An exploratory study of fatherhood depictions in advertising of child-related products from a male perspective; how it affects buying behaviour and wider related implications
(2015) An exploratory study of fatherhood depictions in advertising of child-related products from a male perspective; how it affects buying behaviour and wider related implications, no. 81.
Nature of Research Fathers are systematically under and misrepresented in the advertising of childrelated products, the depictions of fathers are disjointed with reality and provoke great dissatisfaction. The reasons behind these dissatisfactions and the perceived implications need to be explored further to gain a better understanding of this matter. Purpose The aim of this study is to explore gender portrayals in advertisement from a male perspective, focusing on men's perceptions of fatherhood representations in advertisement of child-related products, its implications and its effect on their buying behaviour. The objectives to achieve this aim are: firstly, to explore the evolution of gender roles and the concept of the new father; secondly, to examine fatherhood representations in advertisement, focusing on the advertising of child-related products. Furthermore, the research seeks to understand men's perceptions of advertising representations and analyse how advertising depictions may be connected to their buying behaviour; and, eventually analyse fatherhood depictions in the general media as well as possible broader implications. Design/methodology/approach Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with males in different stages of their relationship with fatherhood: fathers, fathers to be and non-fathers. A total of ten interviews were conducted. Interviews were the most appropriate choice of research method in order to put at ease the participants, thereby obtaining more rich and honest insight on the subject studied. Findings Results reveal that fatherhood depictions are not linked to the values that men recognise as being distinctive of their generation of fathers. Furthermore, the results also reveal what characteristics would be identifiable in satisfactory representations of men in advertisement which would have a positive impact in their buying behaviour, therefore increasing the likelihood of them purchasing the products. Finally the results reveal that fatherhood representations in the media in general are extremely negative and damaging for society. Research Limitations The first potential limitation recognised is a geographic limitation, taking under consideration that all participants were based in the Edinburgh area. The second potential limitation is the education level of participants; all of them were or are currently in higher education. Originality/value The subject area is critically understudied as there is a wide gap in the literature regarding fatherhood representations in advertisement of child related products and the possible implications that they may have from a social and a business point of view. This research creates a link between the body of knowledge, contributing with relevant insight and potential future implications. Keywords New father, fathers in advertisement, fathers' buying behaviour, fathers in media, effects of media representations.