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Saudi Arabia and the United States share several differences. The way in which females are used in advertising is probably one of the biggest you will see. In Saudi Arabia everyone is under Sharia Law which is the way of Islam. This law is basically the framework of behavior that will be expected of you both privately and publically as well. It is based on the Quran. Haram is a word that means forbidden by Islam. Woman are expected to be veiled when they are outside the home. In Some cities not only must the hair be covered but also the nose and mouth. This has been strictly enforced since as long as I can recall. When someone breaks a law, it can be severely punishable. Sometimes this could even result in death. Compared to the United States, punishments in my country are a lot harsher.
In the United States you can basically wear whatever you desire, even if you are nearly naked. Church and state are separate here, therefore the government decides what acceptable behavior within the country is not Religion. Generally adverting is sexualized in the U.S. Promiscuous outfits and positions are used as a tactic here. Companies know that by placing attractive females on things more items will be sold. Woman suffer poor body image because they cannot reach these high expectations of beauty.
In my opinion these cultural differences play the most influential role in explaining the differences. When strict law is enforced in an environment, you really have no choice but to follow it. Saudi Arabia has very strict regulations about how a woman should look and behave. There are pros and cons to each advertising method. I believe that the U.S generates more money in advertising but Saudi Arabia’s methods are more respectable.
A very controversial commercial was broadcasted in my country in 2004. It was a woman’s shampoo commercial. These commercials showed woman’s hair uncovered but separate from the face. Even though several precautions were taken to try and advertise without breaking the Islamic law, many people became distraught over this issue. Many people believe that men are responsible for the law of women covering themselves, but this is far from the truth. Allah wanted a way for women to gain respect from men and this is why women wear it. The veiling or hijab eliminates the chances of a woman being regarded as an object of pleasure. Previously in my country it was unacceptable to show both the hair and face together, however now we find it to be okay in the media.
This article explained how strict the laws use to be within my country. Many editing decisions were included in the final commercial to help eliminate breaking any rules. The woman had to be completely separate from the image of her hair. In the first image the damaged hair was displayed, the second was her face, and the last image was her hair after use of the shampoo. Every little detail had to be overlooked in order to market the shampoo in an affective but moral way.
Another common technique used in my country is including female’s voices. Companies will have women on the phone talking with its clients. Women are better at selling products generally. Using their voices can increase sales significantly. This is a way in which advertising of women can be used without breaking the law. Even though it is haram for a woman to speak to other males unless married or family, it is acceptable in regards to business. These strategies have proven very profitable in Saudi.
I feel the major benefit of Saudi Arabia’s strict protocol is that it makes sure that a woman is respected in every way. By doing so the wishes of Allah are also intact. A woman’s respect should not be jeopardized just to make money. A woman should never have to feel insignificant while looking at flawless images in the media. Beauty comes from within not from the outside. We know that you do not need a sexy woman to sell a product. If someone desired the product enough, they will purchase it regardless.
A negative aspect of this type of advertising is that it gives little room for creativity. Hair commercials can only be constructed in a similar manner due to these strict rules. It leaves companies forced to use the same tactics in each advertisement which can become repetitive. Creativity in clothing, speech, and behavior can help to market a product in a very successful way.
In the United States advertising is more extreme. Each year over 100,000 are produced, generally between 300-1,500 a day. In 2012, a company spent nearly $140 billion on advertising across the globe. It seems no matter what product is being sold; beer, flashlights, or cars, the United States has an approach to making it sexy. Nearly every single type of advertisement in the United States includes half- naked models with unrealistic bodies. Often times the models used are enhanced in certain areas such as the breasts and waists lines are taken in. Giving the models an unrealistic but perfect female image. In the United States it is not considered bad to show these images.
Wall Street Journal conducted a survey in Chicago, Illinois. Students were asked questions about dieting and body image. Surprising, more than half of these girls were in fact on a restrictive diet and about three-quarters felt they were overweight. One girl put it like this: “We don’t expect boys to be that handsome. We take them as they are.” Another added, “But boys expect girls to be perfect and beautiful. And skinny.” This displays’ the typical thoughts of young girls due to how women are portrayed in the United States.
A positive aspect of this advertising style is that they generate a large amount of money. Men are more inclined to buy a certain car because they see a beautiful woman on top of it. Advertisements give characteristics to the consumers. If you drive this you will be this sort of approach. It seems to work quite well if able to spend billions of dollars each year on advertisements. These methods are profitable but they disprectful and shame several women.
There are several negative aspects of these advertising methods. Young girls are feeling like they aren’t good enough because they do not look this way. Advertising like this harms others body image. I think this is reason enough to cease these methods that have become so popular. Another negative aspect is the women who are doing this generally regret it. Once they reach a certain age they cannot work any longer and they regret doing it in the first place. Sometimes people think these people are happy when they really aren’t.
I feel that Advertising in Saudi Arabia is a lot better. Even if we don’t generate as much wealth as the U.S., we don’t degrade our women. I feel someone’s happiness and self-esteem is everything and should not be compromised under these circumstances. We have marketing strategies with advertising that are in accordance with our strict laws. This helps eliminate things that are not good in nature and make the mind wonder. The United States is lucky in the fact that they are able to be more creative. You can see this applied to nearly any sort of commercial. Ideas can expand when you have few regulations dictating it. Culture influences several aspects of business’s and advertisements. Certain places prohibit what is fine in another. To understand all the dynamics that go into advertising you must first learn what is normal and abnormal. I feel each country should use whatever method they choose.
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