1 below: Negative      Offensive Ridiculous Irritating Impolite Disgusting Positive       Creative Interesting Lively Clever Informative Convincing . They were also more likely to afford buy vehicles as compared to students. Measurements of constructs 9 The English adjectives in this survey were used for indicative purposes only.. 1981). A working class sample was adopted mainly for their accessibility and homogeneity as a group (Calder et al.

disgusting. Demographic data were also collected. lively. Positive adjectives were included to avoid probing respondents with negative adjectives only. Table 2 below shows the results. irritating. Following each ad.6 percent of the respondents selected at least one of the positive adjective. informative. Method of analysis and results of the survey Profiles were compiled for each of the tested ads by counting the percentage of respondents who checked each of the twelve adjectives. uncomfortable.6 percent of the respondents selected at least one of the negative adjectives and 15. The other six positive adjective were creative. convincing. only a small proportion of respondents considered these advertisements “convincing” or “informative”. On average. respondents were asked to ensure that the twelve adjectives that they found appropriate to explain the advertisement.” However. Respondents were then asked to point out their intentions in rejecting the product and brand because of the advertisement using a five-point scale (1 = very unlikely. . They could check all or none of the adjectives listed.PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS 10 Two print advertisements were shown in the questionnaire (see the two ads in Figure 1 above) Only those advertisements were included which the participants of the focus group considered as offensive. offensive. The positive adjectives most frequently used were “creative” and “interesting.. “offensive” and “ridiculous”. lively.e. Six of the adjectives were negative (i. The visuals were sourced from Web sites and magazines. interesting and clever. 5 = very likely). ridiculous and impolite). 16. The negative adjectives most commonly used by respondents to illustrate the advertisements were “uncomfortable”.

.8 18.8 15.8 29.8 5.0 21. Other consumers. Some considered the ads more often offensive. It was expected that the respondents would perceive the advertisements more negatively this was only partly the case. The results of the study were mixed. It seems. however. however to suggest that consumers are more likely to appreciate the creative elements in the potentially offensive advertisements. are likely to appreciate the informative elements in the potentially offensive advertisements.6 15.8 9.3 17. uncomfortable.1 15.1 13. disgusting and impolite while others judged them to be more irritating and ridiculous.9 17.5 16.PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS 11 Adjectives Negative Uncomfortable Offensive Ridiculous Irritating Impolite Disgusting Positive Creative Interesting Lively Clever Informative Convincing Negative adjectives Positive adjectives % of the respondents 19.4 9.6 Research Findings and Conclusion The survey looked at the effects of offensive advertising featured by Dale Wurfel Used vehicles on the consumers.

who showed a significant higher tendency to reject the products and the brands. advertisers have to check in advance whether the selected images are accepted within their target group. there have been advertisements which the general public perceives as “offensive”. as we become more conscious of the harmful effects of some products and as advertising agencies try to become more creative to “cut through the clutter” to gain awareness. This was especially true for some respondents. Results indicate that the more negative the ads are perceived. As advertisements were shown to the respondents. The study can be . The “creative/appealing” factor was the most important factor to explain and predict the rejection of the products and the brands. the higher the likelihood of rejecting the products and the brands. This report analyzes the responses to a survey of attitudes towards the advertising of particular products and reasons for being offensive. the study further provides useful advice for marketers and advertisers to understand how far they can stretch the line for these particular types of controversial advertising. When using presenting such content. the survey provides evidence that different consumers in the two cultures react differently to offensive print advertising of a limited type of offensiveness. compared to other studies about offensive advertising. To conclude. Recommendations As society becomes more composite.PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS 12 The survey also demonstrates that advertisers in have to be careful when using potentially offensive advertisements. The less creative/appealing the ad was the higher the likelihood of rejecting the products and the brands. The attitudes are examined by means of a survey which presents a series of potentially controversial/offensive products.

.PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS 13 used by advertising agencies to develop an understanding of which advertising is perceived by some people as offensive. and a list of potentially controversial clients.

25-36. D. pp. 5. J. Journal of Advertising Research.PERCEPTIONS ON OFFENSIVE ADVERTISEMENTS OF USED CARS 14 References Aaker. 21 No.A. 4. (1991). 15-23. Boddewyn. pp.E. D. 1981. Vol.J. Vol. . 20 No. Journal of Advertising. “Controlling sex and decency in advertising around the world”. (1981) “Viewer perceptions of prime-time television advertising”. & Bruzzone.

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