Advertisers and filmmakers use a number of skillful production techniques to appeal to male and female viewing audiences. Discover how you could apply them to your own business video production process, to possibly enhance and add extra appeal to your video message.
Unbeknown to you (the viewer) they (the director, actor, production, etc) are using a ton of visual persuasion techniques like;
- Preprogrammed (unconscious) emotion-laden-triggering visual clues i.e. sex, beauty, nurturance, status envy, high/low social status
- Status indicators that are anxiety-producing (commonly used in high-fashion advertising)
- Subtle sex-role cues, stylistic principles, and clustering that accentuate feelings of inferiority or superiority
- Different types of class structure for beauty – designed to trigger viewer identification
- Engagement techniques that evoke trust or curiosity to “sell the message” on-screen.
Gender stereotypes are still prevalent and often times reinforced in the filming/production process. Often these production techniques are used in a subtle way, working at a subconscious level (the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware but which influences one’s actions and feelings).
If you watch TV look for these techniques in TV commercials tonight to see if you recognize the following patterns.
How to Get the Men
TV commercials targeting male audiences tend to contain a high number of fast “cuts” – which are abrupt, instantaneous changes in the scene.
Male commercials have more noise and sound effects. If there is background music, it will tend to be loud. Masculine offerings are conveyed through a high rate of action, aggression, and quick shifts from one scene to another, sometimes accompanied by a pumped-up soundtrack.
An obvious example is TV Car commercials that target male buyers. It might only be a basic family sedan, but invariably the car will be shown speeding, sliding, and braking with a series of fast cuts to each new scene with:
- Hard pounding, driving music
- Engine revs, aggressive sound effects
- The mood implies sexual potency, power, speed, the toughness of handling, dominating the environment, freedom
- A deep-voiced narrator (indicative of having higher amounts of testosterone) will talk up the car’s features like it was the movie trailer for the latest Hollywood blockbuster.
What Speaks to a Woman
On the other hand, TV commercials targeting female audiences tend to contain:
- Editing transitions like “fades” and “dissolves” with soft, slow, smooth transitions into new scenes
- More background music (compared to male-targeted commercials) is often characterized by softer, quieter notes which form a background to the dialogue
- More fades and background music to convey images of softness, gentleness, predictability, and slow gradual change.
For example, a TV car commercial that targets a female buyer will typically have fewer cuts and have fun, lively music playing throughout.
Each scene will fade into the other, and the narrator will likely be telling a story about how this car compliments her life, and convey common sense, efficiency, economy, safety, dignity, beauty – expressing various aspects of her personality.
Car commercials are blunt, obvious examples, however, these production techniques are used in all types of filming.
They are generally not that noticeable unless the viewer is specifically looking for them, but now that you are consciously aware of them, you will start to see them everywhere!
Established in 2006 Bianca Te Rito, founder of STEBIAN.com provides an exclusive, consulting service helping business thought leaders, speakers, award-winning authors & VIPs productize their thought leadership and present themselves, their products, services, or brand message to their target audience in the most effective way possible on video. Get the tailored expertise from a real-world operator with over 20 years of TV/Film industry experience working in front of and behind the camera. Learn more about our custom offers here.