Selling Beauty : A Linguistic-Communicational Investigation of the Female Beauty Ideal in Advertising in an International Comparison
The advertising campaigns of large international beauty companies greatly influence the perception of beauty. They promote beauty ideals in their campaigns - which easily spread worldwide thanks to the mass media - and offer solutions on how to achieve them. The use of language and persuasive commun...
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|Summary:||The advertising campaigns of large international beauty companies greatly influence the perception of beauty. They promote beauty ideals in their campaigns - which easily spread worldwide thanks to the mass media - and offer solutions on how to achieve them. The use of language and persuasive communication is a crucial tool in this process. By using language and communication strategies, marketers actively manage the perceptions of their target groups. In my work, I examine 493 advertisements as well as 153 international and 711 country-specific websites of international beauty companies to find out what the beauty ideal they promote worldwide looks like.
In particular, the Western world's idea of female beauty influences global perceptions. Scientists refer to this phenomenon as the Western or the global beauty ideal. I examine what is meant by the term Western in this context and whether beauty companies tend to show the global, Western or a local ideal in their advertising. I also look for answers to the questions: how do the companies use communication measures and language to promote the beauty ideal? Do they design individual campaigns for their target markets with different local ideals, or do they apply the same approach globally? Is English the lingua franca for the campaigns or are local languages used?
The results of my research show that the characteristics which attractiveness research and social science refer to as the global ideal of beauty are identical to the ideal of beauty promoted primarily in the United States and Northern Europe. The Western ideal thus includes the beauty characteristics of a few countries in the world. The global promotion of this ideal leads to the spread of North American and Northern European beauty standards throughout the world. The principles of persuasive communication, rhetoric, and advertising language are used in the design of marketing campaigns.
In my study, I first analyze the advertising material from different regions to determine how the companies interpret the respective local beauty ideal. Based on this analysis, I then examine the dominant beauty ideal in all advertising materials belonging to the object of study and assess which linguistic concepts and communicative appeals are used to convey it. In doing so, I analyze, among other things, the rhetorical figures used - the communicative appeals of ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion), or logos (logic) - the use of English as a lingua franca, the differences in the beauty ideal and language use between print and online, or the interplay of text and image. The scope of 493 ads as well as 153 global websites and 711 country-specific websites is necessary for representative results, as I conduct a majority analysis based on percentages. The results of my study show that overall, the Western ideal is predominantly promoted. Online, this is done through the use of English as the lingua franca on the international websites and through the use of local languages on the country-specific websites. In the ads, English is also the language of choice to promote the Western ideal. The exception is the ads from countries that historically have a very strong national identity; here, the local beauty ideal is predominant. For this reason, it is also not possible to determine an exclusive marketing of the Western ideal for the advertisements, as is the case with the websites, but rather a distinction must be made based on the regions. For both the printed ads and the websites evaluated, the most common communicative appeal is the emotional one (pathos), followed on the websites by the one to logic (logos) and the one to the credibility of the sender (ethos). The communicative appeals and linguistic features used in both the ads evaluated and on the websites are not country-specific, but are used worldwide. The ideal of beauty is promoted through a sophisticated interplay of text and image, with targeted use of rhetorical figures and linguistic patterns to convey the intended message. The language and communicative appeals used to promote the ideal and the products are the same worldwide.
Of course, my study only provides a snapshot. In the fast-changing advertising business, where new campaigns are reworked within a very short time and current as well as future megatrends always have a strong influence, a follow-up study will provide interesting insights into further developments. In my study, I already touch on the topic of the body positivity movement and diversity, which will play an important role in the representation of beauty in advertising in the future.|
|Physical Description:||226 Pages|