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Gendered Media Messages in Film Franchises

Film franchises such as Frozen and Marvel’s Avengers have become a ubiquitous part of the American media landscape, and research has shown that these stories and characters are influential in shaping social gender norms among children and young adults.

To what extent do media promotions for popular American film franchises (trailers, posters, press releases, promotional merchandise such as toys and action figures) use gendered marketing, and how do they influence media preferences among preteen girls?

This presentation is an overview of my MS Advertising capstone project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. See the final version of the project here: http://mspriyankabose.wix.com/girlsandmovies

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Gendered Media Messages in Film Franchises

  1. 1. G E N D E R E D M E D I A M E S S A G E S I N F I L M F R A N C H I S E S
  2. 2. B U T I S I T A LWAY S T H E R I G H T C H O I C E ? S E G M E N T E D M A R K E T I N G F O R B O Y S A N D G I R L S I S N O T H I N G N E W.
  3. 3. W H AT ’ S K N O W N • There is plenty of research on gender messages within films aimed at children and teenagers, as well as research focused on gender and toys • Findings have shown that the content of these films has an effect on the self esteem of girls • Studios find it more financially lucrative to segment the market to boys vs. girls than to have intersectional marketing • Yet recently, there have been a series of announcements regarding female- oriented action franchises in the works
  4. 4. W H AT ’ S N O T K N O W N • What do girls think and what do they want? • The extent of gendered messaging contained within actual film promotions (trailers, posters) • Academic research on franchise merchandise as promotional materials
  5. 5. O N E T H I N G I S V E RY C L E A R : when it comes to action franchises, the existing merchandise is not impressive.
  6. 6. T H AT ’ S W H AT I ’ M T RY I N G T O F I G U R E O U T. Essentially, it comes down to a chicken and egg question. ! Do toy companies not make superhero/non- princess related toys for little girls because they're not interested? ! Or are they not interested in superheroes because there is almost nothing available for them to latch onto?
  7. 7. K E Y Q U E S T I O N S • What kinds of gendered messages are in promotional materials for film franchises? • How do these gendered messages affect media preferences among girls? • How do these gendered messages affect their preferences for film related merchandise?
  8. 8. O V E R V I E W O F M E T H O D S • Content Analysis • promotional materials such as trailers, posters, and websites • in-store observations of available franchise merchandise • online analysis of available franchise merchandise • Use Kay Vandergrift’s Model of Female Voices in Youth Literature in coding guide • In-depth interviews with 10-13 year old girls • Carolyn Gilligan’s “Listening Guide method will be used to analyze transcripts