Culture & Advertising : How masculinity or femininity of a culture is influencing the consumers’ responses on the gender appearance in advertisements?

University essay from Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet


Everybody has seen advertisements in his/her life even if this person is never watching television or listening to radio. However, an average person watches television 1 to 4 hours per day. In these hours of watching television, there is a big probability that this person will see an advertisement. But how does he/she react to this advertisement? There are probabilities of reacting positively or negatively or indifferently. Culture is one of the significant aspects that can determine the reaction of the viewer.

The purpose of this master thesis is to understand the influence of the cultural background on consumers when they see a man or a woman appearing on advertisements. This study can be used by managers as a part of their considerations they should have when deciding communication strategies. Moreover, it can bring further understandings for students who are interested on culture and advertising. The main question I wanted to answer with this research is “How masculinity and femininity of a culture is influencing the consumers’ responses on the gender appearance in television advertisements”?

In order to accomplish this goal, I used a quantitative and a deductive scientific method. The empirical data were collected by distributing questionnaires to 40 students of Umea University. The questionnaires are given in order to find out how consumers are affected by culture towards advertisements.

The theoretical framework is actually divided in two parts. The first part is presenting some definitions, components, layers and dimensions of culture combined with masculinity and femininity. The second part is presenting advertising and gender where someone can see how to manage an advertising communication and which strategy to follow.

After the theoretical framework, the empirical results of this study are presented. In the analysis of the empirical data I found out that the masculinity-femininity level of the country a person comes from does not affect his/her reactions towards the genders appearance in advertisements. This can be a result either of the size or homogeneity of the sample either of the personality aspect or the subculture belonging of the person. So it can be said that the personality and the subculture belonging of people may be some factors that influence their reactions towards advertisements. However, what was proved by this research is that a person’s reactions towards advertisements can be influenced by the fact that this person is a man or a woman.

At the end of the study some suggestions are given to marketers such as to define who the target group of the advertising communication is and then develop the appropriate strategy. Moreover, suggestions are given to future researchers such as to conduct the same study but with a bigger sample.

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