Topic: BusinessManagement

Last updated: March 30, 2019

Shehbaz Khan | Rasool Bakhsh | Maiwand Khan & Sanaullah Khan
Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences, Faculty of Arts
and Basic Sciences, Department of English Literature and Linguistics, Quetta, Pakistan
Email: [email protected]

This research study takes semiotics as a model for the analyses of detergent advertisements. An attempt
has been made in this research to investigate the ideologies or hidden languages as well as economic
strategies of companies in advertisements. The ads selected for this research are aired on Pakistani
television channels. The study has focused on how Bonus and Brite targets different groups of people
and how signs within these ads play their role for the delivery of a message to the audience. Images,
words, colors, and other signs are an important part of the overall message of advertisements. An
attempt, in the study about gender stereotype has also been made to understand sexism and baseless
categorisations of male and female chores in detergent ads. The analyses of the signs are based on ‘Class
distinction’ which is one of the ideas from Karl Marx’s theory of Marxism where he talks about social
classes. The findings have indicated that Bonus ad is promoted to a certain social class through different
semiotics and Brite on the other hand is promoted to another group of people. Both ads attract
consumers through different level of visual communication. Bonus with all its signs presented in the ad
attracts the lower-middle class and Brite with all the signs is promoted to the upper class. Therefore,
both ads create the difference of social classes…
Keywords: Semiotics, signs, advertisements, detergents, class distinction

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The word ‘media’ is taken from the word
medium. It implies mode or transporter. Media
is proposed to reach and address a substantial
target gathering or group of onlookers. The
word media was first used in regard of books
and daily papers, that is print media and with the
appearance of innovation, media presently
includes TV, motion pictures, radio and web. In
this day and age, media progresses toward
becoming as fundamental as our day by day
needs and it is assuming a critical part in making
and forming of popular feeling.
Companies are making more space in the mind
of viewers through advertisement on media.
According to Inghem (1995), the normal grown-
up spends one and half years of his or her life
sitting in front of the TV ads. For time we spend
watching adverts, it makes sense that it will
have impact on the individuals who watch.
Advertisements on media are a form of
communication through which companies and
organizations meet their consumers or clients
(Arens, 2011). Advertisements, that makes a
social sort of experience, semiosis is just a
single part of this social practice and it holds a
novel intensity of meaning generation. By virtue

of product image, the item is credited different
implications. The blend of the item and
individual codes ends up reflecting the features
of certain ideologies and group of people. In TV
ads, items are sold utilizing influential
procedures by building need among customers
in non-individual way. Media and TV are
congenial to masses at inaccessible and
unprivileged zones likewise; it is presently a
successful tool to make up psyche of the general
population. The past Election battles in Pakistan
were also fought through media for powerful
reputation because slogans of ads, visual
imagery in promotions motivate watchers more
than anything else they encounter or experience.
Advertisements in the postmodern era play a
huge role to promote several products and ideas
in the society. It can be audio or visual form of
marketing communication that promotes
products or certain messages. A fundamental
part of promotion, Ads are open notification
intended to illuminate and inspire. Their goal is
to change the reasoning example (or buying
behavior) of the recipient, with the goal that he
or she is induced to make the move wanted by
the promoter or advertiser. At the point when
disclosed on radio or TV. An ad is known as a
In the Modern world, companies are using
different techniques to promote their products
and to convince the audience. There are
different types of ads such as video, poster,
banner, and audio ads. It can possibly impact the
buyers and their social and cultural
surroundings. There are number of approaches
engaged in study of language, signs and –
symbols utilized in ads. Numerous sociological,
cultural studies and sociolinguistic approaches
feature the manners in which the signs are used
in ads. These diverse signs, pictures and
symbols used in advertisements are essential
piece of their communication process. These
pictures are impressions of society which shape
the manner of thinking of the purchasers to
decipher meaning of the advertisements.
This study is about specific detergent
advertisements in Pakistan. Brite and Bonus are
famous detergent brands in the country.
Detergent and Washing powder is always
misunderstood by people but there is a slight
difference between these two terms. Detergents
are surface active agents and generally made
from Petro-chemicals, whereas washing powder
is a powdered form of detergent that are
generally used for washing fabrics. Detergents
and washing powders are very important part of
our modern living culture. The dirt and stains
can be easily removed in less time with the help
of these detergents. Detergent is a water-soluble
cleansing agent which combines with impurities
and dirt to make them more soluble, and differs
from soap in not forming a scum with the salts
in hard water (Oxford Dictionary) And the same
dictionary defines washing powder as ‘detergent
in the form of a powder for washing clothes, bed
linen, etc.
The investigations of semiotics give stage to see
how advertising reflect and shape experiences of
buyer’s everyday life. Today, the study of
semiotics is progressively considered as vital
piece of advertising.
Semiotic Analysis is a wide theoretical
hypothesis of symbols and signs that pacts
especially with their importance in both
artificially made and natural words. It includes
semantics, syntactic, and pragmatics. It can be
an investigation of symbols and conduct of
using symbols, mainly in language.
In the late 19th century, the useful work done by
Charles Sanders Peirce and Ferdinand de
Saussure coordinated semiotics as a system for
testing certainties in different fields, for
example, communications, anthropology,
aesthetics, semantics, and psychology. A
detectable mindfulness in the example and
structure following the activity of extraordinary
signs interfaces semiotics among the techniques
of structuralism.

