In Australia, a rapid adoption of personal vehicles from the mid-twentieth century onwards has been, at least in part, related to increasingly targeted and pervasive advertising. The result is a consolidation of automobility through exposure, as audiences consume persuasive messaging at conscious and unconscious levels. The argument in this study is that the messaging in Australian car advertisements in the past eight decades has been highly gendered, with women often objectified, infantilised, or dismissed. Meanwhile men have been shown as being in charge – of cars and of life. The study is based on a qualitative analysis of 24 high-profile car advertisements shown on television since the 1950s. An improved understanding of the relationships between gender, automobility, and advertising can be used to reconfigure Australians’ cultural connection with cars and alter the latter’s influence on the built environment.
This article is based on Naomi Thomas’s honour’s thesis (supervised by Dorina Pojani), which received full marks. To cite:
Naomi Thomas & Dorina Pojani (2022) Changing gears? Gendered messaging in Australian car advertisements since the 1950s, Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, DOI: 10.1080/17549175.2022.2154079