Advertising does more than just promote mere products in popular culture today. Images that are used in advertising often set the standard which society feels it must live up to. Advertisements show what the ideal image is, and further tell how to obtain it. It is the advertisers who have the power to promote positive or negative images.
Most of the roles portrayed by women in advertisements tend to be a negative, and subservient image. This presents an itony since it is these negative images which have been most successful in selling products. Women are sometimes placed in an inferior role which can be characterized by helplessness, fragility and vulnerability. These visual images create an ideal of female societal position within the material realm of consumer culture. .
By setting ideals, not only do advertisers sell their products, but reaffirm traditional gender roles in society. In the article by Jib Fowles, "Advertising's Fifteen Basic Appeals", he states that the third appeal in advertising is the need to nurture. This is an appeal which advertisers sometimes use to produce ads that place women in a somewhat subservient role. Fowles writes that the need to nurture pitch is directed at women since they are seen as "Mother Nature's chief nurturers." .
An advertisement from the 1950's that portrays this image is for a brand of cigarettes that features the cartoon family The Flintstones. In the commercial, the female characters perform housework and chores while the male characters rest and observe while smoking cigarettes. This ad portrays women purely as housekeepers and that their sole purpose is to please men and raise the children. The men are portrayed as the moneymakers for the family who expect their home a certain way when the return from a hard day at work. In this regard, the women fit one of the major gender roles during the fifties as nurturers and subservient. Presently, that gender role has lessened, but still remains in some advertisements such as those concerning meal preparation, cleaning supplies and family life.