Aims of the Dissertations
The steady economic growth and increasing political stability in the Middle East has set it up as a market targeted by many of the top global brands aspiring to have a portion of the business. As a result of this increased focus, there have been activities and developments to open up opportunities for businesses. These activities have centered on marketing, development, and distribution of new products.
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Marketing forms an essential part of all business ventures. The success of any business is dependent on its marketing strategies. The past decade has seen businesses in Saudi Arabia invest heavily in marketing to attract potential buyers to consume their products.
As competition for market share intensifies, many companies have opted to take their marketing strategies a notch higher by using models, actors, and celebrities to promote their products. However, the effectiveness of using women in advertisements is yet to be established considering the high levels of male chauvinism in Saudi Arabia.
This report aims to establish if the use of women in an advertisement is effective in influencing chauvinist males in Saudi Arabia to buy products and the extent of this effectiveness (Al-Olayan & Karande 2000). To arrive at its findings, the report will employ the use of both primary and secondary research strategies.
A critical review of literature on the subject will be carried out to establish research gaps and to develop strong and credible background information on the subject. The literature review will encompass concluded research work on the influence of women on men in Saudi Arabia, the extent to which women are used in advertisements, and consumer perceptions.
Information for literature review will be gathered from credible journals, books, websites, databases, newspapers, and magazines. These will act as the background for revealing the gaps for focusing on the study’s objectives. Multiple data collection methods will be employed, as they have been proven to be effective. As such, questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups will be used to collect data for analysis and evaluation.
The results shall be processed through the use of one way analysis of variance to realize the attitudes and perceptions regarding the use of women in advertising in Saudi Arabia. Further analysis involving the relationships between the different variables shall be done through correlation and regression measures.
Theatrical Back Ground
Advertising is one of the most widely relied upon forms of sales promotion. Advertisements may serve to draw attention to a new product, encourage the use of older ones, and get entrance and acceptance to new market or niche markets. In this competition to gain attention and draw consumers to the advertised item, the advertisers are desperately competing to produce the best adverts so as to draw the attention of the unsuspecting consumers (Erdem 1998).
The key ingredient to successful advertising is being able to communicate the value of the product or service so that it elicits the desire for the advertised commodity and assure the consumer that the product has the capacity to respond to that very need. The second ingredient is that advertisement must achieve the goal of the advertisers since advertising is expensive. To capture consumer attention, most adverts focus on emotions of fear, humour, contrast, worth, novelty, music or sexual arousal.
The use of women as sex objects in advertisement is a well-documented one (Walters 2008; Waller 2000). However, for any advertisement to succeed it must fit within the context of the moral, social and religious practices of the target market. The extra conservative and male chauvinistic market of Saudi Arabia presents a tricky situation for the Western advertisements and especially the use of women in advertising (Bjerke & Polegato 2006).
The Research Objectives
This work aims at the following objectives:
- To determine the factors affecting the choice of women in advertisements by businesses in Saudi Arabia.
- To determine the consumers perceptions and attitudes towards the use of sexy women in advertisements in Saudi Arabia.
- To determine the trends in the use of women in advertisement over the last 10 years in Saudi Arabia.
- To determine the nature and context of the role women play in advertisements in Saudi Arabia.
- What are the main factors affecting the choice of women in advertisement in Saudi Arabia?
- What are the major perceptions and attitudes of the consumers regarding the use of women in advertisements in Saudi Arabia?
- What are the trends regarding the use of women in advertisements in Saudi Arabia?
- What is the nature and context of the roles played by women in advertisements in Saudi Arabia?
The Sampling Design and Framework
A set of 30 questions shall be presented to respondents from which they will respond on a 5 five point hedonic scale ranging from 1 to 5; (where 1=dislike extremely and 5 =Like extremely). The first ten shall focus on the factors affecting the choice of women for use in advertisements in Saudi Arabia. Questions 10-20 shall focus on the perceptions and attitudes of the consumers on the use of women in advertisements in Saudi Arabia.
Questions 20-25 shall deal with the notable trends regarding the use of women in advertisements in Saudi Arabia. The last five questions are targeted to investigate the various roles and contexts in which women are used in advertisements in Saudi Arabia.
Respondents shall then be grouped on the basis of demographic representations such as: age, educational background, marital status, profession, gender, number of children, occupation, and religion. Sampling frame shall encompass the respondents randomly selected from the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.
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The simple random sampling technique shall be used to target a sample size of 400 to 650 persons. A response rate of at least 80.5% shall be accepted. The questionnaires shall be filled by the respondents themselves but limited help will be given by researcher only where it is absolutely necessary.
The reliability analysis model (the Cronbach alpha reliability analysis model) will be used as a tool to determine and confirm the reliability of the questionnaires. The descriptive statistics will be used in the evaluation of the standard deviations for the 30 questionnaires to give the various levels of importance to the respondents’ answers. The ANOVA table precisely will be used to show the direct effects of the major independent variables.
