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Gender Stereotypes in Commercials

Gender stereotypes are widespread in the media and often employed in commercials. They are especially noticeable in products that were traditionally seen as more popular among a particular gender. For instance, home appliances or makeup commercials are typically directed at women. Automobile advertising, on the contrary, tends to concentrate on the male audience (Sandhu, 2019). A good example can be seen in the BMW 5 Series 2017 commercial.

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It is directed at men and relies on the stereotype that they are typically more interested in automobiles, in general, and BMW, in particular. However, it is not the only gender stereotype employed by this commercial. It draws on many clichés associated with hypermasculinity. The commercial provides an illustration of what can be seen as a model example of a successful, attractive young man (BMW BLOG, 2017). He keeps a busy schedule being engaged in various projects, working hard to eventually achieve great results – fame and recognition. He is also shown working out shirtless revealing his pumped muscles.

The narration is playing an important role in emphasizing the message. It is based on the character recalling his father’s advice (a nod to the widespread notion of a strong father figure teaching his son to be successful). It contains such statements as “No matter what you do in life, always be best at it” (BMW BLOG, 2017, 0:13 – 0:17). It aspires to be a strong motivational message. The creators apparently aim to establish associations between exaggerated masculinity and the automobile, trying to sell it to men who would like to see themselves as athletic and successful as the commercial’s character.

While, on the surface, there is nothing particularly wrong with this commercial, it contributes to the bulk of automobile advertisements that are based on similar stereotypes. Although some can, indeed, aspire to achieve similar accomplishments, not every man seeks fame or is interested in bodybuilding. And they should not feel as if they have to want these things or be like this in order to be a happy, successful human being. Therefore, I believe that modern marketing practices should not contribute to strengthening gender stereotypes in any way.


Sandhu, N. (2019). Fueling gender stereotypes: A content analysis of automobile advertisements. Business Perspectives and Research, 7(2), 163-178.

BMW BLOG. (2017). 2017 BMW 5 series commercial [Video]. YouTube.

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