Tide advertisement


About the advertisement

The Tide advertisement was an advert that was produced in the 1950s. The product it advertises, Tide, is a detergent used in electric washing machines in the home. The product was launched by Procter and Gamble.

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Context 1

At the time, supermarkets were stocking a much wider range of products than ever before. To make their product stand out, companies included persuasive language and comparisons to other products in their advertising.

During the war era, women did all of the practical jobs whilst the men were away. The fashions of clothing and hairstyles reflected this.

Ideological views promoted the expectation that young women marry men and have children.

Post-war, women were expected to stay at home to do the housework and look after the children.

Adverts at the time represented the white middle and upper classes.

In the UK, electric washing machines didn't become popular until the 1950s due to the economic impact of WW2 on the consumer market.

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Context 2

Consumer culture was in its early stages of development, and, with so many new products and brands entering markets, potential customers typically needed more information about them than a modern audience.

Women were the primary market for technologies and products being developed for the home. Adverts for these kind of products included stereotypical representations of domestic perfection, caring for the family and servitude to the 'man of the house'.

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Notes 1

'No wonder you women buy more TIDE than any other washday product!' is at the top of the advertisement. The product name is in capital letters and in red, which makes it stand out amongst other text. The audience is addressed as 'you women', showing that this is their target audience. At the time, women stayed at home to do the housework. It also dismisses the idea of men using the product as if the company thought it was acceptable for men to use or want to use the productm they would just say 'you'. The audience are addressed directly by personal pronouns used to attract them.            

'...than any other washday product' is included because more people buy Tide than any other similar product, which makes it seem to the audience that it is a really good product. This makes them want to buy the product and see whether they think it is the best.

The slogan is 'Tide's got what women want!' It is the largest part of text on the advert, is in capital letters and is in red. This makes it stand out and is included because people, especially if they are in a rush, will automatically look at this part first. It says the name of the product and that it's 'got what women want'. The target audience for the product is women, and so it's saying to the women reading it that the product has what they want. This makes them want to read on to see what is so special about the product. It has the very basic information people need to know. It is in sans-serif font, which connotes an informal mode of address and establishes a friendly, informal style. The slogan also creates suspense as it says that the product is 'what women want'.

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Notes 2

There is an image of a woman in front of a washing machine. She is smiling and appears to be enjoying doing the washing. This makes the audience want to try the product as most women at the time didn't enjoy the chores and so they may think it will make them enjoy it a bit more.

There is a drawing of some hearts. These have connotations of love, which suggest to the audience that they will love the product. This makes them want to buy it to see if they will. Hearts are also seen as being feminine, which relates to their target audience of women.

The woman in one image is holding a sign that says that no other washing product will make clothes 'as clean as Tide'. The most important part of the text is in red, which makes it stand out. The comparison to other products gives the impression that Tide is the best product for washing clothes. Usually people want to buy the best product available to them and so the inclusion of this will make people want to try out the product.

Women in the images have their hair tied up and back, which is what they would have done during the war era when they did the practical jobs.

There is an image of the product's box. It is brightly coloured, which makes it stand out. It calls the product a 'washing miracle'. This sets potential customers' expectations high and makes them want to try it out and see if it is as good as the company makes it out to be. The women in the image is hugging the box, suggesting that she really loves it and making the audience want to buy it.

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Notes 3

Superlatives such as 'whitest' and 'cleanest' are used to compare Tide to other products. By saying 'world's whitest wash', it says that the product is the best. This makes the audience want to purchase the product and see how it compares to other products they have used. This is a hyperbole as there is no way you can tell if it is the world's whitest or not. It also uses triples as it calls the product the 'whitest', 'cleanest' and that it 'brightens' colours. The text is in a serif font to connote the factual information and communicate the product's USP.

There is a comic-like image of two women hanging their washing on the line and talking about Tide. They are talking positively about the product, making the audience want to try it. They are both women, which links back to the target audience.

