I have not yet started on my project for FYS, but I have a good idea of what I would like to accomplish. For my project, I would like to do a case study on the representation of different demographics in the field of advertising, and how much it as changed, from the 1950's to 2000's. A 50 year period of time, encompassing changes in both advertising methods and society, should be enough to illustrate how companies advertised their products, as well as who they targeted. The goal of my project is to see if companies have become more progressive in representing both race and gender.
This project brings up a number of questions, usually having to do with the standards of the advertisements of the time. Did the 50's advertisements cater to a predominantly white demographic due to society's prejudice at the time? Did that change after the Civil Rights movement? By analyzing the main subjects of the advertisements of the time, I can see what demographic the companies targeted, and compare it to other ads closer to the present. One aspect of this project that concerns me is that there are a LOT of advertisements from the 50's to now, so I will have to choose a suitable range of advertisements for each decade. A small range won't yield any results, a large range would be unmanageable and take too much time. Therefore, around 20 advertisements per decade would be opportune, with 100 advertisements analyzed in total. Looking ahead, I know that I will need to spend a good amount of time documenting the subjects of each advertisement, as I have many ads to look at and deconstruct... for the good of science!