Research Roundup: What’s New

YouTube beauty reviews

by Nicola Brown, MPC2014

Catch up on some of the latest research from MPC students spanning Indian history, creative advertising and YouTube beauty reviews:

Trust Me, You Should Buy This: Cosmetic Marketing And Product Reviews On YouTube

Author: Jennifer Spiteri

YouTube beauty gurus, in combination with traditional marketing and advertising techniques, manipulate the opinions of cosmetics consumers.

Today, advertising techniques are not only being applied online by companies and corporations using conventional strategies (e.g. banner ads and text-based Google ads), but are becoming blended, integrated, and disguised as user-generated content. So-called “beauty gurus,” for example, are using online advertising platforms to spread messages that promote cosmetic products to the public on behalf of corporations. This paper will examine how beauty gurus on YouTube review products while offering advice that is accepted as truth on an allegedly democratic, or at least user-generated, online platform.

This Major Research Paper will examine the application of advertising models and propaganda techniques to YouTube beauty marketing using the insights of Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky (1988), as well as Edward Bernays (1935), whose ground-breaking and influential methods of analyzing advertising and public relations can offer new insights into contemporary online media and the ways these seemingly open platforms are being taken over by private interests and large corporations (all while projecting the images and ideals of authenticity, amateurism, and open access).

This study will demonstrate that YouTube beauty reviews are a form of advertising that utilize trust and bias, two important factors that Herman and Chomsky (1988) and Bernays (1935) explore, in order to disguise advertising as individual opinion expressed in the interest of the consumer.

My findings suggest that corporations have been able to adapt traditional methods of beauty marketing to YouTube (and, implicitly, other online video platforms beyond the scope of this study) through the use of “beauty gurus.” Despite disclaimers in these “beauty gurus’” YouTube channels that products have been sent to them for free, the lines between what constitutes an advertisement and what constitutes user generated content are being blurred. My suggestion is that this blurring leaves the public confused and more susceptible to influence within the realm of online beauty guides, reviews, and tutorials.

Read more about Jennifer’s research here.

The 3% Problem: Why Are There So Few Females In Creative Advertising?

Author: Aleeza Yermus

The purpose of this Masters Research Paper is to examine the role of women in the creative advertising industry.

After extensive research into this area of study, it is evident that globally, women make up a very small percentage of the creative roles and executive positions within the advertising industry (Jean Grow & Tao Deng, 2014). Given this state of affairs, consciousness-raising movements like The 3% Conference, for example, (Jesse Thomas, 2012) have emerged in order to raise awareness of this problem and to promote change for women in the advertising industry in the United States and beyond.

The literature review that informs the original research conducted in this MRP will analyze the historical trends of women in the creative departments of the global advertising industry in practice and in popular culture and some of the factors that may contribute to this gender disparity – the objective was to examine and gain an understanding of why this gender gap persists. The data was then collected from three different media sources: the television show Mad Men, the documentary film Art & Copy and an online movement called The 3% Conference.

My findings were derived from a series of content analyses that enabled me to determine how the media and online professional organizations like The 3% Conference portray women in creative advertising in North America. Lastly, the literature review was compared to the results from the data, to determine whether the media offers a reliable depiction of women in the creative advertising industry.

Read more about Aleeza’s research here.

How We Remember 1947

Author: Asma Farooq

In my Major Research Project, I explore how the India-Pakistan partition of 1947 is conceptualized in a popular media text. Specifically, I look at a TV series produced in Pakistan that explores the partition and the events immediately preceding it, that led to the splitting of India into India and Pakistan from a nationalistic perspective.

Major themes that are noteworthy of analysis include gender relations, notions of belonging and community, nationalism and identity, contextualization and impact of media, and trauma. Moreover, I pay attention to how gender relations and notions of family are conceptualized in relation to nationalistic ideologies, and how both are impacted during traumatic events. In particular, my research interest includes studying how this media depiction of the partition plays into or contests dominant narratives of the nation and citizenship along the lines of religious and gender classifications. The literature review below aims to explore theoretical conceptualizations of my areas of interest in order to enable my media text analysis to be situated in relation to existing literature.

Read more about Asma’s research here.