Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Scott Liu

Co-Major Professor

Kelli Burns

Committee Member

Kim Golombisky

Keywords

advertising attitude, advertising response, gender, sex roles

Abstract

Women are active travel consumers, yet travel advertising notoriously depicts women stereotypically. If consumers react negatively to these stereotypical portrayals in advertising, they may disregard the ad or brand and purchase a different travel product. The purpose of this study is to determine if consumers react differently to stereotypical versus non-stereotypical depictions of women in travel advertising. The study will examine these reactions, by measuring attitude toward the ad, attitude toward the brand, purchase intention, and cognitive responses to carefully prepared advertisements that are characterized as ―stereotypical‖ or ―non-stereotypical.‖ Ads are defined as stereotypical by utilizing Goffman‘s (1979) framework for analyzing images of women in advertising. Results overwhelmingly indicate that consumers in this study display more favorable attitudes to the non-stereotypical depictions of women in travel advertising. Attitudes toward the advertising, brand, purchase intention, and cognitive responses were all significantly more favorable among the non-stereotypical advertising condition. The results have theoretical benefit to the travel advertising industry, since these findings support the affect transfer hypothesis and dual mediation hypothesis. No studies to date have examined such research in travel advertising and results indicate a possible need for action among advertisers.

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