Do men and women portray different attitudes while viewing advertisements? A study titled - Mars and Venus - Gender Differences in attitudes to advertising has been explored by JWT's planning department.
A research study commissioned by the WPP agency has thrown up some differences in the way men and women look at advertising. It comprised qualitative research among men and women at different life stages - school and college kids, older and younger adults.
According to the study, today, women have become decision makers and are under pressure to make the right choices as smart women, both for themselves and for the family. For the fulltime homemaker, TV is one of the many things she gives her attention to in the middle of her multi-tasking. Thus, women tend to view ads primarily as decision makers, for whom watching ads is part of their responsibilities, keeping abreast of trends and developments in products that are likely to prove useful for her on the home front.
Men, on the other hand, come home from work and plonk themselves in front of the TV to relax, tune out and switch-off. Therefore, when they are watching ads, they are looking for entertainment. Men also find that at worse, ads are a welcome time pass compared to the daily primetime diet of sob-story serials.
Besides women appear to favour ads which put across a simple and straightforward message. "A smart ad tells the message simply." (Which is probably why Lalitaji ads won, hands down.) Using this yardstick, women tend to be far more severe critics of ads than men - our research showed that they tend to give fewer ads top rating. Women's advertising wear out is also faster, as they are primarily seeking information. Once an ad has told them what they need to know, they move on to find out what else is new.
Men, on the other hand, give high ratings to ads, which are lateral, creative, offbeat and funny. Men also seem to enjoy the humour in ads far more than women do - they tell us that they like to watch them and relive the joke repeatedly. And, whether old or young, they like to use jokes and dialogues from ads in their conversations, integrating advertising into their lives.
It comes as a surprise to know that men react more positively than women - even to emotional ads. The reason appears to be this - men tend to live ads while they watch them. They actually put themselves into the ad - whether it is a college boy who finds the stunts in Mountain Dew ads to be `thrilling' or whether it is the older man who claims that Bajaj ads trigger memories of long bike drives to Lonavla in his college days. Women too identify with characters and stories in ads, but they seem to identify with far fewer ads compared to men.
Eye for detail is generally acknowledged to be a female trait. It would be a surprise to know that men have a greater eye for detail in ads. They pick up and discuss all the finer nuances of ad film making, including lighting, pace of frames, nature of sets, quality of special effects, and colours used in an ad. There appears to be a closet art director in every man. Women, uncharacteristically, choose to see only the big picture in ads and pay less attention to the finer points.