Advertising as culture : a study of how television advertisements represent work in South Africa.
Kankuzi, Sydney Friendly.
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The present study investigates how television advertising represents work in South Africa. It uses the 1998 Employment Equity Act as an index of analysis. Using the contructionist approach to media representations and a re-examination of George Gerbner's cultivation hypothesis as its point of departure the study examines fifty-four television advertisements that were randomly selected over a four week period SABC 1, 2 and 3, and e.tv. Overall the study points out that images of work that are portrayed by television adverting in South Africa tend to marginalise certain demographic groups in certain types of occupational categories and work roles. However, it hesitates to apply ideals of the 1998 Employment Equity Act on this observation to conclude that advertising representations discriminate against the respective demographic groups in the occupational categories and work roles. The study justifies this hesitation in two ways. Firstly, it raises theoretical problems that would arise if one applied ideals of the 1996 Employment Equity Act wholesale on advertising representations of work. Secondly, it points out important weaknesses of quantitative content analysis which incapacitates it from grasping subtle tendencies which may help give a more comprehensive picture of advertising representations.