Change is imminent. As resistant as people may be to alter their patterns everything changes over time, especially social values. Whether it be new technology, changes in the economy, or new understandings, values never stay the same. Nothing reflects these values more than advertising and trying to appeal to the peoples need to “fit in” with the values of society. Since the beginning of advertising the sellers are trying to find ways to make the consumers buy into their goods or services and there is no better way than to reflect on how people’s attitudes and beliefs are focused.
Changing social values are always reflected in advertising for consumer products. As social values change so too does the approach that advertisers take to make their product look most appealing to the public. Early on advertising focused mainly on what we see as being “traditional values” that is more focused on the family and the society as a whole. But recently these traditional values have been replaced by more individualistic ideals. Sen Gupta (2007) explained that idea this way. Advertising trends relating to traditional values and the focus on the collective underwent a change over the years.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Over course of time traditional values which once signified the identity of the nation were replaced by trends of modernization and westernization. Today, traditional values are projected more selectively, only those are valued which are recognized by the west. Along with the waning of truly traditional values and the rise of westernization, the individual consumer began to receive greater importance. This indicates a major shift in the psychosocial environment of a community(Sen Gupta 2007). Sen Gupta (2007) also studied time periods and how these values changed during specific years.
It was shown that during 1947-48 most of the advertisements sampled, the customers were addressed as members of the community, family, or social group. The focus was rarely on the individual. In 1971-72 individual identity of the consumer began to get important, though the focus on group identity continued. The individual consumers became the prime focus of advertisers in the early 1990’s and in 2004-05 the group component of advertising was almost non-existent. With this change of focus on who to advertise to also brought the question of what to advertise with.
Advertisers use many different methods on how to appeal to the senses, but one of the most common techniques is the use of animals. Advertisers recognize that consumers are attracted to animals and, for some industries at least, the use of animals actually increases sales compared to brands that do not use animals in their promotions (Spears 2007). According to Nancy Spears and Richard Germain, “Depictions of animals change in accord with the changing times between and within time periods”(Spears 2007).
Horses, dogs and birds are the most commonly used animals, but the way they are depicted in the advertisements varies throughout the time periods. Spears(2007) also said “The nature of the themes that were commonly shared between animals in print advertisements and society underwent a shift across the century, moving from themes related to the economy/political climate to themes related to social issues such as relationships and search for identity”(Spears 2007). This shows us that even animals used in advertising change during time periods when social values shift.
Marketers aren’t always trying to appeal aesthetically to the consumers. Some businesses change their techniques when the economies shift. Although recessions don’t necessarily mean changing social values there are many key social issues that arise that cause advertisements to change. A current study I found says that U. S. financial service organizations altered their communication messages in response to the current recession. It stated that the organizations shifted away from emotional messages in favor of informational messages during the recession(Changing 2011).
Of course during a recession everyone has less money to spend, so it’s easy to understand that over a five year span there was a 19% decrease in the number of financial service advertisements appearing in national magazines(Changing 2011). The shift that we are seeing due to the recession is that companies are starting to offer more information on their services in order to help the consumer make a better decision for themselves, rather than say putting a cute little baby on TV because they think people will be more likely to buy from them because of that.
One article states Consumers often make financial choices that are not necessarily good for them. Errors in choices arise from certain financial biases, emotion, incomplete information, and limited understanding. Consumers are often skeptical of advertising whose claims are difficult and complex to understand. They rather prefer advertising that assists them in their economic decision-making. Consumers are accountable for responsibly using financial products and those who get in over their heads must find a way to manage fiscal responsibilities.
Financial services organizations should provide their consumers with information about the consequences of inappropriate financial management(Changing 2011). In a study done by Taejun Lee, Ronald Taylor, and Wonjun Chung, advertising strategies were studied to see how they will be affected due to an economic crisis. According to Lee (2011), “The Great Depression revealed that successful companies did adjust budgets and promotional techniques to changing economic conditions(Lee, et al. 011). Its easy to see that changes happen more often now than they did in the past because of the growing trend that businesses need to report increased sales and need to always be moving up. Therefore advertising techniques need to change constantly with the growing times in order to ensure these companies continue to see the desired results. Lee(2011) described the two different types of advertising strategies and showed how during the recession it changes from one to another.
According to Lee (2011), “Transformational strategies focus on emotion and seek to make consumers feel good about the product by creating a likable or friendly brand. While Informational strategies are product-focused and typically feature product attributes or performance”(Lee et al. 2011). Informational strategies, as I stated earlier, are the strategies used during recessional periods. While advertisements change due to economic factors there are also other changing values that affect advertisements. Social values change due to new information on old behaviors.
For example now that we know smoking is bad for you and can cause serious health problems, people have turned away from smoking. This is reflected in advertising in that now smoking commercials are completely banned from airing. But while smoking has decreased, drinking alcohol has greatly increased. Binge drinking is now considered a norm many alcohol companies are taking advantage of this and constantly creating commercials of how “cool” it is to drink. One commercial that stands out to me is for Dos Equis beer.
The focus of their ad is “The most interesting man in the world” and how he does all of these cool things that most people love to do. Another way is how tailgating at football games has become a big behavior and beer companies group themselves with football and how you need to drink their beverage during the tailgates and during the game. New behavior is sometimes a result of new technology. New technology is another big reason on why values are changing. With the increase in technology, internet has become the norm for entertainment.
Most people go to the internet for their shopping, news, and even social interactions. For a long time most advertisers relied on the “Holy Trinity” of advertising media, TV, radio, and print, but now with the internet marketers are shifting their focus. According to Savulescu (2011), “The only thing that seemed different was that they were online and could be accessed at any time by their “prospects”(Savulescu 2011). The internet was considered just another communication medium by marketing specialists and it lacked certain values that consumers appreciate and request nowadays”(Savulescu 2011).
