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Why advertising is a two edged sword - Essay Example

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Advertising has been defined as ‘the non - personal communication of information, usually persuasive in nature, about products, services or ideas, by identified sponsors, through the various media’ (Bovee & Arens, 1994)…
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Why advertising is a two edged sword
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Creative Writing of the of the Why Advertising is a Two Edged Sword Advertising has been defined as ‘the non - personal communication of information, usually persuasive in nature, about products, services or ideas, by identified sponsors, through the various media’ (Bovee & Arens, 1994). However the reality is far removed from this definition. The way that advertisements are created these days, the words and images are both forged into a cohesive and well put together message that would likely persuade even a confirmed miser to part with his money. That is why the best advertising agencies earn millions of dollars in revenues every year. While the American Advertising Association would have us believe that the purpose of advertising is only to inform us of the existence of products and services, this is hardly what is being done in reality. Every advertisement we see bombards us with images and words that evoke feelings and desires to buy or at the very least try the product or services at least once. This is because the advertising agencies know that we are moved by pictures and stories. They also appeal to our emotions like the need for style, sophistication- even the need to be better than the neighbours if that would have us buy their confounded products. They would leave no stone unturned in their efforts to persuade us. For all the sanctimonious messages put forward by the American Advertising Association, the truth is that advertising messages are all based on half truths. As someone has said, there are lies, bloody lies and statistics. Advertising messages are put forward in such a way as to confound us. For example, if an advertisement for hair shampoo says that 90 percent of the users experienced less hair fall within two weeks of use of their products, we erroneously assume that we are in the 90 percent. But a little reflection would expose their lies. Where was the study conducted, and who was it sponsored by? What was the length of the study, and was a proper cross section of the population selected? In many cases we would see that the studies were sponsored by the advertisers themselves, and conducted by their favourite research agencies. So it all boils down to being duped by the advertisers into buying their products. Another point to ponder is what if we are in the unfortunate 10 percent for which the advertised hair shampoo made no difference at all, or worse still, contributed to some horrid side effects, as in loss of hair and balding. If we took the risk and used their shampoo, and it led to this horrific scenario especially for a female, would we have a right to sue the company and what would be the company’s response? It would most likely say that the unfortunate subject fell in the 10 percent for which the effects were not so positive. Truthfulness in advertising would mean that the advertiser or product manufacturer would have to make known the adverse effect of the product he sells as well. But this is hardly ever the case, in fact almost never, and it is only after numerous lawsuits have been filed that the company is forced to pull the product off the shelves or limit its use based on FDA intervention. So that is why it is best to take advertisement messages with a grain of salt. They are at best a stretching of the truth to suit the seller. After all the purpose is to make you buy or try the product, isn’t it? A company named Death Cigarettes created a storm in the world of advertising some years ago when they printed that smoking causes cancer and kills, complete with a skull and bones insignia on their packs, leaving no doubt about the ill effects of smoking in the minds of the users. People were pleasantly surprised. How I wish all advertising could be this truthful! References Bovee, C.L & Arens, W.F: Contemporary Advertising, 6th ed. Irwin Publishing. Read More
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