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The study investigated audience perception of the portrayal of gender in Nigeria advertisement.   The research adopted  survey research design with a sample size of 400   derived from population  of 301,657. Questionnaire  which was the main data collection instrument, was structured  in a way to sort  respondent responses as instrument for data collection. Data collected was analysed quantitatively. The  result of the study showed  that  most of the audiences  view the use of male and female gender  use in advertisement  has often being misrepresented as they are portrayed in a different manner as compared to what is being advertised. The findings of the study further indicated that at average, the audience spends nine(9) minute in watching and listening to TV advertisement  in which male and female gender are portrayed. It is noted too, that the perception of the audiences toward the use of male and female gender in advertisement is dependent on individual differences. It is also noted from the findings that the use of male and female gender in advertisement are due to various reasons ranging from attracting the attention of the masses toward the product advertised to  sex appeal nature of female and male gender. Based on these findings, the study recommended that advertiser’s use of male and female gender in advertisement should be done in a way that draws the attention of the masses toward the product advertised without misrepresenting the genders used and Male and female gender should be used in advertisement in equal rate.






  •                    INTRODUCTION


Concern of how people are portrayed in the media has existed since the beginning of all popular media, particularly the electronic media. Most different groups have been particularly concerned about how people from different age, ethnic, gender and professional groups are shown in  media advertisement (Bollinger, 2008; Hazell & Clarke, 2007; Nina-Pazarzi & Tsangaris, 2008). Perhaps the area that has attracted most research attention has been the portrayal of men and women in television commercial advertisement (Kaufman, 2003). Although there are several numbers of early studies which has shown how many commercial advertisement has portrayed male and female gender (Dominick & Rauch, 2008; O’Donnell & O’Donnell, 2014). Most researchers reviewed the use of gender in advertisement   and at different point discovered that audience have different perception as regard to gender usage in advertisement. Commercial advertising gives meaning to words and images as a result, diffusing the meaning of the massages and belief into the society (Sinclair,2010). According to some researchers, advertising is a social practice which does not operate in a vacuum. In order to make advertising more appealing to the masses, male and female genders are employed and portrayed differently in other to attract the attention of the masses toward product advertised. As result of such portrayal, the populace tend to perceive the use of male and female gender differently.

The power of advertising is in its ability to manipulate people, turning them into unconscious and addicted consumers, while they continue to deny that they could ever be affected by the messages of such positive brands(Wikipedia 2014). Through the most insipid of advertising, we are affected by the subconscious power of the image and representations of people in situations start to suggest how we could and should model ourselves (Onyejekwe, 2005).

Advertising is a significant agent of socialisation in modern industrialised societies and is used as a tool to maintain certain social constructions, such as gender. Men and women are depicted as differing in attitudes, behaviour and social statuses. These differences are what separate the sexes into different genders. Gender advertisements give the viewers a glimpse into a world laden with socially defined and constructed gender relation displays and roles. Advertisements take something that exists already in the world and they change it, forming a distorted reflection, satisfaction and audience perception. It is against this background,   that this study investigates audience perception of portrayal of gender in Nigeria advertisement.



1.2 Background of the study

During the period dating from the mid-70’s to early 80’s, consumer gender advertisement researchers began to respond to the changing demographic forces by initiating some early studies on the role portrayals of  men  and women in advertising. The work of Courtney, Whipple, Belkaoui,  and Wortzel(2008), to mention a few, were primarily focused in this direction. A more generalized version of this theme (the changing roles of women) came under a broader inquiry within the field of mass media marketing, as reflected in the works of Bartos, Debevec, Gentry, Iyer, Roberts, Venkatesh(2013) and McCall, Douglas(2003). A major part of this work was motivated by the changing consciousness embedded in the gender usage in advertisement/political activism of the “women’s movement.” Although this was a vigorous start which promised to be an on-going research stream, one of the shortcomings of marketers’ advertisement approaches. According to advertising started from Egypt and the first known advertisement was done in Thebes, which is an ancient Egyptian city, as long as 3,000 years ago. Advertising was made popular with the invention of lithography, a type of printing that uses oil and water, in 1794. The Wall Drug Company on the other hand became the first company to institute a nationwide advertising campaign using billboards in 1931.

In Nigeria advertising business has witnessed tremendous growth especially in recent times. Though the business is witnessing colossal growth, the industry, like most business sectors of the economy, had its humble beginning rooted in colonial history. Advertising development in Nigeria could be traced to 1928 with the birth of West African Publicity Limited. An off shoot of UAC, the company set up to catter for the marketing activities of the colonial masters in both Nigeria and West Africa. This company was later transformed to a full-fledged advertising firm in 1929 known as Lintas with two other subsidaries newly Afromedia, the outdoor medium and Pearl/Dean, the cinema arm. With the setting up of the companies then headed by expertriates. By the later 1970’s however, two ambitious agencies, Rosabel Advertising and Insight Communication, sprang up. The coming of the two agencies which till today are still doing very well strengthened advertisement in Nigeria. Apcon the regulating body in the practice of advertising in the country, started operation in 1990 with the employment of the pioneer registrar in the person of Dr Charles Okigbo.The era of economic restructuring and liberalization opened up the Nigerian business to global economy. Foreign investments started flowing into the economy the expatriates who once left the shores of the land due to the indigenization policy gradually returned. Aside from privatization of mass communication medium, the year 1990’s also witnessed the setting up of private owned media houses which are platforms for advertisement placements.



