Behaviour Change

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

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"The husband pleasing coffee"


This advert was shown throughout the sixties and advertises Folgers coffee. This would be bad if it was shown in today’s society where women have more rights as this selection of clips from the televised advertisements show outrageous scenes of chauvinism from the male characters in the scenes. When these adverts were shown in the 60’s women still had minimal rights and the majority were housewives and mothers and did not have careers or aspirations, where the man was the bread winner. Examples of sexism in this collection of adverts are the supermarket attendant (male) shouts out to the women of the store that they should buy the new ‘husband pleasing coffee’. The advert also suggests that the husband will have sex with the woman because of her ‘good coffee’. In today’s society this would be considered degrading and sexist. Everywhere we turn, even nowadays, adverts are telling us how to be the perfect man or woman and this was especially prominent during the 60’s where televised advertising was just becoming big business. This sort of imagery is known as ‘iron maiden’ imagery where sex and sexual discontent fuels the engines of the consumer culture. Advertising is used to encourage men to measure their women against an unattainable, imaginable ideal.
By suggesting that women are the consumers as they go out and buy the coffee, yet also suggesting that it is the men that drink the coffee, the advert seems to be confusing its own target market. A study by Kuruvilla et al (2009) looked at the differences between men and women’s buying behaviour and found that there are significant differences in shopping behaviour that can be ascribed to gender, there are fundamental questions about stereotyping of shopping as a feminine activity, which was a popular technique in advertising in the sixties, when women did the shopping and men were at work. This is relevant research when you see that the advert is trying to appeal to both males and females.
An early study in the 80’s (Barry, Gilly & Doran, 1985) investigated whether different ‘types’ of women (homemakers and career minded women) were persuaded by different types of advertisements. They did this by using different adverts in a popular magazine (Woman), one which would appeal to both types of woman and asked them to rate which one appealed the most to them. They found that the career minded woman was, in fact, most persuaded and attracted to the more career minded advert and the housewife was more attracted and persuaded to buy the magazine by the advert that was supposed to appeal mostly to housewives. So, perhaps, this advert actually got it right as it certainly aims to persuade the ‘housewife’ of the 60’s to buy their husbands Folgers coffee, at a time when most women were housewives and there were not that many career-minded women, and, if there were, they did not have many rights to do something about it.  

Barry, T. E., Gilly, M. C., & Doran, L. E. (1985). Advertising to women with different career orientations. Journal of advertising research, 25 (2), 26 – 35.

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