Semiotic examination connotes a strategy
intended for the investigation of special texts
disregarding the standard in which it is offered.
In support of these reasons, exceptional text can
be any message preserved in a structure having
a free presence.
It might potentially create ergonomic
arrangement or a basic examination in
conditions where it is fundamental to ensure that
individuals are able to interconnect more
efficiently with their surroundings. The mode of
interaction can vary; it can be a large-scale as
found in structural design, or a small-scale as
found in the design of instrumentation for
Semiotic examination can be applied to
everything that can be seen as proposing
something. In basic words, this investigation is
appropriate to anything which has denotation
surrounded by a culture. Additionally, in the
structure of the mass communication, you can
relate semiotic investigation to a couple of
media messages, for example, posters, films,
daily paper, kid’s shows, magazine articles,
radio and TV programs and different other ads.
It is additionally conceivable to relate it to the
methods engaged in creating and inferring such
kind of texts.
‘One picture is worth a thousand words. Yes,
but only if you look at the picture and say or
think the thousand words.’ – William Saroyan
At the time when Ferdinand de Saussure was
developing his two part ‘dyadic’ model of the
sign, consisting of a ‘signifier, or the form that
a sign takes, and the ‘signified,’ or concept it
represents, Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914)
an American intellectual was working on his
own model of signs. He developed a model of
signs known as semiotics. Natural phenomena,
culture, and society are explored as signs in
semiotics. An important question in semiotics is
how meanings are formed through different
signs which exist in various forms: images,
words, letters, objects, natural objects, gestures,
phenomena and actions. Peirce formulated a
three-part model which consists of an
interpretant, representamen, and an object.
2.1.1. Figure 1 (Pierce’s Triadic Model)

A. Interpreting Signs:
Having an interpretant as part of Pierce’s
semiotic model was his new and distinctive
contribution to understanding and defining
For Pierce, signification was not a
straightforward binary relationship between a
sign and an object. He viewed this innovative
part of his semiotic model as how we elucidates
or understand a sign and its relationship to the
A basic point in Peirce’s hypothesis is that the
meaning of a sign is made by the elucidation it
stimulates in those using it. He repeats this in
his remark that "a sign … tends to someone, that
is, makes in the psyche of that individual an
equivalent sign, or maybe a more developed
sign.” So an interpretant is the sense we make
out of the sign, comparable in meaning to
Saussure’s ‘signified’ with the exception of that it
is a sign in the brain of the interpretor. The
element of understanding in Peirce’s theories
also emphasized his claims that semiosis is a
procedure, whereas Saussure’s emphasis was
dependably on structure.

