The Dawn of an Era: Gender Roles

Dawn, the dish soap corporation well-known for their environmentally-aware products, has begun to use a new appeal to the masses in their latest marketing strategy: a change in gender roles.

As enforcement of norms tells us, many household products are advertised with the women in their mid-twenties and up in mind. This is largely due to the fact that many women do the majority of household chores, with the man typically depicted as the breadwinner of the family.

However, in this dish soap commercial, Dawn used a man for the central figure in their story. The commercial depicts a couple, probably on their anniversary, in which the man is cooking an extravagant meal for them both. At first, he makes an incredible mess, and viewers expect the woman (who looks at the kitchen with horror), to do all of the cleaning. Contrary to this expectation, the man goes into the kitchen and is shown cleaning every pot and pan until the kitchen is spotless once again.

Though the man is the center of attention for this advertisement, the product is still aimed at the same target audience of women in their twenties and up. How is this effective? Many women would LOVE for their husbands to do the cooking and cleaning for them! How can they achieve this? Through Dawn soap, of course!

In addition, the advertisement uses “Need for Affiliation” to sell the product. In addition to the major plus of your husband doing the cooking and cleaning, it appeals to unmarried or single women as well. It speaks to this appeal, as it shows a romantically affectionate couple, both attractive, well-dressed, and obviously very happy together. In this sense, it appeals to women (and men) who are looking for a romantic relationship or an improvement in an existing one.

The commercial does a phenomenal job in captivating their entire demographic. It could appeal to married couples/couples living together, as well as any single person who does dishes; which is almost everyone. The vast majority of people may go to the store to buy soap, but Dawn’s unique selling point is their “Need for Affiliation”. Whoever said that money cannot buy happiness apparently has not used Dawn dish soap to meet their partner.