Advertising Influences and Impacts

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We are bombarded by advertising on a daily basis either on the television, the radio, in magazines, or just driving down the highway, and with so much of it all the time, we don’t stop to think what kind of impact that has on us. Advertisements are meant to sell us something or persuade us to think that we need the product or service they are selling.

With so much information being throw at us and pressuring the people to buy something, it can be hard to see what is wrong with the picture, such as stereotypes among genders and even the hidden influences the images has on the people. Imagery in the media and advertising has many influences on today’s society, but these influences have advantages and disadvantages, including the altering of photos, plus size models, or even racial diversity in advertising.

There are many things to note about both good and bad things about today’s advertising strategies, so there needs to be a starting point. A good place to start is the lack of racial diversity in the cosmetics industry. The long running debate against advertising is that companies would only have very thin, tall, Eastern European women with blue eyes, but when the people started to speak out about this problem, the companies decided to add in a few “plus-size models”, that problem is to be discussed, and usually one or two models of different races.

The people were not happy about this, because there should be a variety among all races in advertising, not just one or two black or asian models (Bratskeir). This does not go for every company, there are many magazines or television shows that use models of all races on a very normal basis, such as America’s Next Top Model (‘Beauty industry looks East Beauty industry looks East.’).

The issue of lack of diversity in the cosmetic industry has been around for years, but there have been changes beginning to be made. Granted, some companies have only fixed the issues slightly by adding in one or two models of a different race, but what can be said when there is only model in the picture? Some companies will pick the best looking model photo for the cover of a magazine or for an article; however, there are still a few companies that will choose that same type of model. The tall, very thin, caucasian women is the standard model that these companies seem to like to use most of the time. With that being said, comes to the next major issue in the industry: size.

All of the advertisements that have to deal with beauty or any kind of beauty products always have these very thin, perfect looking women in them. Most of the media is outraged by these images, because this is a way of the industries saying that this is beauty. An unnamed Hollywood reporter had taken note that the standard for modeling in advertisements or runways was, “a runway model size 4,” but yet the when the article was posted, “size 16 is now the average size of an American woman” (“U.K. Vogue editor…”). So the aftermath of having these very thin models in the advertising and calling that beauty, is simply body image and self-esteem issues for both women and young girls.

If being that race and that size makes up beauty then what are the reason of the population? In reality, everyone is beautiful, but these industries have to trick the media into feeling bad about themselves so they think they need whatever product that company is selling. If all the cosmetic and fashion industries wanted to push that everyone is beauty the way they are then how would they sell the products to make the people prettier or feel better about themselves if they already think they are beautiful? It’s all a marketing strategy that these companies have to use against us to make a profit (Mehta).

The strategy is that these companies are using these seemingly perfect looking people to promote their product in hopes that customers will buy it thinking that they will look like those models. Well that is simply not true, not only because most of the time the product doesn’t work that well in the beginning, but those models in the picture don’t even look like that either! Theses beautiful models are made to look even prettier for the purpose of advertising unrealistic perfectionism of beauty.

Photoshop is used on practically every photo used in advertising, and it’s not just used to make those models even thinner than they already were, but they are also used to give the models clear skin, enhanced body parts, shiny hair, and more. An article originally posted in the Huffington Post stated that, “The American Medical Association (AMA) recently announced it was taking a stand against image manipulation in advertising, stating that alterations made through processes like Photoshop can contribute to unrealistic body image expectations, eating disorders and other emotional problems”(Diller).

Society has a huge pressure on everyone to look beautiful and with advertising having altered photos to make perfection, so of course there has been very apparent impacts on individuals. These perfect faces and thin bodies cause the people who don’t look like that, which is most of the world’s population, to want to beautiful like those models, and this has made a rise in the rate of eating disorders among today’s youth and even a slight spike in suicide rates. Even celebrities like Mary-Kate Olsen, Lindsay Lohan, and Nicole Richie have had experiences with body image issues.

Olsen was even sent to the hospital because she had developed anorexia nervosa due to the pressure to be as beautiful as those models in the magazines (Derenne). That’s only a few celebrities that have been affected by the impact these advertisements have on the community, but there are millions of people affected everyday, and this does not just for women, men are affected by this too. Men are always represented as tall, tan, muscular, cleanly groomed, perfect jaw and so on. There are definitely stereotypes for looks among both men and women in advertising.

Commercials and other forms of advertising all have the same stereotypes among genders. Like boys are always shown playing outside or being aggressive, while girls are always quiet and playing gently. Another example for adult stereotypes is that men are always shown with bold colors or again angered tone, while women normally have pastel, light colors and are gentle with their words or actions (Frith).

So if there is no much wrong with today’s advertising, when why hasn’t it stopped? Well, it has made advances to help better the industry by bringing in more racial diversity and more realistic looking models, with both body size and appearance. However, the industry can’t take out all of stereotypes or the altering of photos. The companies are trying to sell something to improve a lifestyle or appearance in the makeup industry, so if everything knew they were beauty and didn’t doubt then they wouldn’t be able to sell anything (Mehta). It’s a marketing strategy, and the same goes for the stereotypes in commercials.

If we saw a commercial that didn’t have the little boys playing rough or a little girl playing aggressively with an action figure or toy car, it would feel weird for the community to see. The same goes for colors representing genders; if a woman was shown with bold colors, it would probably be just fine for others to take in because of the rise in woman taking control, but a man with pastel colors? Most people would not be happy with that conclusion. Truth is not everyone can be happy all at the same time, it’s simply impossible, and these companies know that, so they will stick to what they know and what works for them so they can continue to make money.

The advertising in today’s media does have many impacts on us in many different ways. Some can make a person feel bad about their body or appearance, or some can show stereotypes between genders, but the whole purpose of the advertisement is for the people to buy what they are selling, and it seems to be working for them. There has been many issues arise from the advertising strategies and what it is lacking, such as racial diversity, more realistic looking models, and altering photos to perfection, but a few of the issues have been resolved. Nonetheless, there is still a long way to go for these companies to make their advertisements the best that they possibly can while still making a profit, but maybe one day there will be a great solution to this ongoing problem.

Cite this paper

Advertising Influences and Impacts. (2021, Jun 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/advertising-influences-and-impacts/

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