When a company promotes its product on different forms of media (electronic, print, and digital) to do marketing, it’s called advertising. We watch ads on television, listen to them on the radio and come across them in the newspaper. There is a message in every ad and they’re known to have a massive impact on society.
What’s a stereotype? A set idea that people have about what someone or something is like. Most ads are stereotypes giving a stereotypical message to the audience, which in my opinion is wrong. Consequently, society starts following and accepting that notion assuming it to be the culture of the society. Advertisements can be one of the best tools for changing society. But instead of giving out the right message most of the ads convey a stereotypical message.
Johnson’s Baby is a brand that makes baby products. But in most of the ads, only the mother is shown taking care of the child. For example, when it is a soap product, the mother bathes the child, or when it is an oil product, the mother massages the baby. It is like only a mother is responsible for child-rearing, and the father plays no role in taking care of the infant.
Isn’t it a stereotype? Do women always hold the responsibility of taking care of a child? Why is it that the men are never home in these advertisements? A father is as much responsible as a mother. Showing only a mother is taking care of her baby is a stereotype.
Also, they only feature babies with a fair complexion. This is one of the biggest stereotypes in India. They promote the idea that only fair kids are cute, which is totally wrong. There is already discrimination based on skin colour in this country. Ads should change these stereotypes but instead, they are encouraging them. Resultantly, people in rural areas do not buy these products thinking they are not meant for them.
Kinder joy is a chocolate product, which is currently famous among children. In the advertisement for this product, they show a pink kinder joy package for the girl and a blue one for the boy. Moreover, the gifts opened by the girl are generally barbie dolls, rings, kitchen related kits, sewing machines, and others which are considered to be enjoyed by girls only. And for boys, they put gifts like cars, superheroes, airplanes, transformers, and so on.
These ads exploit the idea that colour preferences should be gender-based. If a boy happens to like the colour pink, he will be teased. They try to imply that girls should play with Barbie dolls and kitchen kits because they are supposed to do that in the future, whereas boys are entitled to be free and drive around and are strong and powerful like superheroes.
Fair & Lovely And Other Fairness Products
Fair and Lovely advertisements are probably the most stereotypical, with slogans like, “best ever nikhar” and “fairness in 7 days”, “fairness cream”, and so on. That shows that all girls should be fair to look beautiful and confident; which implies that girls who have darker skin tone are not confident or are not good looking. There is a similar product called Fair and Handsome for men, delivering the same message.
The adverse effects of these ads are seen prominently in this era. Every girl wants to look fair because that’s become her idea of beauty too. Society calls a fair girl beautiful. These ads demotivate people with a darker skin tone. There are so many creams, soaps, face wash ads, which have stereotypical scripts for advertisements. They always consider that beauty lies in fairness, and fair skin tone is the key to one’s confidence.
Most of the advertisements related to cars or automobiles feature only men as drivers. Implying a car is something which is only meant for men, and that they are the target audience is again a stereotype. A woman is hardly seen driving in an advertisement. Why? Can’t women drive? Can’t they buy a car?
Home-appliance ads like those of refrigerators, washing machines, mixture grinders, exhibit only females to be the consumers. This conveys the message that women are meant to be in the kitchen and do all those chores. Even if there are men in some ads, they never seem to use the products. They are mostly seen standing with their wives, who are the ones using those appliances. This gives a stereotypical message to the audience that, yes females are made for this and males are meant for that.
These stereotypes should not be broadcast because they are the biggest contributors in discrimination based on gender, skin tone, etc.