Advertising – A brief introduction


By Dr Sarah Chidiebere Joe

Advertising is one of the many marketing communication tools used by organizations to establish and maintain contact with their customers and prospects. Arens (2009) defines marketing as “the process of planning and executing the design, pricing, distribution and promotion of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy needs, the perceived desires and goals of individuals and organizations” (p. 13).

People see advertising differently. Journalists see it as a process of communication, public relations or persuasion; business owners see it as a marketing process; economists and sociologists weigh advertising according to its economic, societal or ethical implications, while consumers define advertising as an irritant.

However, at a functional level, Williams F. Arens in his book, Contemporary Advertisingdefines it as “structured non-personal communication consisting of information, usually paid and usually persuasive in nature, about products (goods, services and ideas) by identified sponsors through various media(p. 7).

Advertising is a type of communication that uses both verbal and non-verbal elements designed by an identified sponsor for the purpose of persuading or converting consumers to purchase a good, subscribe to a service, or adopt an idea. The sponsors are committed Traditional media platforms such as radio, television, billboards, newspapers, magazines and/or books; Addressable Media such as direct mail; Interactive media (the Internet); and or Non-traditional media such as concerts, skate parks, hot air balloons, stadium scoreboards, carts and carts to persuade consumers.

Advertising can be understood to some extent by thinking about the process of human communication, as shown in the figure below. The source encodes and sends a message to a receiver who decodes and may have to provide feedback to the original sender. During this process, different types of Noise (semantic, environmental, physiological, etc.) can occur.

The process of human communication
Source: Lumen Learning

The above can be compared to the advertising process. However, in the case of advertising, the sender who is the sponsor of the ad is not necessarily the originator of the message because it relies mainly on agencies (copywriters and art directors) to create the messages. on his good, service or idea. The agency is therefore the author. The message itself can be read or demonstrated by another person. For example, an actress or a voice-over artist, who is then the Persona behind the advertising message. The advertising message is also quite complex, unlike basic human communication. Advertising messages are often presented in one of these three formats.

  • Autobiography – where the audience listens to a story by themselves for others
  • Narrative – the use of a third person to tell a story
  • Drama – where characters describe events in front of an audience

The receiver in the context of advertising is also multidimensional. There are implicit or imaginary consumers, that is, those to whom the Persona of the ad is directed; Sponsored consumers, meaning decision makers in the sponsor’s organization who will decide whether the advertisement meets the requirements and, therefore, is worth funding; and finally, the actual consumers.

The Feedback component of advertising comes in the form of increased sales, phone calls for further investigation, store visits, etc.

Some of people’s biggest concerns about advertising center on ethical issues such as deception, misrepresentation, misleading advertising, over-promising, and unfair comparisons. The article in the link below to see examples of advertising scandals by major brands. The example of Red Bull is particularly interesting.

Advertising can be classified in different ways. The decision on what type of g-advertisement to apply is shaped by the marketing objective of the organization.

Classifications of advertising. Source: Arens, W., Weigold, MF and Arens, C. (2011) Contemporary advertising and integrated marketing communications, e.g. 17.

Take a look at some of these classic ads. Can you remember any of them? What popular advertising slogan do you remember? Post them in the comments section.


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