This short Report, sponsored by the Lloyds Banking Group, asks the question “Does Advertising Reflect Modern Britain in 2018?” and answers it in a way that both GCSE and A-level Sociology teachers and students should find useful.
In basic terms, it’s a big, colourful, pdf file in three broad sections available for viewing online or offline as a pdf download.
1. Key Findings does exactly what you might expect by pulling together a couple of A4 posters worth of information – covering things like ethnic identities and media representations and stereotypes – and presenting it in a clear, informative, way.
2. Findings goes into more detail about what the research discovered, with a few bits-and-pieces of interpretation thrown into the mix for good measure. There’s also an interesting little section on “ethic identity”, plus a short discussion of the relationship between ethic and gender identities.
3. Methodology. This adds a further dimension of usefulness as far as sociology teachers are concerned because it provides an opportunity to examine how a piece of research is constructed, particularly in terms of its strengths, weaknesses, reliability and validity.
1. A semiotic audit involving “An objective review of 2,269 adverts from the top 50 advertising spenders in 2017 to see how they represented and portrayed B.A.M.E. groups in advertising”. Unfortunately, the Report gives no details about how, or by whom, this “objective review” was actually carried-out and it’s unclear whether this was a semiotic analysis of the adverts or some form of “content analysis with interpretive conclusions”. My guess, for what it’s worth, is that it was probably a bit of both: a content analysis of selected adverts with a bit of “semiotic interpretation” thrown in. I could be wrong, of course, but either way it could prove an interesting topic for discussion by A-level students.
2. A quantitative online survey of “2,000 respondents inEngland and Wales” designed to understand how respondents saw both ethicrepresentations in advertising and ethnic identities. While the sample size is very decent, there’s no indication of how and where the survey was carried-out, what steps were taken to weight respondents in terms of categories like age, gender, ethnicity or class or whether the sample was self-selected.
3. Focus groups: While it’s always nice to see a bit of qualitative data, 4 (count ‘em) quotes – as interesting as they are – doesn’t seem like a great return for running an unknown number of focus groups (details about which – “attended by those from a broad range of backgrounds and specific B.A.M.E. groups” – are conspicuously lacking.
Overall, however, you and your students should find the Report a useful addition to the “media representations” debate, both for the content it provides and the questions (methodological and otherwise) it raises.