Gender Stereotypes in Advertising


The contemporary world of advertising aims to meet customer’s expectation and motivate to purchase each specific product by involving emotions, impressions, and feelings aroused by various advertisements. However, it is obvious that business creates advertisements aiming to reach the target audience. Nevertheless, the contemporary myriad of advertisements proves that the majority of images and promotional videos enhance gender stereotyping, which has a negative influence on the development of humanity. In particular, it is necessary to consider the idea that gender stereotyping penetrates advertising starting from products for children. It is the primary source, which generates stereotyping from the earliest stages of life. It is unavoidable to think about the contemporary world without labeling or stereotyping. The society makes it impossible to live a life with full diversity. However, the problem is that everyone finds it natural to perform according to expectation of others. The roles and responsibilities of male and female have already influenced the development of all spheres of life. Advertising is one of the major visual reflections of gender stereotyping. The current paper evaluates of the advertising images of a famous company Lego, which produces toys and various products for children of different ages. It is a famous company, which conquered hearts of millions of children and their parents all over the world. It is important to consider the company’s one of the latest advertisements, which attract attention of every potential customer. In particular, the paper reveals such characteristic features as target audience, context, purpose, tone, the arrangements of images and text, and gender stereotypes, which penetrate the selected advertisement.


The audience of the advertisement is obvious from the image. 5-year-old boys tend to formulate the optimal user of the products offered by Lego. Everybody knows that Lego produces brick sets with small details, which youngsters can easily swallow it. It means that the product is not in recommendation to children younger than 3 years old. The advertisement does not mean that only boys can use the product. However, the boy in the picture with a helicopter in his hand is most likely to arouse interest among boys. The image cannot attract girls without anything that could interest them. The point of the advertisement is to impress boys by evoking an interest in building their own helicopter. It is most likely that a bird set free from the cage will attract girls. However, boys remain the primary target audience interested in building different items by using brick sets, which Lego successfully produces. In addition, the advertisement aims to attract attention of caring parents willing to create comfort. A commode in the corner of the room with family photos is an indirect reminder to parents willing to provide their children with comfort and interesting toys. It is the reason, which proves that Lego strives to reach the target audience including parents and their children. The context of the advertisement proves that the composition of elements used to advertise the product is effective in terms of promotional goals.


The context of the advertisement is simple and minimalistic. However, it is simple enough to reveal the comfort of tone and an idea of creativity. In the middle of the image there is a boy putting a helicopter in the cage, where the bird used to live. The idea is that the boy decided to put his own bird in the cage and set free a real one. An open window symbolizes freshness and openness of Lego in general. It is an associating element, which proves that simplicity is the key to creativity. In addition, the bird set free is a symbol, which puts the tone of relaxation in the picture by emphasizing kindness. A commode in the corner of the room symbolizes family, which also determines a comforting tone of the advertisement.


The purpose of the advertisement is to reach the target audience by pointing at the need to buy product rather than putting a bird in a cage. In addition, the advertisement aims to persuade parents to buy Lego sets in order to entertain a child without leaving animals without their natural habitat. Moreover, the advertisement shows that the boy is more interested in playing with a helicopter, than with a bird. Regardless of the emotions on the face of the boy, which show that he is afraid of his parents’ madness, the overall impression from the advertisement is positive. The purpose of the advertisement is to hit the mark and reach the target audience by means of minimalism, comfort and attractiveness. While parents get a chance to get back to their childhood and remember themselves playing with Lego brick sets, children become admired by new idea proposed by Lego. In general, the advertisement hits the mark and meets the requirements of the potential customer. The image is not oversupplied with elements, which makes it easy for perception. At this point, it is possible to emphasize that Lego managed to meet the purpose of attracting parents and their children.


The tone of the advertisement is not bright; however, the colors are harmonious enough to emphasize the initial idea of the advertisement. A mixture of grey-blue color in the background does not distract from other objects. For example, the first objects in focus are a cage with a helicopter inside of it, a bird, and a boy. All these objects are in the middle of the image, which grip attention of every potential customer on the idea of the advertisement. An arrangement of images and text should also have a special emphasis as long as it creates the level of perception of the initial idea.

