SCS 100 Theme 1: Comparison Template Exemplar
Ad 1: Freddo Ice Cream Ad 2: Milky Way Caramel Wedding
Ad 3: Celebrations: Gym Ad 4: Antonio Federici Ice Cream
1. Question(s) related to how individuals are represented in the ads
Why is the “candidate” a young white male? What are we supposed to assume, as consumers, about this individual (the candidate)?
What assumptions are we supposed to make about the individual characteristics or appearance of the bride? Why do I perceive some individual faces in the crowd as angrier than others? Why does the ad encourage us to consider the bride as selfish or guilty for eating chocolate? Why are women stereotyped as loving sweets, and lacking the maturity to resist sweets?
How does athletic competition change the way individuals interact with one another? Can a competitive environment change an individual’s personality? Is it normal for individuals to celebrate or express relief if they are somehow benefitting from someone else’s misfortune?
Does indulging in items considered “guilty pleasures” (such as ice cream) actually increase an individual’s feelings of guilt? Why do cultures often associate women with committing the “sin” of self- indulgence in sweets? Why is this viewed in the culture as humorous? What are ways in which sensory perception around sweet tastes are gendered? Is there a physiological component?
2. Questions related to how groups and group
behavior are represented in the ad
Why are both “servers” girls, while most of the crowd and the candidate is male? Why are there not any diverse faces in the crowd? Why are various races or ethnicities not featured in the ad?
Are the minority guests intentionally grouped or coupled together in the crowd?
How do sports teams express dominance or power over competitors outside of the actual event? How do elite athlete teams (where players qualify based on skill) behave when compared to intramural athlete teams (where everyone qualifies to be on the team)?
How do religious orders such as nuns establish expectations for behavior? Are there differences in the way males and females interpret Bible stories or lessons?
3. Questions related to how culture and cultural identity are represented (or not represented) in
Are the red, white, and blue “vote” signs meant to signify a specific country or culture? What does political voting have to do with ice cream and is this culture specific?
Does the setting in a church and the presence of religious symbols (e.g., cross, priest) change how we view the ad? Would this ad be perceived differently by members of other cultures, where lateness is normal and more accepted?
How do different cultures across the globe “celebrate” with different types of food? How do highly competitive cultures view the ad when compared to less competitive cultures?
Is religion important to Italian culture? How have perceptions of guilt and guilty behavior changed over time in Italian culture?
4. How do the ads compare to each other?
All the ads are featuring candy or ice cream. Three of the ads distinctly feature women eating the treats, while the fourth features women serving ice cream to a crowd that is gathered around a boy. Two of the ads, in particular, bring up the concepts of guilt and religion (or disrespect of religion) as it relates to women eating ice cream or chocolate. The other two ads feature a competitive setting (a political election and a gymnastics event) and the idea that individuals “celebrate” with sweets. Three of the four ads include very little or no racial/ethnic diversity. Three of the four ads depict women behaving questionably—making a roomful of wedding guests wait, “celebrating” potential harm to a competitor, and a nun eating ice cream while pregnant. Social scientists would likely be interested in this theme of exploring human behavior in relationship to food.
5. What overall observations might a
social scientist be interested in studying in relation to the themes
present in these advertisements? What larger questions about
human interactions might they ask?
Social scientists would likely be interested in the way women are portrayed in the ads, specifically the way the ads show women serving others or behaving questionably. Social scientists would be interested in how the ads build on or depart from expected roles and behaviors for women. Based on these observations, social scientists might ask questions such as:
How do contests or competitions impact women’s behavior and change society’s expectations for women?
How do ads and media reinforce gender stereotypes around expected female behavior?
How do men and women experience feelings of guilt differently, especially around foods and sweets?