Product created by
Procter & Gamble
Advertising agency used
Print and Radio
The main character used was
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
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
Suspense is created through the enigma of “what women want”
Emphasise is created by multiple exclamation marks
Hearts above the main image connote love
Hyperbole and superlatives (“Miracle”, “World’s cleanest wash!”, “World’s whitest wash!”) to highlight the power of the product.
Codes and Conventions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.