Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth
|Advertising has become so important
that most newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations,
and now also web sites, could not exist without
it. Advertising provides the single biggest income for all of
these media if not the only one.
Especially the internet has become an advertising feeding
frenzy with pop-ups, junk mail, spy ware and other intrusive
advertising appearing and installing itself on your computer.
This kind of saturation advertising may be getting the wrong
message across and many people have started to completely avoid
web sites that use these advertising methods and practices. And
Few things are as annoying when you are surfing the web for
information than ads popping up unasked, home pages being forced
on you, adware or even malware being installed to track your internet
movements or to gather personal information, and so on. (See
also Internet Advertising.)
The worst thing about advertising however, is when it takes
advantage of a gullible audience. In developing countries, where
millions of people have just gotten their first television,
advertising is considered god's honest truth.
Products and advertising methods and messages which have been
or are banned in developed nations are been exploited to their
full potential by multinationals who have no qualms about using
one set of advertising standards in one country and another set
in other countries.
Skin whitening products in India and Southeast
Asia, for example, are being displayed using the saturation
method. Not a single day or nighttime soap or program targeted
to women is without them. Considering the fact that most of the
women they are targeted do not have a white skin, one can only
wonder what the real message here is.
Skin whiteners were banned in the United States
and other countries because they used ingredients which could
cause skin cancer. While this health aspect may or not may be
the case with modern skin whiteners the simple question remains:
why would you want to whiten the skin of your face (not your
body apparently) when you are naturally brown or black skinned.
Oh, it's fashionable? Women, or men for that matter, who have
white faces and otherwise brown bodies are a clear indication of
fashion victims. Sorry, boys and girls, but get real, please. If
you want good skin, fine. But walking around with a ghost face?
Truth here is that the influence of Chinese
culture, where women avoid the sun at all costs in order to
remain as white as possible, is a very strong influence in South
and Southeast Asia. It compares with the American 1950-1960's
cultural misunderstanding that you are worth more if you were
white rather than black skinned.
Advertisers may simply take advantage of culture
or fashion trends but encouraging people to be something they
are clearly not is something the advertising standards
organisations should have been aware of and immediately have put
an end to. Surely that is not infringing on freedom of speech or
There are about eight principle ways of advertising methods,
any or all of which we are familiar and faced with any day or
everyday during our lives.
Printed advertising is one of the oldest methods of
advertising. Whether on wood, stone, metal or paper, messages to
announce an upcoming event, the sale of a good or the presence
of a shop, printing this advertising message on one or another
medium has been around a long time.
While word of mouth constitutes some of the best advertising
methods, in a crowded shopping street it would be better to have
something visual, like a shop sign, to look at rather than
someone yelling at each shop's doorway. And so we end up with
streets where all you can see is neon signs.
Printed advertising as we know it today, in newspapers,
magazines, brochures and posters, has been around since the 18th
century. It is still the most widely used advertising method
But printed matter is easily doctored. With a simple home computer
and a publishing program you can print any flyer, poster or brochure you
like, making any kind of statement, true or false. It is extremely easy
to print misleading advertisements.
Newspapers and magazines that depend on advertisers for their
main income are not always too fussy about whether their
advertisers are truthful in their advertisements or not.
According to the box every product is perfect in every way and
it is very difficult to have any but token control over this.
Electronic advertising methods
Television and radio, and the internet, are modern electronic
advertising methods. They each have their merits and their
Television is the most powerful advertising method as it can
combine visual and audio advertising messages in an endless
But as all advertising, so television advertising is subject
to strict controls.
And even though standards organisations do their best to make
sure television advertising is as it should be, the level of
psychological sophistication used makes it often difficult to
spot the hidden messages and subtle meanings commercials really
display. (See Advertising
Video advertising has taken on new
possibilities with the LCD displays. Whereas before only printed
advertising was possible in public transport and other places,
an LCD screen is now placed, offering the full advertising
benefits of television and print combined.
These displays are also known as Electronic Display Networks,
Dynamic Digital Signage, Narrowcasting, Captive Audience
Networks, Kiosks, Point-of-Purchase Displays, Digital In-Store
Merchandising, Out-of-Home Media Networks, Place-based
Advertising, Display Marketing, Retail Digital Media Networks,
Datacasting, Electronic Billboards, and The Outernet.
MacDonald & Associates - Vintage television commercials
archive from the 1950's through to the 1970's includes over
600 classic television commercials.
Sure to come in the near future are holographic advertising
displays. You may have seen them already in science fiction
Technology is a boon to advertising, devising ever new ways
to bring a message across. Especially in developing countries,
that have not developed a standards organisation, advertising
options are being milked for all its worth.
Market research and advertising
Market research goes before advertising. It is the market
research company that sounds out the product or service's target
market to find out how consumers will react to a specific
product or service or whether it's even viable for producing.
With the help of the advertising agency the market research
company then devises an advertising method to best bring this
product to market. This includes any or all of the advertising
methods in combination with the "look and feel" of the actual
Brand awareness in advertising. "I believe."
Brand awareness is one of the main objectives of advertising. People need
to recognize and remember a name or logo. There is nothing wrong with this - you
have a good product for a good price and people will remember.
But it's not as simple as that unfortunately. A great deal of
advertising money is spent on promoting products that do not give good
value for money. You are just being made believe this is so. And that's
We would like to believe that advertising messages contain the truth,
the whole truth and nothing but the truth because we do need many of these
products in our daily lives. Other products we may not need but simply
want. And it makes life a lot easier if we could believe the advertising
about these products.
Unfortunately, we often cannot. There isn't a product or service in
the world that is going to advertise itself as mediocre or bad and it is
up to us to decide, or not, to believe advertising at face value and to
trust in a brand name.
Value for money - a consumer's prerogative
We are bombarded constantly with
advertising; on the streets and roads, in the shops, through
television and radio, in our education and other systems. In a
materialistic society such as ours it is impossible to avoid or
ignore the power and need of advertising.
However, we do want value for our hard earned money! Real value
in the quality of the product or service. We don't really care
about the box, we want the contents. But the packaging is there
to convince us that what is in the box is what we want - and
this particular manufacturer.
Internet advertising has a different box than what we are
used to. It's a new medium, less than ten years old in its mass
use. In layout and setup it resembles a newspaper or
magazine the most.
But it's neither, and both. On the net it is possible to
combine the three major media of advertising: video
(television), audio (radio) and printed press (web pages) into
one. This makes it highly desirable as an advertising medium.
It is not surprising therefore, that many web sites are
overloaded with multimedia content. Flashing lights and banners,
small and large poster ads, aditorials and text messages, film
clips and sound. An all singing and dancing Christmas tree, with
the same old message: "Buy me."
Time honored and traditional advertising methods
One of the oldest advertising methods is word of mouth. A recommendation
from a trusted person about a certain product or service is almost
guaranteed to provide the seller with a new customer. And so forth. People
love to talk and news about an exciting new product or service quickly
Advertising agencies will always focus on the credibility aspect of any
advertising product they create. Believing that a certain brand delivers a
good quality product at a good price is a paramount message to whomever
the advertising message is targeted at.