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Causes and effects of advertising on society - Essay Example

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Advertising has been a much debated subject and various scholars have expressed their opinions about the impacts of advertising on society.While on the one hand advertising is found to be an essential requirement for the marketers to create awareness about their products,advertising is also useful for the society …
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Causes and effects of advertising on society
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Download file to see previous pages Advertising has been a much debated subject and various scholars have expressed their opinions about the impacts of advertising on society. While on the one hand advertising is found to be an essential requirement for the marketers to create awareness about their products and services (Bendinger, 2001), advertising is also useful for the society as it gives consumers a choice about the available varied brands, prices and qualities of products or services that they need (Levin, 1988). Scholars on marketing and advertising postulate that advertising provides the much needed information and data that customers require to make decisions about their purchases (Ries and Trout, 2001), and as such, advertising serves the needs of the society as well as helping the manufacturer in selling his products (Ries and Trout, 2001). Additional advantages of advertising postulated by scholars are that it leads to the creation of economic value – both directly and indirectly. Directly advertising leads to millions of employment opportunities and job creation for advertising function and the related activities (Levin, 1988). Indirectly, advertising helps spurring consumer purchase activity and hence leads to an economic boost for the country (Ries and Trout, 2001). Moreover, in an extreme positioning, some scholars postulate that advertising supports the free market dynamics by encouraging more open competition in terms of prices and quality and hence, it benefits the society and the economy. However, in spite of the various idealistic advantages listed in the above discussion, advertising also has staunch criticizers who accuse the advertisers of being dishonest, manipulative and for bringing about a general harm to the society. Advertising is found to lead to health hazards, and undue stress among people. Some researchers have pointed out that advertisers often tend to provide a false representation of the facts and try and fool the customer into believing that the product contains a certain standard quality, when in actuality it does not. For example, fruit juices manufacturers often advertise their products as having 100% fruit juice with no added sugar or preservatives; when a look at the ingredients on the package reveals that the product may contain only 7-14% actual fruit juice (Spettigue and Henderson, 2004). Enclosing the true details of the ingredients on the package may save such advertisers from legal action (as the customers are presumed to thoroughly examine the product ingredients before making the purchase). But the fact remains that ads are outright dishonest and not all customers tend to read the package labels and end up buying the product under the impression that it is exactly as shown in the ad. This dishonestly on the part of advertisers is often not as explicit as shown in the above example of fruit juice, and may be undertaken using manipulative techniques. For example, advertisements that say a product “makes children grow 50% faster” is based on misleading and manipulative portrayal – as its not known who conducted the research using what methodology and what was the product measured against to show 50% faster. Such advertising adversely affects the society as people trust the advertiser but do not end up getting the health benefit that was being advertised. Another drastic impact of advertising that has been extensively researched is related to sale of tobacco and alcohol. For years the tobacco companies advertise their products openly and in spite of the public interest health warning on the packages, the ads continue to encourage people to buy cigarettes under the logic of “free choice” (Spettigue and Henderson, 2004). There have been numerous researches that have established the cause and effect link between tobacco advertising and increase in smoking behaviour, especially in the case of teenagers and young adults. A research undertaken in Germany used 2100 public school students to study the direct impact of smoking ads on the smoking ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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