The product is 'guaranteed by Good Housekeeping', which is a magazine for women owned by the Hearst Corporation. It features articles about women's interests, recipes, diets, product reviews and more. In  this case, Good Housekeeping has done a review of the product and thought it was really good. The symbol with 'guaranteed by Good Housekeeping' in is included as it has been recognised as a good product and people will see the logo and buy the product because of it.

There is a small image of the main woman on the advertisement. She is pointing to one word, 'remember!' This is an imperative verb used to motivate the audience and is basically saying to them 'remember everything you've just read about the product and remember to buy it'. 

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Notes 4

At the bottom, it says 'Tide gets clothes cleaner than any other washday product you can buy'. This makes the audience want to buy it to see if it is the best.

At the time, household jobs were stereotypically the job of the women rather than the men. The men went out to work and the women stayed at home to look after the children and do the household jobs. The idea that this product is for women to use is put across in two ways. All the images are of women and the creator of the advert addresses the audience as 'you women' (which would not be the case if men were expected to do the washing too).

Women at the time stayed at home doing the housework, which is shown by the women in the images doing so. No men are seen or mentioned, instead the images are all of women and women are addressed directly. This shows the gender roles that there were at the time- the men worked and the women stayed at home to do housework and look after the children.

Washing machines were very new at the time. Before this, women washed their clothes by hand. The advertisement aimed to promote both the product and washing machines in general. As washing machines were a new concept, most people viewing the advertisement were still doing their washing by hand as they did not own a washing machine. Not only was the company trying to get them to buy the product but also to get them to buy and use a washing machine. To do so, people needed more information about the product and what the product and washing machine do as they would be investing in both the product and a washing machine. This is why this advertisement features a lot more text than modern adverts.

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Notes 5

The text in the advert goes into detail on Tide's USPs (Unique Selling Points), which can relate to the consumer culture at the time as potential customers needed more information about the product.

When the advert was produced, the war had recently ended. During the war, women worked in factories whilst their husbands fought in the war. This was something previously forbidden to them, as they were expected to stay at home all day looking after the children and doing chores. As they had been working out of the house and experiencing some freedom, many women were unhappy to have to go back to staying at home after the war and resume their domestic role. This advertisement tries to make women feel happier about doing household jobs by the women in the images smiling and looking like they are enjoying the chores, which makes the audience want to try the product out.

In the images, the women are white and middle/upper class (as only people who are fairly wealthy can afford to buy a washing machine).

The background is white, perhaps to symbolize how clean the product makes clothes due to the connotations the colour white has of cleanliness and purity. The most part of the text is in black but the most important information is in red, which has connotations of love. The images are brightly coloured in order to make the advert stand out.

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Bell Hooks' feminist theory can be applied to the advertisement. She argued that feminism pays too little attention to race and class, and too much attention to middle class women. She would respond negatively to the advertisement because the women featured are both white and middle or upper class. Also, the women in the advert are staying at home to do housework and look after the children whilst the men are working- the women aren't offered the same opportunities as the men, and the advert completely dismisses the idea of men doing or wanting to do the housework.

Roland Barthes' theory of semiotics can also be applied. Suspense is created through the enigma of 'what women want' and emphasized by the use of many exclamation marks. The images/drawings of hearts, as well as the gestures made by the women in the images, have connotations of love. The hyperbole and superlatives used ('miracle', 'world's cleanest wash' and 'world's whitest wash'), as well as tripling ('no other...'), are used to oppose the connoted superior cleaning power of Tide to other washing detergents.

Claude Levi-Strauss' structuralism theory can be applied to the advert. The advertisement is constructed through the use of binary oppositions. 'Tide gets clothes cleaner than any other washday product you could buy' and 'There's nothing like Procter and Gamble's Tide' reinforce the conceptual binary oppositions between Tide and its commercial rivals. 'Unlike soap', 'truly safe' and gets laundry 'whiter than any soap or washing product known' connote that other products do not offer what Tide does.

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