Jena Verlin


Marketing Identity: College-Aged Women’s Perceptions of Gender Messages in Advertising


With a seemingly infinite amount of messages being blasted out to the public, some theoretical frameworks posit that there are a near infinite amount of audience reactions. Ideological messages contained by advertisements may not resonate with every woman in the same way, and women can therefore choose to consume the messages and products that reinforce their self-image (Crymble, 2011). This project seeks to determine what some of the messages these commercials are sending out to women about their role in society, specifically in relationship to men. And furthermore, to ascertain in what ways women will respond as consumers to products that promote specific gender roles and relationships. Thirteen participants in two focus groups viewed commercials for Axe, Lowe’s, Dodge, and Dr. Pepper (which all contained some sort of gender-related message) and were asked a series of questions in response to the content of the commercials and their reactions. Focus groups showed the individual variance in their understanding and analysis of 4 commercials in regards to stereotypes, gender roles, use of humor, and how it affects their behavior as a consumer. Results are discussed in terms of gender and identity.