B. Representing Signs:
The representamen in Peirce’s hypothesis is the
form the sign takes, which isn’t really a material
or solid object. Peirce was occupied with the
meaning component of a sign and emphasized
that not every one of the components of a sign
are vital or convey a similar weight in its
interpretation. Along these lines, in his view, it
isn’t the sign all in all that signifies an object but
those components are most crucial to its
working as a signifier. For instance, a “stop”
sign may have a white border – but that part of
the sign isn’t crucial to the message “stop here at
this point.” We would have the capacity to
translate the sign if that border were missing or
if a black border were used instead. The
representamen is similar in meaning to
Saussure’s concept of signifier.
C. Objects Create Signs:
The sign refers to an “object” which is the
referent is also known as the “sign vehicle.” It is
important to understand that this does not have
to be a material object.
As with the sign or representem, not all of the
features of the object are relevant to
signification. Just specific components of an
object enable a sign to mean it.
Peirce argued that the relationship between the
object of a sign and the sign that represents it is
one of determination. In other words it is the
object, entity, or socially agreed concept that
determines its sign and its successful
signification; the thought being that the object
forces limitations that a sign must hold to if it is
to represent that object and form the correct
interpretation in our minds.
Ads are not only a method for sending
information about a product but are meant to
relate to the sensitivities of consumers they are
aimed at. One of the intriguing tools utilized by
the advertisers is “Semiotics” that they use to
sort out, and create pictures in such a way that
consumers make meaning out of these
constructs to fit their realities.
Bignell (2002, p.1-3) quoted that ‘Semiotics’ (or
semiology) is one of the most powerful and
influential ways of thinking about media.
Mick (1986, p.196) mentioned that “the
consumer world is a web of meanings among
consumers and marketers woven from signs and
symbols ensconced in their cultural space and
time.” He argues that the significance of signs
and symbols has been generally perceived, yet
not very many researchers working on
consumers have created hypothesis and research
programs based on semiotics, the doctrine of
signs. He also mentions that “the strength of
semiotics is, it positions meaning at the nucleus
of consumer behavior, which provides a rich
meta-language for semiotic consumer research,
and recommends a multi-paradigm philosophy
of science”.
Baudrillard thinks that contemporary world is
overwhelmed by signs, pictures and portrayals
and this control is of such an extent, that the line
of distinction between sign and its referent -the
real world, has blurred (1990.) Pierce focused
on three aspects of signs: Their iconic, indexical
and symbolic dimensions. Semiotics has been
applied, with interesting results to film, theatre,
medicine, architecture, zoology and a host of
other areas that involve or are concerned with
communication and transfer of information.
Some semioticians say that everything can be
investigated semiotically.
Eco (1976) have done essential hypothetical
investigation of semiotics that deals with its
range of applications: It is an advanced text for
readers with a good background in the subject.
Goldman, and Papson (1996) used semiotics and
other methods of cultural criticism. The authors
‘decode’ advertising in general as well as
various commercials and ad campaigns in
particular. They also discussed advertising’s

role in United States’ culture and society from a
critical view of perspective.
Berger and Asa’s work is proposed for
individuals who have no nature with semiotic
idea. It offers an investigation of the essential
ideas of semiotics theory, along with
applications of these concepts to various aspects
of contemporary society. Every section contains
both discussions and applications of a semiotic
concept (1998).
Ali, Naaz, Aftab, ; Danish (2014) employed
Sausaurian model for semiotic analysis where
they focused on the effects of women
representation in Pakistani advertisements on
Pakistani women identity. The research paper
concludes that women as object of sensuality is
being portrayed through advertisements of
multinational brands and those ads are not
representing Pakistani cultural norms rather
representing an alien culture.
Murtaza and Khubra. (2017) conducted a
semiotic study on cultural misrepresentation in
Pakistani Advertisements. This research paper
explores the misrepresentation of Pakistani true
cultural values and norms in famous brand
advertisements. The researchers conclude that
different brands are violating Pakistani culture
and traditions and manipulating the society
through advertisements.
The study is a multi-disciplinary research
intertwining media communication and class
distinction. Data is taken from advertisements of
national brands running on Pakistani television
channels. Visual images are analysed through
Semiotics. Qualitative analysis is favored to
investigate different signs in detergent
commercial advertisements. Moreover, the
focus of the analysis is the images drawn from
the ads, because media focuses more on visual
representation than the textual representation.
Furthermore, very little written or verbal text is
added in advertisements giving comparatively
small number of threads for a deep investigation
while analyzing images deeply is possible where
extracting denotative meaning is obvious while
connotative meanings of signs are also brought
to the surface.
1. To explore the representation of social
classes in Pakistani detergent
2. To identity and analyze different
semiotic meanings in the advertisements
of Pakistani detergents.
1. In what ways social classes are
being advertised in Pakistani Ads?
2. How different signs are used to
convey meaning in Pakistani detergent
The Sample of the study consists of two famous
detergent brands such as Brite and Bonus,
selected for this research as a visual text. One
advertisement from each brand has been chosen
in order to analyse different signs as well as the
notion of class distinction. Purposeful sampling
technique has been applied while choosing the
sample. The advertisements, selected for this
study are advertised in the current year 2018 and
are still running on different news and
entertainment channels. Still images from both
advertisements are captured for the analysis of
signs and class distinction.
Theoretical frame work is Karl Marx’s theory of
Marxism; he discusses class distinction which is
one of the ideas of his Marxist theory. Class
distinction will be discussed in general that will