These variables, noted as culture, control, emotions, and women appeal or attitudes as shall be used as a test of the significance of the model. Both the regressing and correlation models shall be employed to understand the relationship between the factors responsible for the use of women in advertisement as well as the trends observed in their use (Baker & Churchill 1977).
Brief Literature Review
Advertisements often use sex appeal as a tool to affect the cognitive responses and attitudes toward advertisement in order to enhance brand credentials on the mind of the consumers leading to increased likelihood of purchase. The attention seeking may be desirable or a turn off especially where the advertisement clashes with the cultural, moral, and religious views of the target market.
Human beings it has been argued, possess a sense of rationality and that they will make a wise choice based on the presented information (Ajzen & Fishbein 1980). However, it is apparent that there must also be positive pressure and that any contentions present are not at all effective with the consumer.
The advertisers therefore concentrate on effects of emotions of fear, humour, worth, novelty, difference, animation, sexual arousal or music. It is through this rationalization that sexual appeal has been exploited as a tool for sales promotion. Specifically, women are used in a manner that exploits sexual nudity, sexual imagery, innuendo or the use of double entendre (Reichert 2002).
Furthermore, Courtney and Whimpple (1983), suggest that the use of sexual appeal in advertisements has always taken the form of nudity, physical arousal, sexual behaviors and interactions as well as other important factors such as setting context and the use of camera effects. There have been a series of reported misrepresentation of women in advertisements observed in many countries.
The issue has raised several theories why women are used in advertisement. According to the sexist theory, women do not like advertisements as much as men do. It therefore suggests that human beings often give up something they in exchange of a product superior to whatever they given out. This implies that since men are the ones most affected by advertisements, women are used to play to this desire.
This then elicits sensual feelings to arouse desire for a particular product or service. Furthermore, it has been suggested that in some situations, women get into advertisements and allow themselves be used due to poverty. Much as this may be true, there is also recognition of psychological reason for this phenomenon. Some women who are well off may indulge in sensual advertisement for purposes of demonstrating a sense of liberation, independence, and power.
From this perspective, the whole idea would be to achieve a sense of psychological satisfaction. In addition, there has been an association of the use of women in advertisement with the rise and speed of globalization. Specifically, the bridging of barriers between the West and the East has accorded the citizens in the Middle East the opportunity to experience the life of the West.
This has had influence particularly among young people and specifically on the teenage girls who desire to ape the sophisticated culture of the West. Lastly, the current business environment seems to thrive on the idea of increased consumerism at whatever cost. This consumerism culture has fueled the cut throat competition witnessed in advertisements thus propelling the use women playing sensual roles (Clow & Baack 2009).
The challenge to most companies attracted to the emerging markets of the Middle East, is the ability to customize their sales promotion tools and especially advertisements to capture the acceptable conducts of the people. Balancing between the use of women sensually in advertisements with the religious and cultural practices is the challenge every business has to face.
The cultural practices of the communities in Saudi Arabia consider women lowly and their use as suggestive objects to arouse male desire is a taboo. This discrepancy stands in the way of businesses’ successful entry and exploitation of this market segment (Das 2000). Some studies have aimed at the realization of better ways to reach out to the Middle East market that do not raise much controversy.
The fact is any adverts raising major controversies will always prove counterproductive. The focus has been on advertisers’ ability to customize their adverts to the specific niche market rather than assume a global appeal. This customization may take several forms including placing women in advertisement roles that are traditionally acceptable.
For example, women may always be presented in a home environment and among men, rather than as independent, self-asserting individuals. The other way that may be applied is to invoke the religious practices of the people. The Muslim community is extremely conservative and does not like extravagance and pomp. Adverts which are designed to appeal to better utilization of resources and modesty will be more effective at achieving a desired outcome more than those that use women as sexual objects.
Apart from the appeal to conservative nature of the consumers, it has also been suggested that higher effectiveness with advertisements may be achieved through appeal to humour, fairness, morality, and incentives strategy. The truth of the matter is that there will be a continued growth in business and advertisements in the Middle East as the global and local firms compete for a share of the market.
The rapid expansion in the media and the wide spread communication are grounds enough for enhanced activity in advertising. However, all this development is taking place against a backdrop of a strict, male chauvinistic culture that does not look kindly upon women displaying any sexual undertones. This work will determine the value placed on women in advertisements in Saudi Arabia and particularly the attitudes and perceptions of the consumers on this matter (Waller 2005).
The work will deal in documents available in public domain and advertisement agencies plus a collection of past and present advertisements on TV, cinemas, newspapers, magazines, cartons, paintings, billboards and internet. Much of the current advertisement uses the platforms being developed within the context of expanding media to reach consumers.
The study will therefore take advantage of this development. The matrix below gives a layout of the time plan for the conception to implementation of the project.
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