Gender Differences in Advertising

Advertising and reaching out to your target audience can be broken down into many aspects, including gender. With both men and women bringing different perspectives to advertising, as well as the varying views that advertisers have with regards to each gender, it is crucial that brands understand the differences in their responses, to better connect with their target audience.

  1. How information is processed  

Men and women typically receive and evaluate information in different ways, the difference being that men tend to process information and make decisions more quickly as compared to women. This could be because rather than scrutinising each detail, men usually focus on the primary message of an advertisement, which is believed to have arisen from their linear thinking and reasoning style and having a more task-oriented focus than women. 

Women, on the other hand, process information quickly and holistically, and take in various aspects including the music, design and text, because when it comes to reasoning, women tend to be less task-oriented and more sectionalised as compared to men. This is known as the incremental reasoning process, where each subsequent piece of information is built on the previous information that is taken in, which allows women to think in terms of interrelated instead of linear factors.

  1. Role portrayals  

Gone were the days where women are to stay home and take care of the kids and men to bring home the bacon. Today, both men and women are parents, office workers, entrepreneurs, bosses etc. This has led to gender portrayal in advertisements to become more balanced. 

Hence, it is important that brands carefully consider the characteristics of each gender with an open mind, without the addition of stereotypes, toxic masculinity or misogyny, to name a few. 

  1. Perception of beauty  

Being a typical human being, it is only normal to like to look at things we find beautiful, and advertising often capitalises on this idea, that is why attractive men and women are often used to convey positive attributes of a product – to sell an idea; a lifestyle. Therefore, brands typically engage attractive people as endorsers for products that are used to enhance the target audience’s own attractiveness. However, with changing beauty standards in today’s society, more and more brands are promoting inclusivity and empowerment, with the use of models that may not be conventionally attractive to some, so this is another point to keep in mind.