The Effect of Television Advertising and Programming Literature Review

The Elastic Body Image: The Effect of Television Advertising and Programming on Body Image Distortions In Young Women” written by Phillip N. Myers and Frank A. Biocca in 1992 elucidates on the emphasis advertising put upon the ‘Ideal Body Image’ which in turn creates, either a gap between self image and ideal self image, or indirectly causes diseases like anorexia nervosa and bulimia. The independent variables specified by the authors are Ideal Body Programming and Ideal Body commercials which according to them affect the female subjects’self perceived body images and mood. Therefore, the hypothesis statement developed by the authors attempts to demonstrate a casual relationship between the two sets by asking that ‘does the ideal body presented in television programming and commercials play a role in women’s body size overestimation?’

The authors have used various previous researches based on content analysis of television ads, magazine print ads and TV programs to establish that there is a lot of emphasis laid upon the female body image and the ratio of this is superior to that of the men’s. In another study, 537 characters were taken as subjects and out of those 537 characters no teenager was shown obese or overweight. Another reference in this research is of Downs and Harrison work, which states that viewers are exposed to some 5260 attractiveness messages per year. And out of these, 1850 messages deal directly with beauty. The other category is of food and drink commercials. According to them, TVCs are a powerful source of attractiveness stereotypes. Moving on towards the perceived body image, two different researches with sample size 1000 and 446 were conducted. All the subjects were either in their mid teens or late teens. The results from the interview confirmed that they had misperceived body images. The last part of experimentation focuses on the elastic body image, which refers to the unstable self image, which is responsive to social cues. Here the concepts of internalized body image, objective body image and perceived image have been used to form the four hypothesis of this research.

H1: “samples of young college women will consistently display the existence of body image distortions, especially body image overestimation” This particular hypothesis was supported bythe findings of the research.

H2: “Exposure to body image commercial will lead to greater gap between a viewer’s internalized ideal body image and her objective body shape. This tension will be manifested as a measureable increase in body size overestimations as compared to subjects exposed to non-body image commercial”. This hypothesis was also proved true and therefore was supported by the findings.

H3: Exposure to body image programming will lead to a greater gap between a viewer’s internalized ideal body and her objective body shape. This tension will be manifested as a measureable increase in body size overestimations as compared to subjects exposed to non-body-image programming” This hypothesis was also proven to be true.

H4: “Exposure to body image advertising and programming will lead to conflict between the internalized body ideal body and objective body shape. The internal conflict will be accompanied with self loathing or rejection, measurable as a temporary increase in depression, hostility and anxiety.” This hypothesis held true to some extent as BIC did have a distorting effect but it was in direction opposite to the hypothesis. Instead of making greater overestimation subjects in BI cells overestimated to a lesser extent. Plus, commercial images resulted in a greater degree of deviation in body size overestimation than did the programming.

A sample size of seventy six college students was taken to test these hypotheses. The subjects were in the age range of 15 to 24. 120 commercials were selected; 60 as BIC and 60 as NIC. The commercials were rated for body image oriented ones and neutral image oriented ones. The highest scoring commercials from both categories were selected. Videos were then made which included sets of these commercials and then viewed by the subjects.

The Multiple Affect Adjective Check List (MAACL) was used to measure the mood change before and after the tapes were played. Body image distortion was measured through a Body Image Detection Device (BIDD). The BIDD uses three projected bands of light to represent the size of various body parts. The subjects were to control the widths and bands of light from and overhead projector until the projected image represented her perception of her body shape. The statistics were then used by the researchers to conclude the result on mood and body image through ANOVA and ANCOVA.

To further confirm that advertising does have negative effects, another article, “Highly Attractive Models in Advertising and the Women Who Loathe Them: The Implications of Negative Affect for Spokesperson Effectiveness” written by Amanda B. Bower in 2001 can be used to elucidate the point here. The research is mostly concerned with the impact of negative effect, therefore only some part of the article is relevant to the research currently being conducted. Social Comparison Jealousy, Social comparison Jealousy and derogation & The derogation of Beautiful Others are specifies as the impact of the negative effects of the use of Highly Attractive Models (HAMs) in advertisements. The impacts are measured by various human emotions like, anger, frustration, depression, helplessness, desire for revenge etc … The methodology for this research included 130 undergraduate female subjects with their age ranging from 17 to 29. They all belonged to different ethnicities. A folder along with print ads and questionnaires were given to the subjects and they were required to view the ads as they would normally view them in a magazine and then respond to the questions. These variables, model beauty, subject comparison, negative affect, etc… were generated on the basis of previous operationalizations and researcher insights. Based on Folkman’s (1984) work various items were used to assess the extent of negative affect experienced by the subjects.

