Definition and types
In The Economic Times, Advertising Association of the UK has defined advertising is “a means of communication with the users of a product or service.” Advertisements are therefore created and designed messages with the purpose of informing, persuading and influencing consumers to purchase particular goods products or services.
Advertising may be indirect or direct promotion of brand and it is always there in front of our eyes, either openly or covertly. In today’s world, advertisements can be transmitted through various media.
Advantages of Advertisements
The advertising industry is made of companies that advertise their products, agencies that conceptualise and design the advertisements, various media that broadcast or promote the advertisement.
Such a huge flourishing industry needs enormous number of people like copy editors, visualizers, brand managers, researchers, creative heads and designers. Thus advertisements generate lucrative employment opportunities and encourage creativity in people.
Advertisements are very useful for the consumer. They inform us about several options and multiple choices within a range of products. Such information enables us to choose according to our specific needs and within our limited budget. Through advertisements we understand the various choices available, the differences in quality and the different brands in the market.
Advertisement increase the competition between brands and products. This leads to a greater variety of choice and an expansion of market share of companies. This in turn increases economic development.
Disadvantages of Advertisements
Some advertisements are fake promises and deliberate lures. They mislead the consumer into believing that a product is genuine when that is not the case and thereby consumers are misled into purchasing the same. E.g., many shampoo advertisements show women with long lustrous hair.
These are usually false computer- generated Photoshop images. However they are presented so realistically that men women are duped into buying inferior products and suffer from damage to hair later. Thus effective advertising can create a false image of the product and mislead consumers into buying the product.
Advertisements also create false wants. People are persuaded to purchase products beyond their budget and outside their need because they get the impression that this is necessary or that it is available at a bargain in a discount sale.
For instance, people regularly change mobile phones not because they can afford it or because they need to but because they are persuaded by advertisements that the latest model contains the exact features they need.
Effect of Advertisements on Children
Children are very harmfully affected by advertisements. Many biscuits promise superpowers, many energy drinks promise extra strength. Such products use Spiderman and Shaktimaan as models for their endorsement.
Children try to imitate these superheroes after eating and drinking the advertised products and many times they have been seriously injured. Advertisement also make children brand- conscious and then they insist on buying products of a particular brand only despite lower – priced substitutes of the same product being available.
For example children now prefer to buy a Zoop watch by Titan rather than any ordinary digital watch. Similarly for clothes it is Gini & Jony, United Colours of Benetton, GAP kids rather than local stores selling cheaper stuff.
Children have impressionable minds and they are deeply moved by advertisements. This cultivates a culture of luxury and leads to a lifestyle change
Need for Advertisements
It is needed to provide information about various aspects of society and economics, politics and culture to the common man. There are many positive things that can be achieved by advertisement. For example the self-propaganda of political parties is an index of their success, their achievements and their performance in a span of time.
This may not be true but it can give the people a fair data – specific idea of the work done by a particular party in its regime. Advertisements about scholarships, educational opportunities and schemes are informative and enable the spirit of competition in the youth of a country. Advertisements about financial schemes, investment opportunities can promote economic growth.
Use of Advertisements
Advertisements must be understood completely and appreciated for their creativity. However we must reason objectively in our minds before being persuaded to accept the truth of the advertisement.
It is up to us to understand that Coke and Pepsi are harmful drinks whereas Fruit Juice or Lassi is beneficial. It is up to us to understand that potato chips are not beneficial for health but fruit cups are good for health.
We must appreciate the discounts and offers in supermarkets but yet stay in control of our purchases so as not to make any unnecessary and extravagant purchases or do some impulsive shopping. Advertisement can be a boon or a bane depending upon our approach to its credibility and our surrender to its charms.