AUDIENCE PERCEPTION OF FEMALE MODELS IN ADVERTISING MESSAGES (A STUDY OF ALWAYS ULTRA COMMERCIALS) IN ENUGU METROPOLIS.
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This research work is aimed at analyzing Audience perception of female models in advertising message (a study of always ultra commercials). The research method used was survey method and questionnaires being the instrument. The findings from the questionnaires shows that the audience especially those in Enugu metropolis, now have positive perception of female models with aid of the Always Ultra commercials they watch on their television sets, after findings, the researcher recommended that advertising regulatory bodies should scrutinize adverts properly before they are shown on television.
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1.1 Background of the study
This research is on Audience perception of female models in advertising messages (a study of always ultra-commercials) in Enugu metropolis. For any organization, advertising occupies the most important marketing activities, in modern economics; advertising occupies an important market position. The industry (advertising) has grown to an important economic entity supporting lives of millions of people in the world. Advertising is not only an economic activity, but it articulated, different ideas, attitudes and values, which shape out social life and consumption patterns. Therefore, it can be said that advertising has become and form by virtue of signifying practices.
Advertisements, articulates meaning to words although this depends on how we interpret them.
Advertising is such an influence in our society that determines our needs what we care about, how we raise our children, what our interests are and so on. Advertising plays a role involving a number of relationships, power and satisfaction; in this light, advertising has over the years used women as tools/implement to persuade consumers into buying a product and portray the women beautiful and desirable. As noted by Puranik (2011) advertising is nothing but a paid form of non-personal presentation or promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor with a view to disseminate information concerning an idea or product is called advertisement.
In present day marketing activities, hardly is there any business in the modern world which does not advertise. However, the advertisement differs from business to business.
Areas (2008) said that advertising is the structure and composed, non-Personal communication of information, usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature, about products, about services and ideas, by identified sponsors, through various mass media like radio, television billboard, newspaper, magazine, with the aim of creating awareness.
This definition has a close link with that of Dominick (2007), which says that advertising is any form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, and services, usually paid for, by an identified or known sponsor. Advertising makes use of various media to reach out to the consumers across the globe.
Thus it is seen as the process of persuading potential customers to buy products or promote its services. Wikipedia (2011) give way that any organization that wants its products to know and looked for, has to create awareness through advertising.
Wilson, cited in Asemah (2010) said that advertising is controversial in nature and that in the early twentieth century, people clamored for the regulation of advertising. Believing much of it was exaggerated and untruthful. The United Nations conference on women recognized the importance of the mass media on the image of women/female models. As noted by Ingham, television is widely known to represent and reinforce the mainstream ideology of contemporary western culture particularly. While television representation of women have changed greatly in the last twenty years alone, in other to accommodate the changing role of women on the society, one is led to ask how much the ideology had changed behind the more modern representations of women. If this is the case, then it is important for us to question how real the representations of women are on television and how this affects the attitudes of those who watch. Some of the most watched and perhaps influential genres of television viewing are advertisements on soap operas, in a world where women are numbered greater than men, can television be said to reflect the world as it is or dictate it?
Lipmann (1994) averts that gender representation on a small scale has always been important for one to understand what it means to be male or female. Looking at it in terms of advertising (possibly considering the most important aspect, powerful and influential medium in this ever increasing commercial society) is to look at it with more serious eye from the image inflicted upon us in the patriarchal mass media that surround us, it is assumed that we have been encouraged to mould ourselves into a set ideal. For a woman, that means having beauty, elegance, passivity and good domestic ability. One of the reasons televisions is resistant to the messages as conflicting with womens desired to consume. Advertisers do not want to present to the audience a liberated woman, because this new woman does not want and thus, will not buy their products. For this reason, the paper actually examines the perception of the audience of female models in advertising messages, using Always Ultra commercials as the study.
