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How do print adverts differ according to whether the audience is male or female?

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 James Noton        

How do print adverts differ according to whether the audience is male or female?


1. Intro

In the society that we live in today it seems that everywhere we look we are surrounded by advertisements, whether they are television commercials, billboards or press advertisements.  Obviously, the main purpose of advertisements is to get the consumer to purchase the product in question, the message within the advert has to be as persuasive as possible and ensure that certain emotions, feelings and values are awakened in the consumer.  Print advertisements are an extremely effective way to reach a mass audience.  Obviously- because the advertisements are in print, the use of colour, text and photography are all key factors in ensuring a successful campaign.

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Advertising tends to follow a basic format - a slogan or a striking image catches our attention, the body of the ad contains more factual information about the product, and a pack shot or logo reinforces the brand identity. The combination of these elements leaves the audience with an impression of the values that are attached to that brand, and a sense of who the target audience for the product is, for example whether the audience is male or female. The language used goes some way to create these perceptions.

2. Aim

The aim of this module is to apply knowledge of conceptual frameworks to a small research project in a chosen aspect of spoken or written English in use.

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The linguist Goodwin, for example, found that males use more direct commands in speech. He believed that boys and girls used different strategies in speech. Boys focus on power and are leader dominated. Girls are more inclusive in speech. I aim to find if companies use these strategies to reach the desired gender.

In order to produce a successful investigation I need to conduct a stylistic analysis of each advert. Hopefully I will discover that certain lexis and semantic fields appear more in different adverts. The results should directly relate to gender speech. I predict for example that more emotive adjectives appear in adverts aimed at women.

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