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Advertisement is a “note or announcement in a public medium promoting a product, service or event or publicizing a job vacancy” (Starch 6). Merchants have been advertising throughout the history of trade. Advertisements are designed to help improve sales of a product or improve its image with the intention of increasing profit without necessarily improving value to the customers. The most desired result of advertisers is to drive “customers’ behavior with respect to commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common” (Fielding and Bahary 7). Because the central focus of advertisement is profit, advertising has detrimental effects on the individuals and society.
Advertisements can impact negatively on the society as they perpetuate propaganda. For instance, advertisements of cigarettes have promoted smoking as an accepted way of life. Individuals who smoke may have got a wrong message from the advertisements that associate smoking with wellness, so they are encouraged to adopt smoking, start to smoke and at times research reinforces racial, cultural, and sexual stereotypes. Also, advertisements have made ladies aware of dandruff problems, decayed teeth and dirt toilets, because advertisements present ideal scenes that degrade anything else that the viewer, reader or blogger possesses. People become more aware of themselves and what others think about them.
Advertisements can act as avenues of saving lives but can also deceive consumers into buying products that are not necessities to their life. Society has been influenced by advertisements, and it is shown that it helps and ruins society at the same time (Berger 6). Advertisements can get the society to support useful courses such as providing relief food. Advertisements are also not objective. The advertisement is made by the product manufacturer according to whom that very product is the best of all. It is not for substandard products from powerful manufacturers to find their way into the market ahead of other quality products from smaller. Powerful manufacturers can invest much money in marketing their products. Sophisticated adverts are more likely to convince people that the product will meet their expectations. After purchasing, the customer learns that the product was not as good as the manufacturer made him/her believe (Foley and Garton 7).
Advertising causes people to compare themselves to unrealistic portrayals. Using seemingly ideal images, the advertisers create low self esteem in their audience. Individual body image is easily affected by advertiser, and the impact is always favorable to the manufacturer. According to a research conducted by Debra in 2011 on the effects of advertisements on women, “it doesn’t take much to make a girl feel plain. Just looking at an object intended to enhance beauty makes women feel worse about themselves.” However, the purpose of advertising is not to satisfy customers but to create amrket for products; Debra asserts that advertisements “seeks to create needs, not to fulfill them; it generates new anxieties instead of allaying old ones.”
Advertisements kill individuality because eventually everyone will want to have the same products and look the same way as portrayed by the advertisements. The product is necessary in order to be happy and in order to "fit in" with the rest of society. Basically, this creates cattle in the herd Social discrimination and emotional insecurity could also develop. In order to be accepted and cool the common misconception is that you need to spend your money on these large company products. Advertisers exploit vulnerability in individuals. According to a research conducted by consumer daily in 2011, “After viewing an advertisement featuring an enhancing product consumers evaluated themselves less positively than after seeing these products when they appeared without the advertising context” Today, people make judgments on what kind of clothes people wear, what shampoo and kitchen cleaner they use, and other materialistic things. Advertising detrimentally affects society because it advances consumerism. It may cause social unrest because people are unable to buy and spend more. People find that products bring them happiness.
Effects of advertisements are either positive or negative. In a positive way, advertisements inform individuals about the availability and usefulness of a product, service or job vacancy, or an event within a given region. New and improved products are developed all the time and we cannot be expected to keep track of these developments ourselves. It is the manufacturers who should help us in our lack of awareness and tell us “our new and improved product is now even better, go out and buy it.” Advertisements promote prosperity and can affect people by making them donate blood whenever there is an emergency or in case when the banks lack enough blood for the patients. In such a way, it calls for people to show remorse to the less fortunate in the society and therefore it helps improve their welfare (Faasse 6). Advertisements tend to create awareness and attract consumers to purchase what is being advertised. “Advertising also tells us about important issues such as the benefits of seatbelt use putting on seat belts have saved the lives of many people” (Mankani 1).
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Conditioning and False Trend Setting
Companies are increasingly called upon to establish trends that sound well with their customers. This has been established as the main purpose of advertisements in today’s business world. Companies have been increasingly adopting the practice of making a product appear nice to customer so as to increase sales. In order to create the required image, advertisers have increasingly bombarded people with powerful images that pass false information regarding their products. As time progresses, those who watch advertisements are made to believe that they reflect a true picture. In the end, people buy products that they do not need or products that will not address their needs. The image of the society over consumerism is created when customers or clients get addicted to products that are clearly not of any benefit to them. This has been witnessed in various product lines. For instance, people wear clothes that are popular and fashionable and which will give them a good image. The depiction of certain products to be superior over others through advertisements has the potential of causing discrimination in the society (Galin, Baim and Frankel 8).
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Companies always push for the advertisement of their products on TV or the Internet. As a result, this increases their chances of getting to a certain audience. Much of the mass media today is awash with advertisements to the point that censorship night be required. For instance, television advertising usually takes place after or before popular shows or at news times. This has even been used to establish a costing for the advertisements in the sense that advertisements that follow popular shows are given priority.
Degradation of Art
Long ago, television used to be more creative as it was truly dedicated to serving its viewers. However, with the advent or rampant advertising, there is no more creativity on TV (Galin, Baim and Frankel 6). Every good program that is aired on TV is immensely interrupted by advertisements that do not please most viewers. In fact, most of the commercials aired on TV are usually not created creatively, and some are dismissed as things that are meant to enlighten the audience and not really communicate the intended message. Companies around the world spend large sums of money on uncreative advertisements that have a minimal impact on their performance.
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Advertisements can also lower self-esteem of the recipients. This mostly affects teenagers since their self-esteem turns out to be the greatest of their worries. When they see or hear their mates featured in the advertisements, they often give in to the pressure impacted to get the advertised stuff for themselves in order to feel comfortable with themselves. Educating them on the intended influences of these advertisements could go a long way in solving this negative effect of advertisements (Fielding and Bahary 5).
Loss of Good Morals
Socially accepted drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes when advertised can also negatively influence individuals. These advertisements bring out seemingly good side of the products, but since their main interest is marketing, they fail to enlighten the target audience about the downside of the products. Individuals may get convinced that getting involved in the use of these drugs is harmless since they are allowed in the society. They may as a result start indulging in such products and might finally get hooked such that quitting is impossible (Fielding and Bahary 9).
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In the medical field, there is an ongoing debate on the need for direct advertisement of pharmaceuticals to consumers. However, advertisements can play a positive role in the medical field by informing consumers on the availability of certain medications and encouraging them to seek treatment or check up for certain ailments. Advertisements can lead consumers into buying expensive medication that is not even necessary for their medical conditions. On the other hand, “it may induce consumers to choose unnecessary and expensive treatments” (Galin, Baim and Frankel 9). However, some important advertisements might be ignored by the consumer. Much of this ambiguity exists because previous research tended to concentrate on total outcomes rather than looking at a specific discipline such the pharmaceutical sector (Berger 4).
Politically, advertising can limit political competition to wealthy candidates or to those willing to compromise their integrity. It may even distort the views and records of opponents in order to give certain individuals an advantage in the political field (Mankani 4).
Advertisements are both helpful and dangerous to the audience. Informative part of advertisements is very necessary to both the manufacturers and the consumers, but their downside is only advantageous to producers and is harmful to the consumer. Therefore we cannot entirely condemn advertising; rather we should limit the extent to which they affect the audience by either educating them or advising the manufacturers to moderate their advertising.