Just Buy It: Nike Advertising Aimed at Glamour Readers: A Critical Feminist Analysis

Darin J. Arsenault, Tamer Fawzy


The growing popularity of women's sports has helped steer fitness companies such as Nike to carefully craft advertising messages aimed at women. The current study assessed Nike's marketing campaign in Glamour, a popular consumer magazine aimed at women aged 18-34, using a rhetorical analysis known as the critical feminist approach. This approach was utilized as a means of discovering how the construction of gender was created in this Nike advertising campaign, how this construction represents a dominating ideology of patriarchy, and how this oppressiveness can be recast into a picture that is more positive toward women. A total of five Nike advertisements were discovered by the investigators in the 1999 issues of Glamour, and each was analyzed according to image and content. Results indicate that although this advertising campaign appears to represent positive images of women connected to their experiences, patriarchal values still exist within this campaign. Narrative storytelling offers a further explanation for understanding these advertisements in that Nike uses the strategic narrative of epic genre to appeal to women and to enhance the image of Nike as being supportive toward women.

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