German ads misrepresent female shoppers

16 May 2012

BERLIN: Advertisers in Germany are seen by many female shoppers as misrepresenting their attitudes, appearance and abilities, a study has revealed.

MediaAnalyzer, the research firm, polled 1,000 women, 46% of which thought females were generally shown as a wife or mother in ads.

Another 45% stated that these portrayals typically regarded them as controlling all household spending, falling to 12% for being the mainstay when it came to guaranteeing familial welfare.

Elsewhere, 34% of the sample stated that commercials frequently represented members of their gender as "objects", either by only using models (15%), relying on nudity (12%) or solely being concerned with their appearance  (9%).

Meanwhile, 26% reported that women were presented as having "lesser" abilities, either as they were "silly" (8%), not able to drive or park (8%), and dependent or inept with technology (3% each).

For 34% of interviewees, the presentation of "scantily clad" women was negative as it presented false ideals or values. Another 29% found that such ads were often aesthetically attractive.

An additional 20% asserted that the models used were too thin, whereas 7% were "motivated" to try and improve their own figure, and 4% felt "uncomfortable" about their body shape.

Overall, however, only 24% of interviewees claimed they were "bothered" by how females were depicted in ads, whereas 76% were not as concerned.

Data sourced from MediaAnalyzer; additional content by Warc staff