Question: apply concepts of media studies in analysing the dynamic relationship between media and society and the impact of media on individuals.
I selected AXE deodorant and perfume advertisement in TV and Internet as the topic under study. In this report, I am going to analyse the issue which is- How AXE is portraying women as symbol of sexism who gets attracted towards men who use this brand deodorant and perfume? I selected this issue for my study because in many countries Women equality is not there and they are still taken as just to entertain and work for their male as they want. Apart from other factors, Portraying women in advertisement by AXE brand in such manner spreading negative message to society male who due to lack of media education commits sexual crime. It is a serious issue as it is related to women dignity and their safety. So an analysis should be conducted so that such behaviour of male towards female will be controlled and this can be possible with media education. [Deursen, A. J. (2017)]
The study will raise the following arguments- Why TV and Internet media is so influential for society people? Why Axe portray women in their ads? Is it biased media display? How this biasness affects male’s behaviour towards women? How media education will help the viewers to understand media biasness? [ Herman, Edward S et.al1988]
The study will address the questions one by one which will clear the path to understand the propaganda and biasness behind it. Then we will discuss about media education and its relevance to people to locate these window dress and take rational decisions.
Due to greater flexibility, agility and creativity, TV and Internet have more impact on people than any other mode. So, these two are the best medium for the marketers to get maximum attention of people to buy the product and service they are offering. To run an advertisement in television costs around $5000 for 10 seconds on TV. Over internet, it costs around $1-2 per click. This clearly states that advertisement over these medium is a costly affair thus marketers try their level best to make the ads attractive so that more people will look for the product and service.
This pressure makes the marketer sometimes to present ads in fascinating manner without having any such attributes in the product or service. Here what happens next?-
• It is just exaggeration that marketer uses to make people buy the product.
• TV and Internet Ads due to its creative and attractive characteristics create false image of people about themselves.
• People make unrealistic expectation with the product and service marketer offer.
• They become ignorant about the side effect and caution with the product and service and that lead them in trouble.
• These ads increases the impulsiveness of people that lead them to health, financial and social troubles.
• Due to lack of media education, the attitude and behaviour is controlled by ads which lead them to stop thinking rationally, ethically and socially about what is right or wrong? [Almeda University . (2017)]
AXE is basically a brand that carries Male dominance brand personality. Their target market is mostly the age group 15-35 male population who cares for fashion and style. Axe uses the stereotype and monotony promotional strategy where in every ads they show how women get attracted to the male when they use AXE product. Even the taglines like FIND YOUR MAGIC, AXE EFFECT, EVEN ANGELS WILL FALL are symbolising the dominance or uniqueness that male gets after using this brand. The marketing strategy gave huge success to them and they captured almost 72% of US body spray selling shares and become a $2.5 billion brand. [ROSCORLA, T. (2010)]
From a close observation, it can be identified that AXE is trying to present male population as supreme in society who needs to look handsome, attractive, rich and successful with women but their main target is to represent product as sex weapon. [Wordpress Team . (2013)] They believe that age group of 18-30 male want to be successful with female. If they use AXE, female will fall on you. They with every advertisement features women who sways on male after he uses AXE. They believe that young generation (mostly the college going students or bachelors) are more passionate and full of emotion and sexual need is a basic need of them which they try to fulfil and Axe is the product which helps them to do it. By featuring women attractive, seductive and sexiest, they stimulates the sex desire of male with AXE product. Their main motive remains the same to sell more. [Kalkum, A.et.al2012]
Over a long period AXE has been trying to put women as brainless object who are only to please male. AXE in their ads show that the male who uses Axe spreads the message that using this product makes male more attractive to women. This is also called pathos. [Rutherford, P. (2000)]
What Axe is doing is that it is placing the men in that position he is desired to have sex. The ads motivates him to use AXE to get along with the women. The ads are designed in such a manner that it lets the male to think that if they start using Axe, in reality also they are going to fulfil their sex desire. Even if one doesn’t have such desire earlier, by watching ads again and again (3 Hit Theory) it brings out the desire stronger. When the desires get stronger it forces people to chase for it. Thus more and more male consumers are going for AXE brand.
