Ava Fabric Softener

Date: January 1, 1970
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The billboard is an advertisement of a brand of fabric softenet, AVA. The advertisements shows a woman whose upper body is covered with roses. A butterfly is dancing around. At the bottom of the advert is the packaging for the softener with a picture of a woman and a baby.

This advertisement may be used to:
Demonstrate subtle gender stereotypes, particularly related to gender diviisions of labour.
Trainer’s notes
In the Mirror on the Media Advertising research conducted by GL both the women and the men found the advertisement reinforces views about the role of women in society.  Indoor household products are typically associated with women. The female focus group found that this advertisement
reinforces stereotypes by assigning the role of the woman to washing clothes. Men in the focus group said that such adverts also imply that men
do not care about clean clothes.

As both women and men need fabric softener why should the advertisement show only a woman?  This was a question asked by both male and female focus groups. The packaging of the softener also shows a caring mother with a baby. Men are completely absent from this advertisement. The fact that the woman is wearing a top of just flowers, could also be considered sexual.

Discussion Questions
Refer to the advertisement and discuss
1. How this advertisement reinforces gender roles of women.
2. Should men be left out in household chores?
3. What kind of picture would you suggest to break the gender stereotypes
4. How the advert may have been done differently.
Read "Learning to be a Dad" (below), and discuss:
1. Is this man likely to use household products ? Which ones ?
2. Would he be likey to be attracted to the above mentioned advertisement?
Training exercises
1. Have participants review newspapers/ magazines for advertisements that either reinforce or challenge gender stereotypes. Do some adverts challenge steretypes, what makes them a good marketing strategy?
2. Bring in a selection of household products. Tell participants that due to increasing competition they, as advertising executives, have been tasked with expanding market share of their client’s line of these products by appealing to both men and women. In groups, have participants design an advertisment that challenges stereotypes and apeals to both genders, based on a sound marketing reasoning. Each group should present a visual image of the advert (either a drawn mock-up or created from cut outs from magazines) as well as explain why they chose that strategy.
Additional training resources
Picture our Lives: Gender and Images in Southern Africa, Chapter three, p32, Archetype, or Stereotype?
This section is very relevant to subtle stereotypes that reinforce the way things are and that we are often more comfortable with. Are these archetypes or stereotypes? When does an archetype become a stereotype? What is the effect of this?
Related GL Commentaries

Download : Ava Fabric softenerWEB

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