Advertising helps greatly in showing the consumers what they really want. In the process of advertising there are various techniques that are applied that may either bring about positive or negative effects to the products. This is usually brought about by the way various advertisers present their adverts to the consumers. According to most researches obtained from the general population about advertisement, the highest percentage of people take advertisement to be a good thing. This is because they believe it to be informative and essential.
Despite of this, in my own point of view advertisement has got a lot of negative influence to the consumers and the general society. Some of the aspects that make advertisement to be taken negatively by the consumers are; on the ethical aspect, advertisement has a completely demeaning consequence to the public; on the economic aspect, it is believed to be economically improvident; and on the social aspect, it provides little truth about a certain product. All these aspects are the few examples of the aspects of advertisement that render it to being negative to the society.
Advertisement is perceived by the various intellectuals as a thing that greatly corrupts our society thus criticizing the social orders of that make up the society. According to Christopher Mayhew, advertisement teaches other different things that do not match with what the society teaches us in the aim of upholding good societal teachings that are essential. Christopher and Tory argue that` Advertisement introduces people to the good things of life’. This means that these things are full of pleasures of the world. These pleasures are the things which we can only buy after they have been advertised but we cannot instill them in us so that they can be guiding us in our daily endeavors. The advertisements cannot inculcate in us good manners, honesty, kindness, friendship, sense of duty or the respect for the laws that govern us. These are the morals that enable people to coexist in a smooth and desirable environment. Instead the advertisements lay their basis on things like aperitifs, chocolates, aperients, deodorants, cars, and perfumes. These are only things which that can be bought in order to satisfy the human desires and they cannot help in crafting the society to the desired shape. According to me it is of great importance for the society to uphold the importance things that help in steering it ahead of all the activities that touch on its social well being.
On the ethical aspect, advertisements also play a big role in emphasizing emotional and the sexual desires. This defies what Williams believe in. He believes that` advertising keeps the industrial wheels turning’. This is true but there are other advertisements that do not uphold the ethical values of a given society. According to the society, things that are touching on sexual matters are perceived to be very crucial. Sexual matters should not be discussed openly without taking into consideration the various people that are involved. They are believed to be only for the people who have attained the age of discussing this. All the products related to sexual matters should only be exposed to the people who have attained the age bracket for this. In the contrary, it is so hard for the advertisers to only target the age that should be associated with sex matters. Due to this they make their advertisements open to the general public not excluding the young children. This leads to moral decay to the general society because the young ones are exposed to various issues which do not uphold the required morals of the society.
On the economical aspect, there have been a number of critics that take the issue on advertising as a phenomenon that focuses on individual sectors. Advertisements focus on certain products that do not make people more productive when they engage in them. In turn these people become less productive and of less important to the general society. The consumers of these products are reduced to people whom they were not in their earlier lives. They become less economically productive thus dragging the performance of the economy of the society. These products include alcohol and junk food. These two products have various consequences when they are taken. Junk food leads to obesity that makes people to have week bodies despite of them being fat. The alcohol makes people to become drunkards and may cause various diseases that might claim the lives of the consumers. Such kind of adverts on the products that cause negative effects to the people should be discouraged because they make our economy to grow in a slow pace when the consumers get affected by these products.
On the ethical aspect, Professor John Cohen criticizes advertisements by arguing that `advertisements only tell half the truth’. They are believed to only present a little truth about the products that are advertised. The advertisers lure their consumers through providing sugary information about the products which at times is not the truth. They only do this so that they can attract more of their producers. In doing this they are able to attract a lot of consumers who buy their products so that they can enjoy the good things that have been advertised in these various products. It is of great importance that the advertisers give adequate and more information about the products. This information should be factual and honest. Therefore, through the advertisers giving information which is not factual and honest about their products is an issue which does not support the good morals of any society. This is the major thing that contributes to advertisements to be perceived in a negative way by various consumers and the society as a whole. It is of great importance for the advertisements to be representing genuine information about the various products that the consumers might get interested in.
On the economic aspect, advertisements are supposed to represent the major issues in the society that aim at raising the economy. According to Christopher Mayhew, Williams and John Kenneth who is an economist believe that institutions such as schools and hospitals are the ones that are supposed to be captured greatly in the advertisements. In most of the advertisements various things are highlighted which do not focus on the crucial things that would help the general society. Things such as hospitals and schools are the ones that should be greatly focused on. They are the ones that are needed greatly by all the people in a given set up. Despite of doing this, the advertisers focus their attention on the industrial outputs and on the things that detract humankind from its nonindustrial aspirations. In order to steer any economy ahead the schools and the hospitals are the ones which should be given the number one priority. The schools provide education to the people who are given the mandatory to draw economic models that enable our economies to grow. On the other hand the hospitals provide good treatments to the health of the people who help in building thee society.
In order to understand that the most of the advertisements have negative contribution to the consumers and the society one is required to take an example that contains all the parts that are used in composing a good advert. For instance ‘sprite helps one to obey his or her thirst’. This advert is used worldwide to market this Coca-cola product by showing that people who take Sprite are the only ones who obey their thirst. In the real life one can obey his/her thirst through taking plain water which is believed to be affordable to everyone. This is one of the adverts that show how advertisers use sugary language so that they can convince their consumers.
