Category: English HL

Use and Challenging of Stereotypes in the Media

Target Advertisement

Image taken from: http://www.melbarti.com/index.php#mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&s=2&p=0&a=0&at=0

Advertisement plays a key role in our lives, yet often goes unnoticed. They constantly surround us, and yet too often we fail to recognize the influence they have on our subconscious. One advertisement that interested me (Image above), was  from Target and was made in the late 2000’s, from Kranky Productions in America. Its target audience is what I believe to be 30-45 (middle) aged women who have children/family and are most likely unemployed, as the subject represents this category. These features are commonly linked to the label of a “stereotypical housewife”.  The ad would appeal to those with a middle income, as spending money on health items is a luxury however Target is a brand that is known for its low prices. By promoting a healthy lifestyle, Target is attempting to inspire women/mothers to buy health products form their brand.

The structure has the main subject on the left hand side, followed by the heading, followed by  informational text on the right. This strategic move draws the reader’s eyes  to the subject and therefore to the heading, and as the reader reads the title from left to right they are connected with the text on the right. The use of an African American woman as the main subject is strategic as this racial group is a minority in America and this would appeal to them.

The font type is very similar to Helvetica Neue, and is an effective choice to further emphasize the image of the advertisement being very clean-cut and professional. The main heading of “Live love weight lifting” is large and white, centered over the woman. White was chosen to add to the overall image of positivity and brightness in the image (as compared to black which would’ve significantly darkened the advertisement). On the right is a paragraph with more detail about the products. The amount of text in the heading is effective as it is simply a combination of short, easy words that capture the attention of the reader. The paragraph on the right is also effective as the sentences are short and therefore do not intimidate the reader. By having the heading on the left, the reader is drawn to the text on the right as they finish reading the heading.

The colours are bright (greens, blues, women’s clothing is pink). The sky resembles good weather providing a bright and happy atmosphere. The focus is on the woman, whose bright clothing of warm colours stands out against the cool colours of the background, and  the large white title that crosses her. She is positioned towards the left although the image continues as a background for the whole advertisement. The viewpoint is from a level point of view with the subject, as she looks directly in the camera it gives the audience the perspective of the woman actually recognizing them. The setting/location of the ad is a plain suburban one, with a bright green hedge continuing the length of the image, with a clear blue sky. These alludes to positivity and healthiness, adding to the image of the product.

Literary techniques include repetition. There is a repetition of the letter L in the title with “long live weight lifting” which helps capture the readers attention. There is more alliteration of the letter L in the paragraph  (“long… liv… lives… life”). Additionally, the repetition of the common saying “Long live…”allows the reader to connect/recognise with the ad. The repetition of “happy” in the last sentence with “happy body… happy spirit.., longlivehappy”. The repetition of happy brings a positive energy to the advertisement, and by the final sentance repeating the heading however inserting the word happy in replacement with “weight lift” it creates a connection in the readers mind that “weight lifting” and the health products that Target is trying to sell, with the emotion of “happy”, subconsciously influencing readers to believe that one is directly connected to the other.

This advertisement is a prime example of the use of stereotypes to appeal to an audience. The woman in the photo can be perceived as one that doesn’t work (she isn’t wearing a business suit etc.) and fits the materialistic image of the woman always holding the baby and being the one that cares about the health etc. of the family. Whilst it appears to challenge stereotypes by using the word “weightlifting” which is not commonly associated with mothers, they are still schemingly using gender stereotypes.