Understanding the concept of advertising
It is any paid form of non-personal communication link, initiated by an identified marketer, to establish or continue exchange relationships with customers and at times, with other stakeholders. Companies advertise to: create awareness, position a product/brand, build preference, and differentiate their product/brands. Dominick (2007) sees advertising as any form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods and services, usually paid for by an identified sponsor.
Wikipedia (2011) gave a comprehensive definition of advertising thus: advertising is the persuading potential customers to buy products or promote its services. It is also the branch of marketing that deals with communicating to customers about products, brands, and services. Advertising is a type of communication used to persuade an audience (views, readers, listeners) to take some action with respect to products, ideas or services, most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common, advertising messages are usually paid for by sponsor and viewed via traditional media, including mass media such as newspapers, magazines, television commercials, radio advertisements, outdoor advertising or direct mail or new media such as website and text.
The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria defined advertising as a form of communication through the media about products, services or ideas paid for by an identified sponsor.
Therefore, the real message, aimed/objectives of advertising is effective communication, understanding between producers and consumers.
Brief History of Always Ultra product/commercials
Always began in test market in Minnieapolis, Minnestota in January 1983. At that time (3) pad types were introduced: maxi pads, mini pads, and panty liners. The ongoing market share objective was 25%; by October/November Always had a 21. 5% share; Year (1) was 18.9%. The target audience were women between the ages of 12-49. Test market result indicated Always could achieve a 22.5% going nationally. Competition at the time was intense. Johnson and Johnson was the market leader. Competitive response included new products, line extensions, product improvements, and heavy competitive promotional spending. Always also spent very heavily at that time. Consumer awareness of the product was low; consumers who tried Always like it, except for the pad.
By 1984, Always was in national distribution. At that time there were (4) four pad types: maxi pads, mini pads, thin mini pads and panty liners. National expansion result were mixed: market share was 14.8% vs. the 16% objective. Key issues included in- market distribution and out of stock problems to meet the original 22,5% objective. Additionally, awareness among pad-using women was 82% compared to test market at 89%. Television advertising started 7-2-84 and samples were mailed including a coupon. In 1986, Always Plus was introduced into the US representing the first line feminine hygiene pads with panty protectors on the side where leakage is most often likely to occur. In 1991, Always Ultra was introduced into the US market. The ultra pad incorporates a novel super-sober technology for feminine hygiene protection. In Europe, the general expansion of the full Always product line, including Always Ultra and panty liners also began
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The primary aim of this study is to correct the negative impression of audience perception as regards to the portrayal of female models as sex objects.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are:
a) To find out audience perception of female models in advertising messages.
b) To determine the effect of Always Ultra commercials has on the advertising perception of audience.
c) To find out how Always Ultra commercials have portray female models to the audience.
d) To examine the role of female models in advertising messages.
1.4 Research Questions
a) To what extent have female models passed advertising message?
b) How has Always Ultra as a product helped in terms of advertisements, to portray advertising messages to audience?
c) How has Always Ultra commercial influenced the audience?
d) Do models have negative or positive impact in advertising?
e) In what manner does the audience see female models?
1.5 Scope of the Study
The essence of this research work is to study how Always Ultra as a product and its advertisement/commercials has audience perception, of female models in passing advertising messages in Enugu metropolis. The study covers only commercials run by Always Ultra company.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study will help to determine the extent of knowledge of audience and likewise their attitude towards commercials both on radio and television. Also, the research helps to ascertain the importance of electronic media especially the television as a media of bringing about peoples awareness innovation. As a result of this research/study, it helps to educate the audience on the benefits include positive view of female models in advertising messages, and the importance of the product been studied to audience and finally eliminating the thought of female models as only sex subject and not product promoters.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms where used and is defined as follows:
Audience: a group or number of people that come together to watch, listen or read the same thing.
Perception: it is an idea, belief, or an image you have as a result of how you understand the true nature of something.
Female model: a lady or woman that showcase a product/service.
Audience perception: what a group think of the true nature of a thing.
Commercials: it is connected with showcasing goods and services and making profit.
Advertisement: a notice, picture, or film telling people about a product, job, or services.
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