Ad-manufacturing women | india | Hindustan Times
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Ad-manufacturing women

While earlier too, women were used to sell goods, some of which they did not even use, these days the marketers are targetting them more directly. Consequently, they are being targeted not merely as consumers of goods but as desirers and active buyers of goods.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 14:15 IST

While earlier too, women were used to sell goods, some  of which they did not even use, these days the marketers are targetting them more directly. Consequently, they are being targeted not merely as consumers of goods but as desirers and active buyers of goods.

This is evocatively depicted in the saucy mobile phone advertisements where a glamorous but completely confident single woman in an expensive restaurant puts a sophisticated executive type in his place by apparently mistaking him for a waiter.

The image of the successful woman whose confidence lies in her ability to be the discriminating buyer grants a new meaning and power to women,  heralding the dawn of a gender friendly globalised economy. In this context Malini Bhattacharya has persuasively argued that the image of the new woman in advertisements has wider meanings than the mere act of buying a particular consumer item and is linked to wider national and international economic processes:

The new economic trend gives visibility to women as a pressure group. Recently, they even managed to get an excise duty cut on cosmetic goods. Initially women got figured in advertisements mainly as buyers of domestic goods.

The underlying message in these advertisements was that the smartness of a woman lay in their ability to strike the best bar gain, typified in the Lalitaji ad advertisements put out by Surf. These advertisements and the war between Surf, Rin and Wheel continues to play out the theme of the smart woman whose pride lies in the startling whiteness of her family's clothing. 

Media and mediation by Bernard Bel, Jan Brouwer, Biswajit Das, Vibodh Parthasarathi, Guy Poitevin Published by Sage Publications