support the study and the theory will help us to
understand how class distinction is exhibited in
the selected Pakistani detergent advertisements.
On the other hand, the model for this study is
Pierce’s model of semiotics which has been
used for the analysis of all the signs presented in
selected detergent advertisements. The model of
Semiotic is Peirce’s new development for
understanding and defining signs.
It was not believed by Pierce that signification is
a straightforward binary relationship between a
sign and an object. Pierce viewed this
innovative part of his semiotic model as how we
perceive or understand a sign and its
relationship to the object it is referring to. In
Peirce’s theory, a critical point is that the
meaning of a sign is created by the
interpretation it stimulates in those using it. He
reiterates this in his comment that “a sign …
addresses somebody, that is, creates in the mind
of that person an equivalent sign, or perhaps a
more developed sign.” (Lanir, 2012)
Semiotics is explained as the “systematic study
of signs” (Eagleton, 1986, p. 100). The intention
in the study was to understand different
semiotics and their possible meanings of the
selected Pakistani detergent advertisements and
their higher and varied impact on consumers.
Semiotics assumes that visual pictures and their
respective signs can be read similar to a text.
Umberto Eco talks about the term semiotics in
the broadest sense. He said that, “semiotics is
related to everything that can be taken as signs”
(1976, p.7). As Chandler states that we can take
different sounds, images, words and gestures
because all these things have certain meanings
depending upon how all these things are being
Each and every sign that are present in Bonus
and Brite ads have a meaning that have an
impact on the consumers. These ads are made
for particular classes. Classes are characterized
on the basis of how much money one has.
Similarly, Bonus is a detergent brand that
represents the lower-middle class in its
advertisement. Hence, the company promotes
the product to a particular social class. Bonus is
less expensive than any other detergent brand in
the market and so it attracts the lower-middle
class who are not willing to spend much of their
money on detergents.
Pierce believes that a sign’s meaning is created
by the interpretation it stimulates in those using
it. Similarly, Brite is an expensive detergent
brand, targeting the wealthy class through a
certain settings showcased in the advertisement.
Expensiveness is a sign whose meaning is
created by the ad companies through lavish and
decorated advertisements. The advertisements in
this study, deliver a huge range of meaning,
symbols and messages to a particular class of
people making them to buy the product.
An expensive product company will never
consider a lower-middle class setting for their
advertisement, reason being, the lower-middle
class may not possibly buy their product and
this is the reason why companies will always
consider having a setting that balances with its
reputation and its price, in the making of an
advertisement for their product. The settings
may include everything shown or presented in
the advertisement: from dressing to language,
the background settings, and price figures of the
In a broader sense, everything in between the
settings of the advertisement, have certain signs
that convey meaning which helps the
researchers in this study to understand the
motives of the brand. The ads selected for this
research have all those signs or semiotics which
is used to target a particular social class for
economic reasons.
Brand names play an important part in the
success of a product. A brand name is the base
of a brand’s image. The image associated with a

