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Honors Thesis Archive

Author Andrea Berry
Title A Look into Ladies Home Journal: Tracking the trends and changes of strategy, themes and messaging in women's health and beauty products advertising from 1970 to 2009
Department Management
Advisor Pamela Schindler
Year 2010
Honors University Honors
Full Text View Thesis (3675 KB) Note: This is a very large file; it may be easier to download the file to your computer and open it from there.

This study discusses a content analysis of advertisement strategy and messaging of health and beauty products in Ladies Home Journal from 1970 to 2009 and indicates that the messaging and underlying creative strategy used in advertising in Ladies Home Journalwithin specific health and beauty categories has not significantly changed in the past 40 years. This disproves the original thesis that sought to show that due to environmental changes (e.g., the changing roles of women in society, rapidly advancing technology, the explosion of media options, the decrease in overall magazine use, and the increase in the percentage of women in the workforce) that messaging and creative strategy for perfume, hair care, skin care, makeup and personal hygiene ads would change dramatically over time, both overall and within each category. Instead these product categories used similar "big idea" creative strategies over the past four decades. The popular categories of "big ideas" included celebrity endorsers, everyday user (shows a person using the product), product demo (shows the product ready to use), and user endorsers. The strategy of using celebrities and beautiful models as celebrity endorsers actually became more prevalent in the recent decade. The common themes and messages of the advertisements are product effectiveness, sex appeal, product quality, and the ability of the product to make women appear younger. This last theme has become increasingly common in recent years. This research proves that what advertisers believed to be effective in magazine advertising for women 40 years ago, regardless of environmental changes, they still believe works in magazine advertising for today's women.

Common themes of the products advertised are effectiveness, sex appeal, and quality. This last theme, the image that a product will make you look and feel young, has become increasingly common in recent years.

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