The Cultural Implications of the Portrayal of Females in Newspaper Advertising: Lessons from Nigeria

By Samuel K. Tesunbi and Joy A. Ikwu.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Businesses exist to do the bidding of their stakeholders, particularly shareholders, to maximize profits. To reach projected profit margins, businesses may employ a variety of strategic marketing practices; one of such practices is exposing their products through advertising, a communication bridge between businesses and their various publics. Using a content analysis of 200 newspaper ads, the study measured the nature of the roles women play in Nigerian advertising. One expectation of the study was that women would be seen as sex objects, as mothers, or homemakers, or as primary caregivers, who can “sell” only household products, such as detergents, appliances, cooking utensils. Findings show that a majority of the ads portray women mostly in professional roles, followed by sex roles. Results also show that women are preferred to advertise services than goods in the product category, and the role they play, or how they are represented, is professional.

Keywords: Cultural Stereotypes, Brands, Soft-sell, Hard-sell, Brands, Newspaper Advertising, Female Portrayal, Product Involvement, Sexual Objects

Global Studies Journal, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.105-122. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 965.089KB).

Dr. Samuel K. Tesunbi

Associate Professor of Advertising, School of Information Technology and Communications, The American University of Nigeria, Yola, Nigeria

Dr. Samuel K. Tesunbi is Associate Professor of Advertising at the American University of Nigeria, Yola, Nigeria. He is the founding chair of advertising/public relations and mass communication departments in the following: the American University of Sharjah 2001–2003, UAE, the American University of Kuwait, 2005–2006, Kuwait, and the American University of Nigeria, Yola (2006–2007). His research interests focus on how transnational corporations manage the intersection of culture and advertising. Dr. Tesunbi received his BS (Advertising) and MS (Journalism) from West Virginia University’s Perley I. Reed School of Journalism, and received his Ph.D. (communications) from Howard University’s John H. Johnson School of Communications.

Joy A. Ikwu

The American University of Nigeria, Yola, Nigeria

Ms. Joy A. Ikwu was, at the time of writing the paper, an undergraduate of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola. She has since received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Multimedia from AUN, with double concentrations, in Advertising and Journalism.

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