Stereotypes in Advertising

  • 7 november 2019
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Stereotyping is a very important cognitive process that helps to create the illusion of world stability and perceive every particular thing as something determined, limited and understandable. The main problem connected with stereotypes is that unconscious offers an easy way of worldview and leads to inaccuracy because humans interpret processes through their most bright side. Scholars working at exclusive papers use three main theories to interpret the nature of stereotyping: complexity-extremity theory, assumed characteristics theory and expectancy-violation theory. Each of these theories contradicts with other two in many details, so the main conclusion from their analyzing is that people like everything habitual and do not like everything strange. Besides, when something strange wins the trust of people, it becomes more attractive than some habitual things which lost this trust.

Stereotyping is naturally used by humans, so the main question connected with stereotypes’ use in advertising is in what degree stereotyping can be naturally combined with its controlled version. The first is generated by human’s relation with the world when the second – by human’s relation with different ads that have commercial reason to determine human behavior. According to Jerome R. Cosgrove’s research concerning stereotype images of women from advertising, “the media socialize women into a more limited lifestyle than men”.

In my opinion, marketers must be very careful using stereotypes in advertising because they often create a vicious circle. When they overuse some stereotypes, they make it more stable and more habitual for society. That is why advertising, especially in the modern global society, must contain no information which can increase existing contradictions between different groups of people. Stereotyping is a natural process which can make some positive or negative influence on society depending on marketers’ social responsibility (Lindstrom, 2011).


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