Positive Portrayal of Women in TV Ads


Kouser Noor Fathima
Asst. Professor
Department of Business Administration
AMC Engineering College


Advertising is a paid form of non personal communication used to persuade audience to buy a product. Advertising is to stimulate one to take action on a message to buy something. Advertising that can create awareness, arouse interest, stir desire and persuade convincingly to take action can have great impact on sales of the product. There are many different ways of advertising like advertising through Television, Radio, Newspaper, Billboards, Hoardings, Magazines, Text messaging, Bus shelters, Pop-ups etc. But the main focus of advertising are generally through Television, Radio and Print based, we see them every day and everywhere. But the most effective impact on viewers mind is left by television ads.

A product needs an effective ad to attract people and make good competition. Advertising has become a part of producer's lives to win consumer's hearts. Marketers use advertising not only to persuade the audience to buy their product but also to advertise their products to their near ones, and if successful the non viewers as well become their customers. In an attempt to communicate the merits of their products or brands, advertisers have often chosen to use endorsements as a promotional strategy. As they have different strategies of promoting their products; one of the strategies they focus is employ women in promoting the products. Companies frequently exercise women as spokespersons to deliver their advertising messages and convince consumers of their brands. The use of women is one of the most successful ways of gaining the consumer's attention and getting her to infer the right message in a limited amount of space and time. Women endorsement has indeed become a universal characteristic of modern marketing.


If we read through the earlier theories, they are mainly focused on negative aspects of women portrayal in media. When we talk about women in ads generally negative concepts occupy our mind. Many authors also have spoken only about negative representation of women in television ads. They speak about women exploitation in media, women shown as show piece, women used as sex objects etc. Viewing the earlier theories one can always zero in on the optimistic study of the women projection. This part of the article highlights on the positive portrayal of women in ads by advertisers to promote and persuade audience towards their products.

As the earlier studies, where authors have focused the negative portrayal of women in ads, one may tend to have the same perception even now as one might say to oneself that women are projected just as sex objects. We can certainly agree with the point but things have improved over the years, take the examples of Health drinks, Detergent cakes and powders, soaps, medicine, cosmetics, mobike advertisements on television they have represented women in a very vigorous way, very energetic, dynamic, strong and enthusiastic wherein it will definitely have a positive impact on society. Human tendency is they connect themselves to something positive. These ads show women neatly dressed, family bound, persuading women to have aspirations, and achieve them etc. Women will connect themselves to these ads depending on which category they belong to. Women representation in ads have changed from stereotypical to go getting attitude, take the example of Santoor deodorant ad wherein the lady runs, jumps and reaches office before her male colleague to give a presentation. Take the example of fair and lovely ads wherein a dark skinned woman uses the product to lighten her skin tone and first rates to become an airhostess and a commercial featuring film star Genelia D'souza wherein she desires to become a commentator. All these ads are showing woman as having aspirations and nothing can stop them in achieving it. Almost all ads except few deodorant ads have shown women in a positive light. 

Off late but media has realized that woman is the most respectable personality in India than in any other country and the way they are projected in recent TV ads is different and has changed over the years. People still want to see women as homemakers neatly dressed in saris and salwars. This virtual thought of audience has been caught by advertisers and project women as expected by audience, the mere base remaining the same that is to persuade audience to buy their products. If we see the latest ads of this generation whether it's related to electronic items, home appliances, cosmetics or health drinks women are projected in a very encouraging beam.

Depiction of women in advertisements has changed and it is becoming healthier over the time. In most of the advertisements of recent times, a woman is projected as confident, extrovert, dominant and having go getting attitude rather than just portraying them stereotypically as being a homemaker washing clothes, utensils, cooking, taking care of  family members etc.

Of course one cannot deny the fact that there are some deodorant ads which depict women as lustily craving for men and the portrayal of women in these ads is blatantly vulgar. It is stinking offensive but I feel it's the women in those ads to be blamed. They should not accept such assignments which is defamation to womanhood.


The projection of women in television ads has always been controversial and a matter of debate. As believed advertisements have a greater impact on audience so the way women are portrayed in ads should be positive. And no doubt as said earlier advertisers have understood this and are fencing a proper line especially for ads employing women. Advertisements affect the consumption pattern of the consumers. The presence of female model in the advertisement also influences the liking of a particular product. Advertisements should be more educative, informative and product oriented, it should be family oriented and should contain a bit of humor in it. Women should be presented in different roles; she should not be projected only as product user but also as product maker. In advertisements, portrayal of women should not be vulgar and the product should be given more emphasis than the female model. In conclusion women should be shown as confident, independent and empowered individuals in future advertisements.


Bahuguna, N. 1997. "Women as Stereotype." Vidura,34(2): 10-13.

Kilbourne, J. 1990. "Beauty and the Beast of Advertising."

http//www. Beauty and the Beast of Advertising.htm

Laughin, M and A. Gaulet. 1999. "Stereotype Portrayal of Women in the Media."

http//www. Womenmedia watch.org.html.

Malhotra, S. and N. Rogers 2002. Changing Female.

Kouser Noor Fathima
Asst. Professor
Department of Business Administration
AMC Engineering College

Source: E-mail August 16, 2011


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