Advertising is a persuasive communication attempt to change or reinforce ones prior attitude that is predictable of future behavior. We are not born with the attitudes for which we hold toward various things in our environment. Instead, we learn our feelings of favorability or unfavorability through information about the object through advertising or direct experience with the object, or some combination of the two. Furthermore, the main aim of advertising is to persuade to consumer in order to generate new markets for production.Advertising is far from impotent or harmless; it is not a mere mirror image. Its power is real, and on the brink of a great increase.
Not the power to brainwash overnight, but the power to create subtle and real change. The power to prevail. (Clark)Advertising is used to promote goods, services, images, and anything else that advertisers want to publicize. It is becoming a major part of mass media. At times, we may view it positively; at other times we may just skip or ignore it. In order to attract audience, advertisers use various techniques on their advertisement to make people aware of the firms products, services or brands.
Although the methods used by advertisers are infinite, they have a common goal: to persuade those who may become their customers to buy their products. An excellent advertisement will create a deep impression on its potential customers. The impact of advertising on our society is a fiercely debated topic, and has been ever since the conception of advertising in its most basic form. There are negative and positive social and economic impacts upon society from advertising in its various forms.Advertising promoting public welfare has a positive social impact upon society.
It has been used to increase awareness in society about particular issues, and in doing so becomes a form of education. Anti drug advertising such as Its OK to say NO and the STAND anti smoking campaign are just two examples of how society uses the advertising industry as a means to promote public welfare. The Vote or Die campaign from the 2004 Presidential election encouraged citizens to get out and let their voice be heard, pushing society to take an active role in the leadership of the nation. Other forms of socially positive advertising include those advocating safe sex, thereby considerably slowing the spread of deadly STDs throughout the community.There are economic benefits of advertising on society as well as just social benefits. Without advertising, the media (including newspaper, television, and radio) would be much less vigorous.
Advertising provides revenue for commercial mediums, which would otherwise need to be funded by the actual consumer of these mediums. For instance, a newspaper would cost up to three times as much money because advertising provides two-thirds of the revenue of the print media, and all television, bar government funded networks, would be pay-TV (since nearly ALL revenue for television is provided by advertising, while the consumer provides no financial support except for providing the service of watching the advertised messages). So we can see a major economic infrastructure based around advertising.However, with every positive side comes a negative, and advertising is no different. Advertising has been blamed for a great variety of negative social impacts. One of the major criticisms received by advertising is that it forces people to buy things they dont really need, often projecting negative emotions such as fear, anxiety of guilt upon the consumer (Engel).
It is claimed that advertising plays with our basic human emotions and takes advantage of them, using them as merely another technique to sell goods or services. Advertising also encourages people to buy products by making them think that purchasing and consuming are the major activities of their lives. It is said to also evoke fears of inferiority upon the consumer by depicting the normal person as young, attractive, wealthy, and successful. This may encourage a person to act on his or her desire for success and, for instance, go out and purchase that particular brand hoping to emulate the seeming success of the person depicted in the advertisement.
In opposition, advertisers state that the public is intelligent enough to, and quite capable of, making up its own mind and will definitely not buy anything they do not want or need. People are not inclined to be swayed by false claims that they need a particular product, and will usually be very discriminating in what they take as being true. Just because advertising sometimes can help generate consumer interest in specific brand names does not also mean that every advertised effort will get people to make significant changes in their behavior. There are numerous differences between selling brand name products or services and convincing people to change the way they live their lives (Wolburg).Ethics is about winning in the long term. Good business and good ethics are not a contradiction in terms (Wyburd). Society may argue that advertisers will use any means necessary to sell their product or service, but in turn, without advertisements many goods and services that society takes for granted on a daily basis would be costing us instead of being provided free of charge.
For example, advertising is critical on the Internet because it is extremely difficult and impractical to attempt to bill the consumer directly. Security issues involving credit card fraud and the sheer inconvenience and hassle surrounding minor financial transactions over the Internet have made it very undesirable for companies to charge the consumer for content. Advertising on the webpage allows the information to be provided to consumers with no charge.
Some may argue that the drawback of advertising in our society is that is raises the price of goods and services. The basis of this argument is that while companies subsidize the mass media with advertising, we, the consumer, subsidize advertising by paying a grossly increased price for heavily advertised goods and services. For example, a box of detergent costs around two or three dollars to produce, but the consumer may pay around seven or eight dollars. A large proportion of the difference obviously supports the heavy advertising television and print media campaigns. In response, it can be said that advertising stimulates a much more active economy, with vigorous competition between institutions, and higher buying rates of products, which leads to lower product costs for the consumer anyway. The effects upon society brought about by advertising come in mixed forms, depending on the purpose and execution of various campaigns. However, society as we know it is based very heavily upon advertising and the negative social and economic impacts are not serious enough to outweigh the many positive social and economic effects on our society.
Works CitedClark, E. The want makers: Inside the world of advertising. Penguin Books, 1985.Engel, Jack. Advertising: The Process and Practice. McGraw, 1980.Wolburg, J.
M. Why television is the wrong environment for public service advertising campaigns, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 18 No.
6, 2001.Wyburd, G. Competitive and ethical: How business can strike a balance. Kohan Page Limited, 1998.