Women in the India Advertising Scene

Advertising is a very effective medium used by marketers to attract attention of potential customers towards their products and services. However advertising sells a great deal more than just goods and services. Advertising promotes ideas, values, concepts and aspirations. Advertisements tell people how they should live their lives, who they are now and what they should be. Since the boom of the advertising industry in the 1920’s, it is fair to say that advertising has been successful in changing the way people perceive themselves. Advertising helps shape people’s attitudes and beliefs and this is why advertising is one of the most powerful tools in the marketing strategy.

In the fiercely patriarchal, conservative and traditional Indian society, women have been typecast in advertisements in certain repetitive roles since the advent of advertising in the country. Women have been repeatedly stereotyped as the proud home maker, whose sole aim in life is to cook delicious food for her family, and to make her husband proud of her by providing him with the whitest shirt or as the dominating woman who is seducing a man or being extremely suggestive and so on.

Now a days it has become a very popular trend in advertising to use women as models and endorsers for advertising products that are not even directed at the female audience. For example, in the advertisements of AXE Effect, SET WET and Amul Macho which are products meant for the use of men, women are shown in skimpy clothes alluring men who use the product, and living out their fantasies. This trend should change as it’s immensely demeaning to women to be depicted as sex tools in the media.

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The existence of a ‘perfect’, beautiful woman in an advertisement attracts both the male and the female audience’s attention. The female audience would want to transform themselves into the abnormally thin, tall female endorser who has hair that shines like diamonds and pearly white teeth. To the male audience the advertisement showing a gorgeous woman contains a certain level of sex appeal that they find difficult to avoid. The advertisement would be remembered by both the sexes and thus it’s a mission successful for the marketer. Advertisements fail to represent the real Indian women who are no longer confined to the four walls of her house, but who are intelligent, hard working, responsible yet fun loving and carefree.

However it should also be noticed that certain advertisements are coming up that are trying to show real women, the way they are, as in the case of the advertisements of Hero Honda Pleasure, ICICI etc. Women in these advertisements are shown as independent individuals who can think and take important decisions for themselves and their families. Although the change is slow, it is good to see that it is finally happening. Women should not be portrayed in stereotypical roles or depicted as sex symbols used for selling products. Advertisements are supposed to mirror the society and so should show women in all the varied beautiful roles she plays as confident and empowered individuals . The High heels for women will surely leave you spellbound.

Image source: Gallery.oneIndia.in

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