We are all in awe of the cutting-edge technology that is engulfing the world, whether it be mobile phones, laptop computers, smartwatches, or cars. We are consistently impressed by the innovative ways technology enables us to be both more cautious and carefree at the same time.
Mountain roads, a city at night, or a car splashing across a stream with a thinking and resolute guy in the driver’s seat are popular themes in automotive advertisements. This shows that cars have been portrayed as a more male commodity and are frequently seen mostly through ads on television/online/radio.
So, the big question is Why do most car commercials feature men?
According to studies, 9 out of 10 customers believe car advertising is “too masculine.” Hyper-masculine creativity was disliked by 77% of women and 58% of men. According to these ads, women want safe and affordable vehicles, whilst men prefer fast and exotic vehicles.
- According to evolutionary theory, men were the hunters. They were designed to hunt and capture prey. However, in the 21st century, man does not need to hunt for food, but this is the reality of today’s patriarchal cultures.
- Giving women power is seen as emasculating in our culture, and even pro-feminist men are not excused.
- There are spatial characteristics that facilitate male parking. Women, on the other hand, take an additional 20 seconds to park their cars. Then we must remember that men are more likely than women to be involved in car accidents.
- The larger issue is that the car ads not only impact public opinion on specific subjects but also reflect the public opinion (For eg: Toyota’s Fortuner ‘Made for Men’ ads). It is incredibly disheartening to realise that sexism is a successful marketing tactic in our society.
- From cars to technology, far too many companies continue to neglect women in their marketing, and they suffer as a result.
- Automobile marketers and manufacturers are hesitant to put their products against women. Women continue to have little or no place in the automotive sector. The industry believes that if you position a product against women, men will not buy it.
- According to Maruti Suzuki India, 90% of car buyers are men, a stark contrast to the 50:50 ratio in the United States. As per car purchasing, Indian women have not made as much progress and that is why, when developing brand and media strategy, most Manufacturers consider the Target audience to be male, aged 24 to 40 years.
- Women have few opportunities, but their aspirations are strong. Women do want to drive a Bullet or a Harley Davidson, but couldn’t due to societal pressure or no encouragement from the men around.
Note: Sexism hampers the possibility of equality for men and women, which is an issue in our culture. According to the WFA research, 25% of advertisements feature exclusively men, while only 5% feature solely women. Unilever research from 2015 revealed that 40% of women do not relate to the women they see in advertisements.
Stereotypical Sexist Car Ads:
- Car ads aimed at men depict women as sexual objects, whereas men are independent, wealthy, powerful, and domineering. The cars are more flashy and opulent here.
- Car ads aimed at women depict women as motherly characters performing domestic activities (taking kids to school, running errands, etc). Cars are smaller, safer, and cuter here.
What can be done?
Creating gender and ethnic diversity to match the consumer base would be one step toward changing the business landscape.
Car businesses continue to objectify women (e.g., BMW India, 2017 ad) to market to male customers, which is problematic in and of itself. Because an automobile is not a gendered thing, why market to only one gender? Do women not drive? One can only hope that vehicle corporations realise the hidden motivations underlying their advertisements and grasp the repercussions.
Also Read: Why do We Enjoy Driving?