The Axe ad can be categorised as Emotional Propaganda as they are playing with the emotion and passion of male consumers to use the products. [Martins, M. M. D. M. D. (2012)]
At first, it is presenting women in a stereotype manner. To sell the product more and more, AXE marketing team is showing female as an object to please male. They don’t have brains and they get attracted when a man uses Axe product. They are making ads which spreads the message that deodorant or perfume drags the women attention towards you but according to a study 90% of female doesn’t think in that way thus it is a completely a propaganda or biasness by the company to make more revenues. [Baran, S. J. (2010).]
Moreover it is also misrepresenting male in these ads. It is showing that it is the body spray that makes male attractive and women like to see them in that way. But in reality women doesn’t fall on such things but on other attributes like grooming, assertive behaviour, good sense of humour, respect etc.
There is high correlation existence between the ads and its influence on attitude and behaviour on individual. The ads that feature female as sex object are more likely to change the attitude and behaviour of male which leads them to do interpersonal violence. Here are some of the negative impacts that Axe ads have done to society-
• It has created the image of women as “sex object” who are there to please male. Some independent studies have proved that male are buying Axe products mostly with the motive to impress female to fall on him. [Schudson, M. (2013)]
• It is increasing sexual desire among the teenager especially which they try to fulfil anyhow. This leads to sexual crimes like harassment, rape, abusing etc. They don’t understand the right or wrong due to such strong desires.
• Such ads also influence girls who have the same desire and that leads severe mistakes.
• The ads are going against the society principle of gender equality where the male think that they dominate over female in society. Such thinking or attitude results in negative behaviour towards women. [Byerly, C. M.,et.al2008]
• Not only its female that is found to have negative impact but also it is the male who sees others inferior who don’t use AXE product like lack of attitude, style, fashionable etc.
According to a website, it is proved that 76% of people find Axe ads are offensive to women and 84% of female respondent believe that female feel offended in such ads. [Statista Team . (2016).]
The parent company Unilever knows that to remain a market leader, it is important for them to do more promotion and get more and more youth attention. This is the reason they are making it more sensitive. This is clearly a marketing strategy which Axe is using and getting success but this is affecting society people in many ways. This is the reason why there is a need of media education to the people in society. [Grabe, S.et.al2008]
• Identify the propaganda- The people should understand the reason behind such ad campaigns and they should study about the reason behind such ads. In case of Axe this propaganda can be understood with the research about the product.
• Gather full information about the product and compare with what they are displaying in ad to know reality.
• Apply critical Thinking skill in order to understand the benefit of the product from own research not what they show.
• Develop ethical and social education by reading books and other materials.
• Don’t trust always on what we see is true. [Potter, W. J. (2013)]
• If possible, take a course on Media education to improve the reasons behind ad campaigns.
Deursen, A. J. (2017, March 08). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781118783764.wbieme0044/abstract;jsessionid=024D7730AAF1B443D38768065CFA0E60.f01t03?systemMessage=Wiley+Online+Library+is+migrating+to+a+new+platform+powered+by+Atypon%2C+the+leading+provider+of+scholarly+publis
Kemp, N. (2017, April 10). www.campaignlive.co.uk. Retrieved from https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/case-study-axe-redefined-masculinity/1430092
ROSCORLA, T. (2010, November 24). www.centerdigitaled.com. Retrieved from http://www.centerdigitaled.com/policy/10-Steps-to-Strengthen-Digital-and-Media-Literacy.html
Statista Team . (2016). www.statista.com. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/628166/sexism-advertising-usa/
Wordpress Team . (2013, October 11). irenefgoros.wordpress.com. Retrieved from https://irenefgoros.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/the-axe-effect-women-depiction/
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