Ads objectifying women started a whole lot longer ago than the ones objectifying men. And they only did so because the ones objectifying women work. It happens so much less with men.
I don’t know if it happens more or less with women or men, but if it does happen more to one or the other, do you know why?
Because marketers want to make money.
People who market products do something called market segmentation. The idea is, you can never create the ultimate advertisement that every gender, age group, religious ideology, political stance, etc will be equally inclined to open their wallets for. Different things in an advertisement appeal to different people. So marketers divide the total viewing audience into segments, based on various things. Gender and age are the main ones. If you’ve ever looked at TV ratings, you’ll have probably noticed how everyone seems obsessed with the age 18-49 demographic. That’s because research has proven that the 18-49 demographic is most likely to:
- Have disposable income.
- Be willing to spend it.
So, TV shows clamor for their viewing attention, so they’ll end up watching the commercials and generate income for those companies.
In terms of advertisements like THIS, some products or services appeal more to men, or to women. So, marketers will make the choice to use imagery and themes that appeal far more to one and less to the other, because their research and projections tell them that this strategy will make them more money than a more neutral advertisement that appeals equally to men and women. Apparently, Budweiser feels this way for marketing to men, and diet coke feels this way for marketing to women.
And why might this happen more for one gender or the other, if it does, I wouldn’t know? Because the marketers may feel/have researched that, in terms of looking at sexy people, men or women may enjoy this theme more than the other. Or maybe they enjoy that theme generally the same, but perhaps the marketers feel that men or women may have advertising themes that they actually enjoy MORE than looking at sexy people. Remember, the number one goal is to make MONEY. If the marketers feel that the product will sell the most to their target demographic if it involves bikini women or topless men, that’s what they’ll use. But if they feel that there’s something that will sell to their target demo even MORE than that, they’ll use that instead, which may explain any theoretical disparity between the number of scantly clad commercials marketed towards men and women.
Put down the women’s studies textbook and pick up a marketing one. The world will make so much more sense.