Global and Multi-National Advertising

By Basil G. Englis | Go to book overview

5
Multinational Gender Positioning: A Call for Research

Laura M. Milner University of Alaska Fairbanks

Aaker and Shansby ( 1982) noted that there are six major ways of positioning a product: attribute, price-quality, use/application, product class, competitor, and of interest here, product user. Segmentation variables based on user include class, race, age, and sex. Of all these, sex is the most important. Indeed, gender may properly be considered the "alpha" segmentation variable. Before all else, marketers must decide the relevance of gender to their product or service. This will dictate whether they will position their product as masculine, feminine, both, or neither. Debevec and Iyer ( 1986) noted that "in positioning and repositioning products, advertisers often work to create a gender image for a brand by featuring the targeted gender in an advertisement as a 'typical' user of the product" (p. 12).

The aim of the present chapter is to examine the research relevant to gender positioning around the world and to suggest new avenues for future research. Literature pertinent to the perceived gender of products, the use of gender in advertisements, and the influence of individual differences in gender positioning is reviewed. Investigations focusing on stigmatized products, the use of sex themes in advertising, and differences between countries in gender positioning research are then suggested as possibilities for future research endeavors.

A great number of the studies reported here focus on Americans. This is an unfortunate artifact of focusing on English language research; however, it is also noted that researchers in American universities are quite interested in this topic, and given the importance of the U.S. market for the rest of the world, the decision to include representative studies on Americans was

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