Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kinder Bueno - Misandric Advert


Communications agency "Krow" came up with this spot for Kinder Bueno. The advert somewhat reverses the trend of objectifying women in advertising that has been condemned by consumers, through placing the male gender in the comedy role. This concept has received critical reception from viewers, who feel that whilst it causes uproar when women are depicted negatively in adverts, the same cannot be said for men. Gulas and Weinberger (2010) use disposition theory (Zillmann, & Cantor, 1996) to demonstrate why people may be uncomfortable with sexist adverts. In simple terms, the theory states that humour is perceived if we have an unfavourable disposition towards the person being mocked. This is extended to in-group and out-group theory, suggesting that men are more likely to find adverts in which women are mocked acceptable, and vice versa.
Ford, LaTour and Lundstrom (1991) sent out surveys to over 800 female participants and analysed 296 usable responses about companies. They found that 63% of participants responded positively to various questions, which were collated into a “would you discontinue buying this product if it adopted an ad campaign I deemed offensive” category, in relation to conditions of offensiveness such as “women treated as sex objects”. This supports disposition theory in relation to women finding sexist attitudes to women in adverts offensive. However, in another study, when presented with an advert involving a man receiving “unfair” treatment with humour involved, many of the women were not offended (Hedderman, 2012), as they commented that it was “a bit of fun”.

It is reasonable to suggest that, according to disposition theory, Kinder Bueno isolated and offended a large proportion of their male (and indeed, female) consumer base through this campaign, which I would argue, makes it unsuccessful. It is worth imagining the same scenario that the advert depicts, but with a woman in the man's role; the advert would be deemed unacceptable.

Ford, J. B., LaTour, M. S., & Lundstrom, W. J. (1991). Contemporary women's evaluation of female role portrayals in advertising. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 8(1), 15-28.
Gulas, C. S., & Weinberger, M. G. (2010). That’s Not Funny Here: Humorous Advertising Across Boundaries1. Translation, Humour and the Media: Translation and Humour, 2, 17.
Hedderman, M. (2012). Is the Stereotypical Portrayal of Males in British Television Advertising Changing the Attitudes and Behaviours of Women in Society Towards Men? Women in Society, 3, 2042-7239.
Zillmann, D., & J. R. Cantor (1996). A Dispositional Theory of Humor and Mirth. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

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