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Tide - Media Studies Cheat Sheet by

Media Studies Eduqas cheat sheet for the set product of Tide.

Set Product

Product Context

Product created by
Procter & Gamble
Launched in
Advert­ising agency used
Print and Radio
The main character used was
The Housewife

Historical Context

The consumer boom saw a large increase in the develo­pment of domestic techno­logies.
Vacuum cleaners, washing machines etc. all became desirable products for the 1950s consumer.
Products linked to new techno­logies therefore also developed during this time

Cultural Context

Print adverts from the 1950s conven­tio­nally used more copy.
Consumer culture was still developing with many new brands and products entering markets. Therefore potential customers typically needed more inform­ation about them than a modern audience.

Media Language - Barthes

Enigma Code
Suspense is created through the enigma of “what women want”
Proairetic Code
Emphasise is created by multiple exclam­ation marks
Semantic Code
Hearts above the main image connote love
Symbolic Code
Hyperbole and superl­atives (“Mira­cle”, “World’s cleanest wash!”, “World’s whitest wash!”) to highlight the power of the product.

Codes and Conven­tions

Primary colours
Positive connot­ations as the colours are bright and happy
Headings, subhea­dings and slogans in a sans-serif font
Connoting an informal mode of address
Comic strip style image
Reinforces the informal address with informal lexis like “sudsing whizz”
'Techn­ical’ details of the product in a serif font
Connoting it to be more ‘serious’ or ‘factual’ inform­ation
Z-line and a rough rule of thirds can be applied to its compos­ition

Media Language - Lévi-S­trauss

“Tide gets clothes cleaner than any other washday product you can buy!” and “There’s nothing like Procter and Gamble’s Tide”, reinforces the binary opposition between Tide and its commercial rivals.
It’s also “unlike soap,” gets laundry “whiter… than any soap or washing product known” and is “truly safe” – all of which connotes that other products do not offer these qualities.

Social and Political Contexts

In the 1950s women were the primary market for the techno­logies being developed for the home.
Stereo­typical repres­ent­ations of domestic perfection and subser­viance to men became linked to the more modern need for conven­ience and a better quality of life.

Constr­ucted Repres­ent­ations

Dress code of the main character includes a stereo­typical 1950s hairstyle, made fashio­nable by contem­porary film stars such as Veronica Lake. Shorter hair was practical as long hair was hazardous for women working with machinery.
The headband worn also links to the practi­cal­ities for women during this era. Having her hair held back connotes she’s focused on her work, though this is perhaps binary opposed to the full make-up that she's wearing.

Theore­tical perspe­ctives

The images of domest­icity in the comic strip constructs a scenario familiar to the audience as a repres­ent­ation of their own lives.
Women repres­ented act as role models of domestic perfection that the audience may want to construct their identity against.
Van Zoonen
During the war, women’s role in society changed, taking up 'male roles' while the men were away at war. However this advert doesn't represent this new society and reverts back to women being in the domestic sphere. Therefore not conforming to Van Zoonen's theory that the media contribute to social change by repres­enting women in non-tr­adi­tional roles.
Argues that lighter skinned women fit better into the western ideology of beauty, the advert could be seen to reinforce this by only repres­enting “modern”, white women.

Social Context

Women's roles in society did change during the War however domestic products of the 1950s continued to be aimed at female audiences.
The main target audience was increa­singly affluent lower-­middle class women because of their supposed need for innovative domestic techno­logies.

Theore­tical perspe­ctives

The indirect mode of address made by the woman in the main image connotes that her relati­onship with the product is of prime import­ance. This is the hegemonic encoding of the advert’s primary message that should be received by the audience.
The Tide advert aims to cultivate the ideas that it is the brand leader. Gerbner’s theory would argue that the repetition of this key message causes audiences to align their own ideologies with them.

Targeting Audiences and Audience interp­ret­ation

The endors­ement from Good Housek­eeping Magazine makes them an Opinion Leader, reinfo­rcing the quality of Tide.
The preferred reading of the advert’s lexical fields “trust”, “truly safe”, “miracle”, “nothing like” is that, despite being “new”, Tide provides solutions to the audience’s needs.
The likely audience is constr­ucted through the advert’s use of women with whom they might personally identify, young women in the domestic sphere.


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