brand name can be built with advertising with
the passage of time, Brand companies today
realizes that a carefully created and chosen
name can bring inherent and immediate value to
the brand (Kohli ; Labahn, 1997, p. 67).
The awareness about brand’s name plays vital
role in consumer decision making process; if a
consumer had already heard the brand name and
knows about it, the consumer may feel more
comfortable at the time of purchasing.
Consumers normally do not prefer to buy an
unknown brand, especially if the product is
quite expensive. Names present many things
about a product and it gives number of
information about the brand to the consumers
and it also tell the customer what the product
means to them. Furthermore, it represents the
customers’ convenient summary like their
feelings, knowledge and experiences with the
Some companies assign catchy names to their
products so that people can easily memorize
even if the name of their product in reality has
nothing to do with the emotional experience but
still the name is catchy and it can be easily
memorized by the customers. Bonus which is a
noun means “a sum of money added to a
person’s wages as a reward for good
performance.” In other words, the Name Bonus
means ‘Extra’ which stands as ‘Extra Powder’.
Consumers who do not want to spend lot of
money on detergent can be easily attracted
towards this name “Bonus” which is actually
providing an extra quantity of powder in real
terms for less money. The lower-middle class
usually considers detergents that are not
Brite, on the other hand is a much expensive
detergent brand as compared to Bonus. Brite is a
word that is not recognized by English reference
sources. Brite is sometimes used in place of
bright in product names, but it is not appropriate
to use it in place of bright anywhere else
because Bright is the standard spelling of the
adjective with various meanings having to do
with fullness of light, hope, promise and
The camera, in Bonus ad opens with a scene
where the setting appears to be very common.
The first scene of the ad depicts a typical
Pakistani lower- middle class residence. This
very first visual (Picture A-1) show a milkman
approaching the main entrance door to deliver
the milk.
Umberto Eco states that “semiotics is related to
everything that can be taken as signs” (1976,
p.7). The milk which is packed in a plastic bag
can be considered as a sign here. Usually, the
lower class or the lower-middle class use loose
milk for their daily consumption or for their
daily diet needs.

Picture A-1
In addition, everything from doors to windows
and those traditional ‘Bamboo Chic Blinds’ as
well as the motor bike with milk containers
hanging on it shows a traditional setup which is
set in this ad to associate the product with the
lower-middle class. The overall setting in
(Picture A-1) Bonus represents a broad picture
about the social class of the residents.
Usually, the upper or rich class does not use
loose- milk but Tetra milk packs and thus the
notion of class distinction can be clearly
understood from this very first scene.

Today, every modern home has a washing
machine for washing clothes. In less modern or
lower income households, washing clothes
involves water, soap and most importantly ones
“hands". Soap is considered a cheap option for
cleaning clothes. The lower-middle class is in
need for more low cost laundry detergent
choices in the marketplace these days and they
believe laundry detergent costs too much.

Picture A-2
Picture A-2 shows a person (typically women)
removing the soap, as the soap is now replaced
with Bonus (less expensive detergent). This
visual shows a woman washing clothes with
hands by using soap depicts a certain social
class; a lower-middle class, because washing
with hands is something that usually happens in
lower-middle class families.

The bright ad opens up showing people in a
restaurant. The restaurant is shown as an
expensive place. Rich people usually tend to
know about more foods and they like going to
expensive places because they can afford them.
Human beings are inherently prone to seek
power or social status under several consumer
settings (Berger, Rosenholtz, and Zelditch 1980)

Picture B-1
In Picture B-1 the focus of the camera is on a
family but, this visual is more about the overall
setup of this scene than only the family. The
restaurant is an expensive one as it looks by its
settings. The tables and chairs, table lamps as
well as the overall lighting can communicate the
meaning of all these decorated and fancy work.
The atmosphere of the restaurant sets the
standards which led the researchers to
understand that only a certain social class can
dine in such lavish restaurants. From interior to
lighting, artwork, and the spacing combine
creates comfort and intimacy. The combination
of the product and personal codes in Picture B-1
ends up portraying the features of a higher class.
A certain group of people is targeted and
therefore as compared to Bonus, Brite reflects
the features of the higher class and thus creates
class difference.
In Picture B-2, the focus of the researchers is on
the background than the character here in this
example. The interior designing of the kitchen
in this scene does not represent the lower-
middle class because not everyone can afford a
good interior designer for their homes but
except those who does not have any problem
spending money for the beautification of their

Picture B-2
The setting in this scene appears to be of a rich
family’s home. All of the elements in the
background adds texture and pleases the eye,
creating a rich environment. The design and
interior of the kitchen in the background can
describe the prestige or social class of the
owner. This setting of the scene made the
researchers understand the notion of class
difference in Brite as compared to Bonus. The
Brite Company is gaining more space with this
kind of settings in order to associate its product
with the higher class. It is a strategy to target a
certain social class for economic reasons.

A particular style of clothes defines a person as
an individual and also as part of a group.
Dressing can communicate meanings about
individuals and groups; it is always
‘unspeakably meaningful. Dress codes within
the ads chosen for this research study have made
the researchers to take simple signs and codes
and turn them into a conversation.

