We daily come across hundreds of advertising messages on her phones, laptops, newspapers, television etc which tell us about various products such as toothpaste, soft drinks and services such as insurance policies, hotels, banking services etc.

So let us understand today what is advertising? What are it’s objectives and what are its benefits?

Advertising is the most commonly used tool of promotion. It is an interpersonal form of communication which is paid for by the marketers to promote goods and services. The most common forms of advertising are newspapers, magazines, television and radio.

Features of advertising –

  • Paid Form: Advertising is a paid form of communication where sponsor or marketer has to bear the cost of communicating with prospects.
  • Impersonality : Advertising is a one way communication. There is no direct face to face contact between prospect and the advertiser.
  • Identified Sponsor : Advertising is undertaken by some identified individual or company, who makes all the advertising efforts and bear cost of it.

Merits of Advertising

1. Mass Reach – Advertising is a medium through which we can reach large number of people over a vast geographical area. For example -Information about mobile launched in Delhi reaches to every village, city and other countries through advertising.

2. Enhances Customer Satisfaction and Confidence – When a product is advertised in newspapers or on television then it creates confidence among prospective buyers as they become assured abut product quality, brand etc and hence feel more satisfied.

3. Expressiveness – Even simply products looks more attractive due to advertising because of the graphics and designs used in it which easily attracts the customers.

4. Economy – Advertising is a very economical mode of communication. Because of its wide reach, the overall cost of advertising gets spread over numerous communication links established due to which per unit coat becomes low.

Limitations of Advertising –

1. Less Forceful – As it is an impersonal form of communication it is less effective as unlike personal selling it has no compulsion on the prospects to pay attention to the message.

2. Lack of Freedom – The evaluation of the effectiveness of advertising message is very difficult as there is no immediate and accurate feedback mechanism of message that is delivered.

3. Inflexibility – Advertising is less flexible as it is not tailor made to the requirements of different customers groups. It is usually standardised form catering to the needs of different people.

4. Low Effectiveness – As the volume of advertising is getting more expanded it is becoming difficult to make advertising messages heard by the target prospects. This is affecting its effectiveness.

Objections To Advertising –

Different people have different views on advertising. Some say it is a social waste as it adds to cost, multiplies the needs of people and undermines social values. Others argue that it is very necessary as I increases the reach, brings the pay unit cost of production down and adds to growth of economy. Let’s examine these arguments and see the extent to which they are true.

1. Adds to Cost- The opponents argue that advertising unnecessarily adds to the cost of product, which is ultimately passed on to buyers in form of high prices. The proponents say however it costs lot of money but it helps to increase demand for the product as large number of potential buyers comes to know about availability of product, it’s features etc. This increased demand will lead to higher production, which brings with it economies of scale.

2. Undermines Social Values – Some say advertising helps buyers by informing them about any new products while some say it undermines social values and promotes materialism. It breeds discontent among people as they come to know about new products and feel dissatisfied with their present state of affairs. Some advertisements even show new lifestyles which don’t find social approval.

3. Confuses the buyers – Now a days so many products are advertised making similar claims that buyers get confused as to which one is true and one can rely in it. The supporters of advertisiments argue that we are all rational human beings who make our decisions for purchase of products on factors such as price, size, style etc. Thus buyers can clear confusion by analysing the information provided on advertisements and other sources before taking decision to buy a product.

4. Encourages Sale of Inferior Products – Advertising does not distinguish between superior and inferior products and persuade people to even buy inferior products. Mainly it depends upon customers. If the product suits their requirements whether inferior or superior they will buy the product. However no advertisement should make false claim about the quality of product. If it makes false claims it can be prosecuted for the same.

5. Bad taste advertisements – Another criticism against advertising is that some are in bad taste showing things which is generally not approved. For example – Women running after a man because of a particular perfume. This is impractical and strange .While some advertisements distorts the relationship like employer employee and are quite offensive.

In the above article we have seen various views both of opponents and proponents of advertising. There may be chances that advertising as a tool is misused which can be properly safeguard by the law or by developing a code of conduct by the advertisers for their self regulation. However most of the criticism are not true. In this changed economic environment of globalisation advertising is considered as an important tool of marketing. It helps a firm to easily communicate with its target market thus increasing sales and reducing performance unit cost of production. It is not a social waste, rather it adds value to the social cause by giving a boost to production and generating employment.

” If you are trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language in which they think” – David Ogilvy

“We find that advertising works the way the grass grows. You can never see it, but every week you have to move the lawn” Andy Travis