SEXUALITY IN ADVERTISING: A COMPARISON OF ADVERTISING IMAGES FROM THE UNITED STATES AND FRANCE IN VOGUE

Open Access
Author:
Toennies, Michelle Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
Advertising/Public Relations
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • George Anghelcev, Thesis Supervisor
  • Susan Mary Strohm, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Advertising
  • Sexuality
  • France
  • United States
Abstract:
As globalization becomes a more dominant force in the advertising world, many companies must now advertise multi-nationally. Advertisers must determine how to best reach these new target audiences in an ethically responsible manner. It is therefore important to examine cultural norms and how they affect local advertising and the use of different appeals. Sexuality is a largely culturally subjective concept, and its use in advertising varies worldwide. Examination of this widely used appeal reveals different approaches and uses from one culture to the next. This study analyzes print advertisements from two separate versions of Vogue magazines, France and the United States, in order to compare the differences in sexual content and the use of sexual appeals between the two countries. Few researchers have expanded a comparison in sexual content to include a broader range of sexual categories of manifest content or used a culture-specific approach. The study compares advertisements by looking at the differences in several categories of sexual content in advertising, such as nudity, dress, model behavior, and verbal appeal. Results found small differences between the sexual advertisements in each magazine. However, results also point to the difficulty of quantifying the concept of sexuality, and the necessity for further research.