Picture A-3
People can represent themselves with their
clothes in many ways. For example, Picture A-3
from the Bonus ad shows a women wearing
simple Shalwar Kameez (trouser & long shirt)
with no fancy handiwork that depicts a typical
Pakistani lower- middle class dressing.
In today’s modern world wealth is being
displayed through dress. The class affiliation of
a person could be assessed with relative ease.
Dress is always recognized as an expressive
means of social distinction, influence and
power. Dressing is often exploited in class
warfare to gain leverage.
One’s dressing can signify one's culture,
propriety, moral standards, economic status, and
social power, and that is why it is a powerful
tool to negotiate and structure social relations as
well as to enforce class differences. Similarly,
the dress code in Picture B-3 shows the manager
wearing a western suit that displays the high
standards of the restaurant.

Picture B-3
As said before that the atmosphere of the
restaurant sets the standards. It is more than a
dining room away from home. Combining the
lighting, artwork, the interior and spacing,
creates contentment, comfort and intimacy. The
manager’s choice of clothing in Picture B-3 may
not be her own choice but as a manager she has
to wear suits of the kind. In this way, her overall
personality, specifically the dress, represents the
standards and overall image of the restaurant.
Moreover, lower- middle class cannot afford to

dine in such luxurious restaurants which led the
researchers to understand the notion of class
distinction between the two ads.
In the world of advertisement, language also has
an important role. Language has a powerful
influence over people and their behaviour. The
choice of language to convey specific messages
with the intention of influencing people is
vitally important in advertisements. Specific
languages in ads are meant to target specific
customers to buy a product that is why
advertisers use specific languages to persuade a
certain class of people.
Picture A-4 from Bonus, stages a very typical
setup. A milkman, while holding a plastic bag
which contains loose milk, uses a very typical
Pakistani lower-middle class language
expression that is “Khala Dooodh”.

Picture A-4
The word ‘Khala’ means aunt in English. The
woman may not be the milk man’s Khala (Aunt)
but still it’s been said. This mentality of
language-usage is often associated with the
lower-middle or middle class. This typical
expression elucidates the sign of language
which led the researchers to understand the
Social Class difference within the ads chosen for
the study.
The foundations of English are more stable as a
language of power and high social status in
Pakistan. It has become a major part of Pakistani
discourse. Whether in a formal setting or in an
informal situation, English language is being
spoken along with Urdu.
While in Bonus we have words like “Khala
Dooodh”, Brite on the other hand portrays a
completely different story as far as language is
concerned. English words and Phrases are used
in Brite. The use of English language is usually
associated with the elite or the upper class.

Picture B-4
English use in the ad promotes the notion of
class difference because English language
enjoys prestige. The use of the English phrase
“Ma’am we are really sorry” in Picture B-4 by
the restaurant manager to the guests, represents
a social class. Code-mixing and language shift is
a marketing strategy used by the advertising
companies to attract a specific social class.
Therefore, Language is one of the important
signs that made researchers understand different
classes to whom the messages of the ads are
conveyed. Language expression used in Bonus
may be directing to a specific group of people.
Similarly, the use of code-mixing and English
phrases directs the message to another group of
In addition, the idea of class distinction can be
clearly understood with these strategies used by
the advertisement companies for economical
Our Analysis is that English Language is used in
more expensive, higher-status restaurants while

simple language or Urdu in specific is used in
cheaper; lower-status restaurants.
4.1.4. COLORS
According to various studies, color represents
many emotions. They are said to engage
powerful emotional reactions. The positioning
of colors in advertisements are therefore high as
they present strong symbolic value.
Human beings can be influenced by colors and
it induces various emotions such as sadness, and
happiness etc. in them. Colors also have the
power to influence how people perceive an
object or even an idea (Nahai, 2013).
Brite has blue color that shows safety, purity,
and cleanliness whereas Bonus has yellow color.
Yellow as a warm color often evoke feelings of
happiness, optimism and energy.

