and is embraced by advertisers. As a result, we are now also shown images of women at work and men at home. They may not have led such a shift in social opinion, but advertisers now play a part in making this new male-female view an accepted part of many societies.
While such a debate on the powers of advertising is likely to continue, a certain perspective needs to be applied. For many, advertisements have an almost magical hold over their target audiences and can, therefore, manipulate large parts of the public. However, research tends to play down the power of advertisers. Studies have shown that while advertising certainly has an influence within society, it is interpersonal communication that plays a more important role in changing behaviour and shaping opinion. Friends and family, and the values they transmit, are, therefore, the key to change.
The author is associate professor of marketing, Audencia Nantes School of Management, France