The statement that advertising has an impact on teenagers’ behavior, including their consumption pattern is tested trough Cornelia Pechmann’s and Susan J. Knight’s article “An Experimental Investigation of the Joint Effects of Advertising and Peers on Adolescents’ Beliefs and Intentions about Cigarette Consumption” (2002) Cigarette ads, antismoking ads and unfamiliar peers who smoke are the three variables that or social agents according to the authors, that will help in explaining the teenagers reaction to advertising that involves smoking and also to teenagers cigarette consumption pattern. The research has three hypothesis;

H1: “Hi: Adolescents who see cigarette (vs. control) ads and then see peers smoking should manifest more positive (a) thoughts about those peers, (b) smoker stereotypes, and (c) intentions to smoke. These effects should not attain if adolescents see peers who are not smoking. Further, adolescents who are exposed to cigarette ads and then see smokers (vs. nonsmokers) should report higher cigarette- ad recall, though the aforementioned effects should not be contingent on ad recall.”

H2: “Adolescents who see antismoking (vs. control) ads either alone or in conjunction with cigarette ads and then see peers smoking should manifest more negative (a) thoughts about those peers, (b) smoker stereotypes, and (c) intentions to smoke. These effects should not attain if adolescents see peers who are not smoking”

H3: “When adolescents see control ads, exposure to peers smoking (vs. not smoking) should not im- pact their (a) thoughts about the peers, (b) smoker stereotypes, or (c) intentions to smoke”

To test these hypothesis 718 subjects from different racial backgrounds, mostly 14 in age, were included in the survey. The subjects were exposed to videos containing smoking and antismoking ads along with some peer footage. Variables like stereotypic beliefs, recall and suspicion; Thoughts, behaviourial intentions etc … were measured by asking various questions after the viewing of the video tapes.

A conclusion was finally formed after the two ANOVA tests of the data collected through survey. It appeared that all the hypotheses were supported and there were also some unanticipated results but as they aren’t relevant to the current research discussing them would only mean to get off the tangent.

“Appeals in Television Advertising: A Content Analysis of Commercials Aimed at Children and Teenagers” (2004) by Moniek Buijzen and Patti m. Valkenburg is another article aimed at the content analysis of 601 commercials in order to indentify the appeals aimed at children and teenagers. The part of this research germane to teenagers will help in clarifying some points about the current research being conducted. For example, if after being exposed to ads teenagers behave in a certain way is to be conformed then whether or not these appeals work can provide the researcher with some insights and support that advertising does have a long-term impact on teenagers.

According to the authors their research has two parts; one is concerned with the type of appeals used for different age groups, teenagers and children. And the other one with the investigation of gender differences in the use of appeals.

The research question, “Which appeals prevail in television commercials and how do these appeals vary in commercials aimed at male and female children and teenagers?” was tested by content analysis of various commercials. Randomly, from various time slot different commercials were selected. A total of 601 commercials were narrowed down from 2500 commercials. Advertising Appeals was measured through prior research and literature available on children and teenagers. Target audience was selected by the coders based on some of the key factors that indicated that whether the commercial was meant for teenage girls or teenage boys. Tables were constructed in order to compare the differences between appeals used for different genders and age groups. The research concludes that according to advertisers, “teenagers do not like to be addressed with appeals such as financial security, health, affection for animals, tidiness, nurturing, affection for children, and family ties. Advertisers most often approached teenagers with the appeals of (1) having the best, (2) fun, (3) seizing opportunities, (4) being modern, and (5) being ‘cool.’”

“Sex-oriented Advertising and Its Impact on Attitude of Teenagers: Application of Behavioral Intention Model across Product Categories” (2005) by professor Tapan. K Panda elucidates one of the negative effects advertising has on teenagers. This paper tries to explain the effectiveness of sex based advertising on the overall attitude and behaviorial intention of respondents by application of Fishbien Behavioural Intention Model. This research has two parts out which the first one is germane to the study being conducted. The first part deals with the impact of the sexually oriented advertisement on teenagers. The impact can either be positive or negative. Depending upon various various variables. For example the settings in which the audience is exposed, awareness about the product etc …

Thus, a part of research deals with the effects of such advertising on behavior.

The sample subjects for survey were in the age bracket of 17-20. First four different focus groups were conducted, with six members in each group. Then secondary data from various journals was used to test the validity of the collected information. The results stated that there is a possibility that advertising using sexual content can turn into a purchase on specific products.

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