For marketers the cost of advertising was far less then traditional media and the results were anticipated to be far more superior. The people on these new social networks were there to connect with people and have conversations. So it was quickly discovered that consumers didn’t want to be bothered by traditional advertisements and the nuisance of ads telling them to do something. The marketers realized that in order to have an impact they needed to build their relationships with the customers and build brand loyalty.
The companies could target certain groups for this due to a quality Facebook has that lets people form groups based on interests. The companies could find groups that fit what they were selling and then build that loyalty. Savulescu(2011) described it as this, “Facebook marketing is that the goal is not to advertise aggressively, as most marketing people have been used to. As a consequence, in this new reality, conversation is the new advertising”(Savulescu 2011). Coca-Cola has done a great job of Facebook Marketing. Two fans of the soft drink created their own page for other fans to discuss their pleasure with the product.
Instead of Coke taking over the site it hired the two and let them control the page. They felt this was beneficial because it was “fans” doing the advertising and so there would be no bias and therefore create more loyalty on the page. Another company that does a great job as well is a guesthouse, The Literate Perch. They created a Facebook page and let former guests design rooms and activities to be incorporated. Now these guests feel as if they need to go see their creation. This is a great way to advertise without directly advertising. Other social media sites, such as online dating, are on the rise and advertise all over TV.
They use information showing that the internet is now one of the top ways for people to find a relationship. This is a change from previous behaviors in that when I was younger it was always “never talk to people online because you don’t know who they really are”. To now people are finding the love of their lives just by meeting someone in a chat room. Changes in our social values have been brought upon by the increase in technology and advertising in the new technology just reassures the fact that as values change so does advertising. Just like in every other aspect of society as the time changes so too does gender roles.
And continuing with the fact that changing values change advertising, gender roles are perhaps the biggest effect on marketing strategies. We all know stereotyping is prevalent in advertising. According to Eisend (2009), “Stereotyping in advertising has indeed decreased over the years, although this decrease is almost exclusively due to developments in high masculinity countries. Gender stereotyping in advertising depends on gender-related developments and value changes in society”(Eisend 2009). In a study done by John Mager and James Helgeson (2010), “1950 through 2000-U. S. opular culture saw tremendous change in these 50 years, shifting from the prefeminist(traditional), through the feminist, and succeeded by the postfeminist, or antifeminist, eras”(Mager et al. 2010). Sexually suggestive portrayals of women have increased over all time periods. Mager and Helgeson’s (2010) study showed us that in the prefeminist period women were portrayed as (a) there place was in the home, (b) women did not make important decisions or do important things, (c) women were dependent upon men and, (d) men regarded women primarily as sexual objects and were not interested in women as people(Mager et al. 010). During this period women were also shown in advertisements as passive while men were depicted as active. These depictions changed as society moved into the feminist period. During this time period women appeared less dependent on men and were less likely to be depicted using sex appeal. Also women’s bodies were starting to be shown more frequently. However during the postfeminist period we saw that ads were portraying women as sexual objects and exploiting them sexually.
It is also shown that we are seeing more men being sexually exploited and in less traditional, authoritative ways. In a study done by Heidi Hennick-Kaminski and Tom Reichert (2010) about sex appeal in different time periods, “One-fourth of the 434 advertisements employing a sexual appeal appeared in the first era(1986-1996) and three-fourths of the advertisements were placed in the second era (1997-2007)”(Hennick-Kaminski et al 2010). Also found in their study was an increase over the two eras from 69% to 86% of all advertisements contained nudity.
And that this finding coincides with an overall increase in sexual imagery in advertising(Hennick-Kaminski et al 2010). Finally Mager and Helgeson (2010) showed that, “Males and females were shown more equally sharing different role positions towards the end of the study’s 50 years”(Mager et al. 2010). If you want to look at how society changes over time periods all you need to do is look at the advertisements from each period. Advertisements directly reflect time periods and show us all how society’s values have changed.
Whether those changes are good or bad there has still been change and there will always continue to be change. As long as there is something to sell we will always see those changes reflected. Work Cited “A Changing Message for Changing Times. ” Communication Currents. 6. 1 (2011): n. page. Print. Eisend, Martin. “A meta-analysis of gender roles in advertising. ” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. 38 (2009): 418-440. Print. Hennink-Kaminski, Heidi, and Tom Reichert. “Using Sexual Appeals in Advertising to Sell Cosmetic Surgery: A Content Analysis from 1986 to 2007. Sexuality ; Culture. 15 (2011): 41-55. Print. Lee, Taejun, Ronald Taylor, and Wonjun Chung. “Changes in Advertising Strategies Druing an Economic Crisis: An Application of Taylor’s Six-segment Message Strategy Wheel. ” Journal of Applied Communication. 39. 1 (2011): 75-91. Print. Mager, John, and James Helgeson. “Fifty Years of Advertising Images: Some Changing Perspectives on Role Portrayals Along with Enduring Consistencies. ” Sex Roles. 64 (2010): 238-252. Print. Savulescu, Rodica. Brand Talk on Facebook- a new Challenge in Marketing Communication. ” Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relations. n. page. Print. Sen Gupta, Amitava , and Sonali De. “Changing Trends of Clutural Values in Advertising: An Exploratory Study. ” Psychology and Developing Societies. 19. 1 (2007): 113-123. Print. Spears, Nancy, and Richard Germain. “1900-2000 IN REVIEW The Shifting Role and Face of Animals in Print Advertisements in the Twentieth Century. ” Journal of Advertising. 36. 3 (2007): 19-33. Print.