The arrangements of images and text

The picture reveals that text and image of the brand do not take a primary position. In the left corner of the image, it is possible to find logo of the company and text of the advertisement. A short sentence suggests that creativity forgives everything, which is a perfect complement to the overall composition of elements comprising the picture. The location of text and the company’s logo does not distract from other objects used to bring the purpose of the advertisement. In general, the picture does not contain any redundant or unnecessary information, which could defocus the customer’s attention.

Gender stereotypes and its relation to the product

Advertisement is one of the elements, which also falls under the influence of stereotyping. The analyzed advertisement also has a connection to stereotypes, which cover the roles of male and female. Lego advertisement is an appropriate example of confusion, which exists between genders. Male and female, boys and girls tend to perform according to their roles designed by the society. The prescribed limitation of both genders prevents from the diversity and differentiation, which exists between both genders (Reay). The analyzed advertisement reflects a stereotyped interest of a boy in playing with brick sets and building any type of vehicles. The society made it expectable to see the boy playing with cars and girls playing with dolls. It is a limiting factor, which does not allow imagining the opposite gender involved in the same activity. It is obvious that a few potential customers will think about buying the product depicted in the picture for a girl. Regardless of an overall idea of the advertisement, which call the customer to forgive the consequences of child’s creativity, the focus remains on the boy. However, the initial idea of the advertisement is a call to parents who should help their children set free their creativity. Nevertheless, the advertisement points at the need to consider gender stereotyping as long as it depicts only a boy. It happens for the reason that the company did not consider combining both genders in a single advertisement. It does not mean that it neglected paying attention to the interests of girls but it does not meet the requirements of both groups of the target audience in a single advertisement. The analyzed piece of the marketing campaign of Lego reflects the masculinity in its essence. Regardless of a boy depicted in the picture, it is obvious that male have a deep interest in machinery since childhood. However, the image does not consider that girls can have the same interest.

Gender stereotyping also has a reflection in the color of the boy’s shirt. It is a common stereotype that boys are supposed to like only blue colors. Even children will find it ridiculous if a boy in their neighborhood will start wearing pink or violet shirts. Moreover, it is hard to imagine the same advertisement with a boy wearing a pink shirt. It means that the contemporary society moved far from basic stereotyping of roles and responsibilities of genders to prescribing masculinity and femininity levels (Tolman). Even colors play one of the major roles in shaping gender stereotypes.

Further, it is possible to consider the same advertisement but with the girl in the center of the room. The mind starts rejecting the idea that the girl could put the bird out of the cage. It does not mean that girls are cruel but it means that girls are supposed to be more caring than boys are (Tolman). It is also another stereotype, which puts an idea that boys are more careless and capable of doing tricks (Reay). Girls, in their turn, tend to love nature and it is most likely that a girl would not let a bird out of the cage. It is obvious that the girl will still have an interest in observing the bird and taking care of it at home. However, all these thoughts lie beyond the advertisement, which encourage thinking that Lego created an advertisement full of gender stereotypes.


In conclusion, it is important to remind the reader that the contemporary society excelled its stereotypes, which cover almost every aspect of life. Gender stereotyping is a common phenomenon of social development, which touches upon advertisements of almost every company. It is unavoidable to see the evidence of stereotyped elements in the marketing campaigns of the many corporations. Lego is one of the examples of effective advertising. However, it uses gender stereotypes in order to reach the target audience. The analyzed advertisement proved that gender stereotyping became common for everyone. Lego designed an advertisement, which is balanced in its elements full of minimalism and simplicity. A piece of marketing campaign successfully meets the interests of the male audience. Even a 5-year-old reflects masculinity and characteristic traits of gender stereotypes, which every potential customer tends to perceive. In general, the analyzed advertisement reflected the company’s intention to reach the target audience by effective combination of creativity, humor, toys, children, and simplicity. An overall impression from the advertisement encourages thinking beyond the borders of the initial idea. It is obvious that the analyzed advertisement is a mixture of emotional impressions, which make it attractive and effective in terms of the marketing campaign of Lego.
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