ERIC Number: ED264827
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Character Portrayals and Social Values in TV Commercials.
Scheibe, Cynthia L.; Condry, John C.
In order to investigate the nature of character portrayals in U.S. television commercials, a content analysis was done on a random sample of 2,604 U.S. television commercials which were videotaped in March 1981. This analysis included both demographic characteristics and more subtle aspects of gender differences, such as concerns, relationships with others, and social power. Each commercial was analyzed by four trained coders (three female, one male) and demographic information on 6,500 characters compared with 1980 U.S. Census data. Commercials were found to significantly underrepresent females, teenagers, the elderly, all racial minorities, and all non-professional occupations except farming. Women were portrayed in occupational roles more often (23.6%) than as homemakers (9.6%); however, females made up the majority of characters in only six types of commercials: cleaners, hygiene, feminine hygiene and beauty, apparel, toys, and home furnishings. Husbands had more power of approval; wives were more likely to have expert power and to seek approval. A value analysis found that commercials stressed values that were self-oriented rather than altruistic, and that this was most true of commercials shown during children's programs. Conclusions call for further research on how television affects the cognitions, attitudes, and behaviors of viewers, with particular attention to exploring how the content of commercials varies across different cultures and in different countries. A five-page list of references completes the document. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (Toronto, Canada, August 23-28, 1984).