According to the negative influences stated above, I believe that the advertisers should at least provide the factual information about the products they advertise. This will enable the consumers to purchase genuine goods that will provide them with the item they intend to get from these products. In turn this will help in building the trust between the producer and consumer.
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Nowadays, advertising is a very big business. Very often is the major means of competing among firms. Furthermore, supporters of advertising claim that it brings specific benefits for consumers.
First off all, they claim that advertising provide information to consumers about the quality or the availability of several products. This is very important for consumers because they do not waste time for searching (search costs). If we suppose, that consumers want to shop at the lowest price shop but, they do not know which is the store with the lowest prices, then they gather information by reading and watching advertisements and TV commercials respectively or by visiting several stores. This action of consumers makes prices to fall, but only if consumers have the appropriate information. Otherwise the prices may rise. Supporters of advertising also claim that advertising may encourage price competition among the firms, if prices feature significantly in the advertisement. In addition to this, by increasing sales through advertising, firms can gain economies of scale, which means that it will help to keep prices down.
As we can understand information is very essential for consumers, not only because it lowers the prices, but also because it improves the quality of several products. The problem here is that it is unlikely for all the consumers to have perfect information. This means that the information is either imperfect or asymmetric. Imperfect information, as well as asymmetric information, lowers quality.
Advertising may solve this problem in most cases. Consumers can gather information for several products through advertisements and because of this, producers must improve the quality of their products. But why firms advertise so much? As I noted above advertising increases consumer¡¦s information. So we can suppose that a firm which advertise much, has high quality products. A very expensive advertising campaign is something like a signal to potential consumers, that the firm believes that its product has good quality. Furthermore the company believes that because of its good quality products, is going to make repeat sales for a long time in order to ¡§recoup the fixed costs of initial advertising¡¨. On the other hand, firms with poor quality products ¡§that know that consumers will soon discover they have been misled about quality¡¨, do not invest much in advertising.
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Advertising Tv Commercials Big Business Consumers Advertising Campaign Firms Availability Addition Increases Prices
This is a very good source of information for consumers because in that way they can realize the difference between firms, which advertise much and firms which, do not advertise so much. It is one of the explanations of how advertising can improve consumer¡¦s information about the quality of products.
In addition to this, there are some goods that have to be used for a very long time before their quality can be established by the consumers. ¡§Consumers now have a lot to gain from truthful advertising, but lying advertisers could get away with it for quite a while¡¨. Lying advertising called and ¡§hit and run¡¨ advertising as well. This is a real problem for producers who know that their products are good. The only thing that they can do in order to overcome this difficulty is to raise the ¡§stakes and commit a lot of money to advertising¡¨.
It is easy to understand here, that this can make sense only if they expect their product to be successful for a very long time, long enough for the consumers to find out that the product is really good.
Furthermore, there are some goods that usually they are not going to be replaced for a decade or more (once-off purchase). The question that may arise here is how a consumer can discover the quality of such a good. In that occasion a producer who knows that his products are good, has no reason to advertise. So, as we can understand ¡§a willingness to advertise no longer signals that the product must be in high quality¡¨.
To sum up we can say that it is very common for producers who produced high quality products to advertise. The table below- taken from Carlton and Perloff textbook 2nd edition -indicates spending in advertising of tobacco.
Rank U.S advertising in 1990 ($ thousands) Advertising as a Percent of U.S sales
American Brands 49 277,084 4.8
Philip Morris 2 2,210,233 6.1
Philip Morris as well as American Brands, are major tobacco companies. As we can from the table, Philip Morris spent a very large amount for advertising, equal to 6.1% of its U.S sales.
As I noted above, advertising can improve consumer¡¦s information the quality of several products. Consumers have the opportunity to collect information through any form of advertising in order to purchase only high quality goods. But is advertising always truthful and informative? The answer to this question is ¡§no¡¨. Advertising may sometimes be false and uninformative. Of course false advertising is illegal but firms can advertise in a false or a misleading manner for years. In order to stop this we can properly use Antifraud laws. Let¡¦s take an example to understand better what Antifraud laws are. ¡§Suppose that the law prohibits the misleading of the fabric content of clothing. If the law is always enforced, consumers believe that a clothing label is usually correct, thereby giving a manufacture an incentive to mislead. On the contrary, in the absence of any enforcement consumers do not trust clothing labels and as a result firms have little incentive to mislead¡. (Statement taken from Carlton and Perloff)
The question that may arise here is if we have to enforce these laws or not. It is not so simple to answer this question. As I noted above we have to use Antifraud laws properly if we want to increase consumer¡¦s information. This means that the optimal level of enforcement lies somewhere in the middle range between no enforcement at all and enforcement of those laws.
Furthermore we can use Disclosure laws in order to stop misleading advertising. This set of laws ¡§require firms to reveal truthfully to consumers certain information about their products¡.
It is quite easy then to understand that society would gain if uninformative or false information banned.
Finally, we can say that ¡¥skepticism¡¦ by consumers discourages false or uninformative advertising. It is very important for the society to collect only the appropriate information about several products. In a world with informative advertising, goods are much better and producers as well as consumers gain more.
„h Modern Industrial Organization 2nd edition
Carlton & Perloff
„h The theory of Industrial Organization 5th edition
„h Economics 5th edition
Stanley Fischer & Rudiger Dornbusch
„h Positive Economics 8th edition
Lipsey & Chrystal