Bonus Brite
Advertisements influences gender stereotyping
in a society. Ideologies propagated through
advertisements are a mere reflection of the
society. There are many detergent
advertisements including Bonus and Brite,
which reveals the problem of Sexism and
baseless categorisations of male and female
The advertisements of detergents, toilet and
floor cleaners, dishwashing soaps and other
beauty soap mostly have women featured in
them as mothers and housewives. This
propagates as if women are the ones who are
responsible to keep everything clean and tidy.
Women are presented in ads as if it is solely
their job or duty to clean dirty dishes, toilets and

According to a study by Jha Dang and Vohra
(2005) as compared to men, women more often
featured in ads for household and grocery
products, or beauty products while they were
less likely to be shown as working women.
Women are more often featured in detergent
ads. Men as compared to women are featured
more often in ads for automotive, financial
services, and electronic products. Similarly, in
this research the observation results are clear
which indicates that detergent advertisements
promote gender stereotype, and the patriarchal
Various strategies are used by the advertisers
(textual and body features) in order to naturalize
stereotypical roles of male and female.

Advertisements of these kinds reinforce the idea
of soft, decorative, family oriented but

intellectual women. On the other hand, men are
portrayed as brave, bold and financial providers.
As a result, the ads serve social power relations
and promotes the patriarchal state.
Price figures of products have always an impact
on consumers. In Pakistan, consumers have a
certain perspective about product prices. For
example, if a product is expensive it is
considered of a good quality otherwise the
perception is completely the opposite. Brite is
an expensive detergent brand that costs around
270 Rupees per kilogram, while Bonus is less
expensive which costs around 90 Rupees per
kilogram. Since, Bonus is less expensive this
makes it a good choice for the lower-middle
class. Bonus has a price tag on its front-look
which is a strategy used by the detergent
company to attract customers who are not
willing to spend much on detergents. Brite on
the other hand, does not have any price tag on
its front-look. Although it has a price mentioned
at the back of the product but not as bigger and
clear as Bonus have on the front-look.

Brite and Bonus
The reason of not mentioning the Price on the
front is because Brite is an expensive detergent
powder; people with wealth, never brag about
the price of something because it is high; they
do not think about the high prices. This shows
how the notion of class distinction is created
through company price policies. Products with
lower price figures are always meant for the
lower-middle class whereas products with high
price figures are always made for the upper or
higher class.
Advertisements not only promote brands or sell
products but it also makes the consumers to
believe in the ideologies, ads place before them.
The major pattern that has emerged in ads
selected for this study is that some of the signs
have higher and varied impact on consumers,
For example, the overall settings and setup of
the ads.
In this study the intention was to understand the
notion of class distinction as well as the signs
that are present in the ads of detergent brands.
Signs play a significant role for advertisement
companies to persuade consumers to buy their
product. The researchers found that some
companies are creating ads that target a certain
social class and those ads are made in such a
way that attracts a specific group of people.
While analysing Bonus and Brite detergent ads,
researchers found that a luxurious restaurant in
one ad, and a small house of a lower-middle
class family in the other are two different
pictures promoting the products in different
styles in order to engage with a specific class of
consumer and thus differentiating consumers on
the basis of class. Moreover, Bonus detergent
powder is very much reasonable in terms of
price and this low-price factor makes it a
popular choice among the lower-middle class.
Bonus promotes the product through ads with a
setup that depicts the lower-middle class
settings, reason being to associate Bonus with
the lower-middle class which is also a sales
strategy by the company to persuade customers
even more to achieve higher sales graph. The
researchers further adds that Brite is expensive
as compared to Bonus but Brite have some other
plans, for instance to target those consumers
who can spend good money on detergents. Since
class is characterized on the basis of how much

money one has, Brite persuades rich through its
lavish and decorated ads.
The findings also throw light on the Language
and Dressing which played an important part in
the ads. Companies in these ads used language
and the dressing of the characters as a tool to
attract a specific group of consumers so that
they (consumers) feel more close to the product.
A society is sometimes, reflected in the
advertisements. Similarly, gender stereotypes in
Pakistani ads are taking more space. The
researchers have also tried to understand gender
roles in the ads. Women as compared to man are
more often featured in advertisement which
promotes gender stereotype, and the patriarchal
ideology. Although both detergents may have
the same result as far as the functions of a
detergent is concerned but still both of the ads
are portrayed and promoted in different
manners. The researchers conclude that these
strategies are implemented to attract specific
group of consumers for economic reasons but at
the same time these strategies are a
psychological confrontation between social
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