1.3 Statement of Problem

The most important role of advertising is to sell products, services, ideas, etc. This is also the major aim of using male or female gender in advertising. Although advertising could appear fascinating, the crux of the matter lies in its effectiveness in capturing and sustaining attention and in making consumers take required action by buying the product, idea, opinion or service. In-spite of the many benefits inherent in the use of attractive females and males model in advertising there is a raging argument regarding the efficacy and effectiveness of these attractive models to pass across the intended message to the buyers coupled with the perception of the audience respecting the use of such gender for advertisement(Leo, Elliott, R. and C. Elliott,2013)

It is argued that this gender image of male and female could be teaching the viewers a vast array of social cues, and even the most subtle ones make an impact on the viewers. Further it is said that gender relations are learned through advertisements. Among these learned gender roles are those of femininity and masculinity. Men and women are portrayed in advertisements according to the constructed definition of femininity and masculinity. To be a woman is to be feminine and to be a man is to be masculine. There is little room for variation or a reversal of roles.

The problem associated with the use of male or female gender in advertisements is the portrayal of female gender as sex objects. On the other hand, men are equally portrayed in advertisement as heterosexuals as well as homosexuals.  In a content analysis study of exclusively male images in men’s magazines, it was found that most of the bodies in advertising were not ‘ordinary’, but those of strong and hard ‘male figures’ (Elliott, R. and C. Elliott, 2005). The study showed that males in the advertisements were usually objectified and depersonalized.

Most of the advertisement often time portray the body of female gender as quite plainly ‘prepared for consumption’ by men. These constructions not only reveal the inevitable gender-power relations about the body but also suggest the cultural ambivalence about sexualized bodily display and image management. This sort of ambivalence both idealizes and denigrates individuals’ explicitly performed efforts to produce and portray bodies that conform to societal ‘ideals’.  Against this back drop, this study examines audience perception of the portrayal of gender in Nigeria advertising.

1.4 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to ascertain the perception of audience toward the portrayal of gender use in Local advertisements Content. Other specific purposes are as follows.

  1. To ascertain the extent the audience is aware of the use of male and female gender in Advertisements.
  2.  To find out the extent to which male and female gender are portrayed in Nigeria advertisement?
  3. To investigate which of the gender that is mostly used in advertisement
  4. To ascertain the perceptions of the audience toward the use of male and female gender in advertising.
  5. To ascertain the factors responsible for the use of male and female gender in advertisement.

1.5 Research Questions

The following research questions are posed to guide the study as follows

  1. To what extent are you aware of the use of male and female gender in Advertisement?
  2. To what extent are male and female gender portrayed in Nigeria Advertisement?
  3. Which of the genders are mostly used in advertisement?
  4. What is your perception toward the use of male and female gender in advertisement?
  5. What are the factors responsible for the use of male and female gender in Advertisement?



1.6 Significance of the study

The study is of benefit to marketer of good and services, models used in advertisement and to researchers.

To marketers of goods and services, the findings of the study will enable them have the fore sight into how the audience will perceive their advertised commodities when female or male gender is used as the means of advertising their goods and service. Hence, making them to strategize the best method that will suits their marketing. For models used in advertising the goods, the findings of the study will enlighten them to have the full ideal of how the audience view their use in advertisement. To follower researchers, the findings of the study will serve as source of reference material to them.

1.7 Scope of the study

The scope of the study covers the perception of the audience with regard to male and female gender usage in advertisement. The scope will also cover male and female adult from 18years above which will consist of businessmen and women, students and public and private servant in Awka North and South local government area of Anambra state. In terms of geographical location, the study will cover only Awka south and North local government area of Anambra state.



1.8 Definition of Terms

The purpose of clarity and easy understanding, some of the terms used in this study is defined as used in the study.

  • Advertisements: They are carefully worded messages for the purpose of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcement.
  • Femininity: It is seen as socially defined womanly characteristics like nurturing, emotional, irrational, affectionate nature, dependent, superficial, and tied to the domestic sphere.
  • Gender: It is seen as social or cultural construction of being male or female.
  • Gender representation: It is defined as cultural or social constructions that mirror masculine and feminine roles in our society.
  • Criticisms: The expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes
  • Perception: the views of individual or the audience on a particular issue.

Stereotypy: An image or idea of a particular type of person or thing that has become fixed through being widely held.

Portrayal :  To Describe in a particular way.

Sexuality : A person’s sexual orientation.

Strategize : An effective plan put in place to achieve a purpose.




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