Television Advertising

Lindsey Honig, Danielle Honig, Veronica Perez, and Michael Pavia- Television Advertising: We will examine how Latinas are presented in television advertising. We will also cover differences in portrayals between ads targeted at the broader, general U.S. audience vs. ads that are targeted at a more niche audience. In our research we will explore whether our peers and social networks recognize these stereotypes, and if they hold them to be true.


For our group project we examined how Latinas are presented in television advertising.  Today television commercial advertising is considered one of the most effective uses of media.  Throughout the course we have seen that stereotypes play a powerful role in television advertising.  The problem is that even though the Hispanic population is the most rapidly growing minority group in the United States the roles we see them in has remained largely unchanged.

The idea that sex sells has been ever so present with Latinas.  We see this in music, acting and even television advertising.  We focused on a Magnum ice cream commercial featuring Latina actress Eva Longoria.  The commercial was obviously trying to connect an ice cream product to sexiness, from Eva’s outfit, to her looks and even the way she bites into the ice cream.  We presented a survey to a group of participants that included opinion-based questions, reflecting the commercial, as well as their demographic information.

We felt that the questions chosen in our survey would help us understand how people tend to view stereotypes.  Questioning if these stereotypes go unnoticed or are they obvious?  The participants were asked, “What did they remember most about this advertisement?”and to name three adjectives to describe Eva Longoria in the advertisement itself and three more as an actress in general.  The results showed that the participants cued in on the idea of Eva’s seductiveness while ice cream was not even considered.  We also asked  “How accurately do you think Eva Longoria portrays the Latina population in this advertisement?”  The question’s intent was to see if the participants were able to separate Eva as an actress in the commercial, to Eva as a Latina in reality.  We found that 50% of the subjects thought Eva only “somewhat accurately” depicted Latinas, while 37% said it was “completely inaccurate.”  Meaning the majority of participants recognized Latina stereotypes being depicted.  Most of time people tend to overlook stereotypes without even knowing it.  We connected this unlikely outcome with our demographic based questions cuing in on the fact that most of our participants had some college education.  Throughout the course we focused on the stereotypical use of Latinas in the media.  The results concluded that Latina stereotyping is still very prevalent in television adverting.

Works Cited

Banet-Weiser, S. (2007). What’s your flava? Race and postfeminism in media culture. (pp.201-226) In Tasker, Y. & Negra, D. (Eds), Interrogating post-feminism: Gender and the politics of popular culture. Durham, NC: Duke.

Coltrane, S., Messineo, M. (2000). The Perpetuation of Subtle Prejudice: Race and Gender Imagery in 1990s Television Advertising. Sex Roles, Vol. 42 (5/6), 363-387.

Davila, A. (2001). Don’t panic I’m Hispanic. In Latinos inc.: The marketing and making of a people (pp 23-55). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press

Gilly, M. C. (1988). Sex roles in advertising: A comparison of television advertisements in australia, mexico, and the united states. Journal of Marketing, 52(2), 75-85.

Li-Vollmer, M. (2002). Race representation in child-targeted television commercials. Mass Communication & Society, 5(2), 207-228. doi: 10.1207/S15327825MCS0502_6

Maher, J. K., Herbst, K. C., Childs, N. M., & Finn, S. (2008). Racial stereotypes in children’s television commercials. Journal of Advertising Research, 48(1), 80-93.

Mastro, D. E., & Stern, S. R. (2003). Representations of race in television commercials: A content analysis of prime-time advertising. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 47(4), 638-647. doi: 10.1207/s15506878jobem4704_9

Wilkes, R. E., & Valencia, H. (1989). Hispanics and blacks in television commercials. Journal of Advertising, 18(1), 19-25.

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