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The impact of advertisements in society


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The impact of advertisements in society


Advertising is a means of promoting consumer perception on a particular product or service. Organizations employ advertising in an effort to create favorable exposure for their products to the society in an effort to maximize on sales and drive profitability. This mass marketing practice utilizes various techniques aimed at influencing the consumer’s emotional strengths or weaknesses. For instance, most advertisements center about the benefits a consumer accrues from utilizing a particular good or service giving the consumer emotionally justifiable reasons to purchase the given product.


Advertising has far reaching impacts on the society, some being positive while others being positive. For example, advertising can be used to advocate for public good through educational advertisement programs aimed at ensuring the public is made aware on how to protect themselves from identified hazardous behaviors or contagious diseases. On the other hand, advertisements present negative impacts on the society such as through promoting materialism whose negative effects include fixations on newly created products. In this paper, the point of discussion will be the ethical concerns raised by the society with regard to advertising and how it has the potential to present both good and bad outcomes in the long and short term.

Literature Review

According to Robbs (12), advertising was first evidenced in the Babylonian Empire at about 3000 BC. England was the first country to embrace industrialization and launched print advertising in 1472. In the US, advertising as a profession took hold in the year 1841 and in today’s global society; the US style of advertising still takes center stage. Advertising is a potent force in determining current trends in American lifestyles where the country’s media freedom policy allows for numerous and varying advertisements to be published.

From as early as the late 19th Century, scholars and psychologists have employed academic resources towards investigating ways with which advertisements tend to influence an individual’s emotional and mental persona. According to Chait (1), advertising tends to substitute an individual’s most private thoughts with the advertisement’s projected ideas of how things ought to be. It is important to understand that the media is a vital source of information, more so, information that we have no access to. However, there is a social price that members of a society have to contend with paying. Advertising methods are numerous and as such members of an industrialized society cannot escape the positive or otherwise negative effects of advertising. Advertising is in streets, malls, in our verbal correspondence and even in homes. In this way, advertising tends to have a heavy influence on culture which in effect translates to influencing members of society.

According to Pollay (18), advertising is formulated and structured to capture an individual’s attention, transform attitudes and in totality command individual behavior. The common theme in most of the contemporary advertising is one that exploits the positive circumstances presented in different life stages. It is easy for members of the society regardless of age to absorb and conform to such information. This is especially the case with advertisements aimed at promoting extravagant and expensive foods.

According to Calfee (23), advertisements serve as great aids for both the buyer as well as the seller. This author provides that advertising serves to benefit buyers more as compared to the seller. Through comparative advertising, the buyer is presented with the best possible product in the market. Under competitive circumstances, it is common to find that competitors will aim to advertise the positive aspects of their products while keeping silent on adverse issues associated with the same. This implies that incase a competitor advertizes its product erroneously; the other competitor will take full advantage of such a flaw to take advantage of a dented product image.

On the other hand, Lavine, Sweeny and Wagner provide that mainstream advertising has a negative impact on the society stemming from the exploitation of the female gender. There has been a prevalent trend of advertisements suggesting the socially acceptable benchmark for female beauty. Skinny women are portrayed as beautiful and are thus used to advertise products which young ladies will want to associate with by reason of perceived ideas of beauty. This target marketing oriented advertising propels women to tend towards shunning their natural beauty which can be impossible leading to cases of depression, eating disorders, and a low self esteem.

Long-term goals of advertising

Advertising is commonly aligned with an organization’s operational and marketing strategy. The main goals of advertising for the long term objectives of an organization include:

Improving brand awareness

Long term profitability

Suffocating other competitors within an industry

Positive growth in sales and revenue

Attracting a loyal customer base

Short term goals       

Short-term advertising goals relate to the immediate outcomes of a particular advertisement. These include:

Creating attention

Prompting instantaneous attention

Replacing or reclaiming lost customers

Gantt chart

This chart is a vital project management tool employed to highlight how an organization’s tasks and or events are accomplished against time. The figure below is a simple illustration of a Gantt chart; Source,



For this research study, the main method to be employed for data collection will be survey method and will be further appraised through interviewing a sample size of 200 members of society from different social classes and age groups. The questionnaire will be prepared to reflect 4 sections projecting the following; the questionnaire respondent’s basic characteristic information; the methods the respondents believes the advertiser employs towards realizing the perceived need of target consumers; the respondent’s consumer preferences and product loyalty based on information contained in an advertisement; and the respondent’s perceived influence stemming from the advertisement.

The analytical methods to be employed will be founded on data collected providing the respondent characteristics as well as consumer behaviors with regard to how the media portrays a product. It is important to note that since products are advertised through different forms of media, this particular study will limit the forms of advertisement to magazines and the television. These two forms of media will be used to evaluate how advertisements impact the society.

Practical significance of outcome

The study is expected to reveal the degree with which different levels of awareness among members of the society influences their behaviors with regard to content advertised. It is expected that nearly everyone in the society has access to some form of media advertising. It is expected that young and middle aged women and to a lesser extent aged women will have an affinity towards advertisements concerned with the cosmetics and jewels industries. It is also expected that the male gender will be more inclined towards advertising for electronic equipment and vehicles. This study will discern the discrete differences in thought processing from dominant, to influencing, to conscientious and steady traits in individuals.



Works Cited “What is a Gantt chart?” 2012. 4 Nov. 2014. Web< >

Lavine, Howard, Sweeny, Donna, and Wagner, Stephen. “Depicting Women as Sex Objects in Television Advertising: Effects of Body Dissatisfaction.” TV Advertising and Sexism. 14 Feb. 2009.

Pollay, Richard. “The Distorted Mirror: Reflections on the Unintended Consequences of Advertising.” Journal of Marketing 50 (2010): 18-36.

Robbs, Brett. “Advertising.” Encarta. 1997-2008. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <>.


Calfee, John. “How Advertising Informs to Our Benefit.” Consumer Research, (2008): 115-129.

Chait, Jay. “Illusions are Forever.” Best of the Web.  10 Feb 2007 1-2. Web. 4 Nov 2014<>

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