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20th century advertising stereotypes

Over the past 70 years, advertising has undergone changes of all kinds and, previously, the history of advertising has been bumpy. Society has advanced, technology has evolved, as has design, image and technology. The habits of the past are now in many cases unthinkable, but to what extent?

If you want to know a little more about the social background behind advertising, keep reading this post. Let's take a tour through advertising in the last century to see how it has evolved socially speaking:

Appearance of the first brands in advertising

Interestingly, the origin of branding lies in animal ownership. In the past, animals were marked to show who owned them. Trade arose and with it came the need to show what belonged to whom.

In the XIX century chain production is consolidated and concepts such as marketing emerge. Differentiated products appeared, which became known thanks to printing and brochures, and that is when brands began to take on real importance.

Already in the twentieth century with the emergence of the media, brands are gaining a foothold because they advertise their products and offer a guarantee of safety through advertising.

The brand boom comes with the television boom. If it appears on television, the product is reliable, so the customer can already have his own opinion by being able to see the product before consuming it. Later and with the birth of social networks, consumers already talk face to face with brands, but let's go step by step.

As I have been saying, advertising as we know it began to develop massively in the 1950s. In the last few decades, society has advanced at all levels, but the social stereotypes have been with us all these years and many have not yet left.

Women have always been associated with such basic things as having to be at home taking care of the family and doing the housework while the man goes to work. Society also assumes that values such as strength and power are attributed to men while women tend to be submissive, refined, and above all, with an image of vulnerability. It normalizes the reification of women.

Other common stereotypes are those that attribute colors: pink to girls and blue to boys. Aspects that are still seen today. If we go a little deeper, we find racist stereotypes in which the black collective remains in the background, with the white race prevailing in all socio-cultural spheres.

We are going to analyze how these stereotypes are present in advertising in the 20th century and even in the 21st century. In the 1950s we see how women are at the service of men and how they place the white race one step above any other.

If we go to the 60s and 70s we see that nothing or very little changes. Women continue to be submissive and dedicated to household chores. Meanwhile, racism is normalized through big brands:

In the 1980s, however, there was a slight change in the female stereotype. Women become part of the working world in a more open way. They no longer have so many limitations but... they start to be treated as a mere sexual object, standing out in fashion and beauty and it is going to be reflected in the advertising of that time and later years.

It was in the 1980s that the television spectacularization of poverty began.

During the 1990s we found the television boom and a good part of the commercials are broadcasted on this channel, with tunes that, to this day, are still with us:

Women are presented as mere sexual and decorative objects, who must follow the imposed canons of beauty. It also reflects male success.

Major brands are betting on the inclusion of other ethnicities and cultures, but we are still halfway there.

Want to know more? Don't miss the next post. In it, we will discuss how stereotypes are evolving today. Stay tuned.

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