Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Public Relations


Public Relations & Advertising


Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts


Sparks, Suzanne


Miss America Pageant; Public relations


Public Relations and Advertising


Through brochure copy and other communication channels, such as electronic media, organizations strive to effectively echo the company's beliefs, attitudes and values. Target audiences perceive the company in certain ways based on this media projection. Sometimes the image a company believes it has established is far different from the one the public sees.

As organizations aim to achieve this identity/image alliance, critics assert that the Miss America Organization has failed to meet the stated standards. In recent years, the Miss America Organization has received criticism from former contestants, politicians, feminist groups and some of its 80 million viewers for its failure to achieve a believable identity/image alliance.

The purpose of this study was to demonstrate why an organization's image should reflect its identity. It focused on the Miss America Pageant and the organization's inability to lose its "women on parade" image. The research presented in this study reflects the views of various authors. Secondary research was gathered through the use of textbooks, magazine articles, internet searches and other electronic media sources. An intercept survey, two focus panels, two in-depth interviews and a 200-person phone survey provided the primary data.

Relevant research supporting and mocking the Miss America Pageant exists. The author discovered articulated arguments for both sides.