Advertising is a mode of communication that persuades customers to purchase a given product or consume more of a commodity or service. The patterns of production and sales have been influenced by advertisement because, once consumers are convinced that a particular brand is fit for consumption due to the satisfaction derived from it, they will tend to purchase more of that brand hence increasing sales resulting in to increase in quantity of production in order to satisfy the increased demand. Modern advertising has changed due to new improved technology and monopoly where people specialize in areas where they are talented. Advertisements help to increase consumption of products by creating brand image that will attract and retain potential consumers due to persuasive messages that contain factual information about different products and services. Advertisement uses different mediums in the effort to deliver messages such as newspapers, internet, billboards and television where advertising agencies are used by organizations and companies. (Albion, 1983)
Effects of Advertising on Children
Children are always keen observers of advertisements where they see logos and belief that the products and services are the best for consumption. They lack the understanding of the way advertisement works. Advertising through mass media sells both goods and bad ideas on the way people should behave, what should be valued and who should be respected. The people who make ice cream and toys target children when making their promotions because they are consumers of such products and can be persuaded easily to purchase them. Some of the messages used for advertising exploit the young generation. For example, advertisement of cigarettes which is harmful to health makes young people try it due to the manner in which it shows how sports heroes consume it for them to be successful. Famous characters who participate in television programs use cigarettes and there are advertisements of highly consumed cigarette brands.
The books that are used by children have branded items on them containing snack foods for the children to see. The reason why children are used by businesses is due to their purchasing power and how they are influenced by shopping habits once they watch the advertisement. Advertisements make children unhappy and dissatisfied because, they have messages that tell them that they are okay when they use a certain brand such as clothes, detergents or when their body looks like a slim model. Once the children can not afford those brands, they develop anxiety and lack self-esteem. During adolescence stage, girls watch advertisements with messages about body image that make them think that once their image is different from the one in the advertisement, they may not be comfortable when relating to their peers because of the mentality that they do not measure to the standards of their friends. Research has shown that, children develop eating disorders after watching advertisements so that they can keep their body the way they think will match with the body size in the advertisements. For example, television advertisement portrayed idealized thinness which had negative effect on body image and mood of girls who aged between thirteen to fifteen years. Advertising damage physical health of children because, once they see advertisement of certain commodity, the belief it is fit for use such as high heeled shoes and purchase them from using them. The high-heeled shoes damage their body and it becomes difficult to prevent them from using them despite the side effects. (Borden, 2002)
Children below eight years of age do not comprehend messages used in advertisements and tend to believe they are truthful and accurate. This makes the youth today be obese due to development of unhealthy eating habits since they lack restrictions in advertisements that target children. Children lack understanding of the way advertisements are made to persuade consumers purchase goods even if they may not be of the right quality. Advertisement companies take advantage of the fact that children lack cognitive development in order to understand how people are influenced to buy goods and services which may be harmful to their health. Biasness in advertisement is not understood by children thereby making them develop poor eating habits that may last for the whole of their life even when they grow up. Research has been done on commercial purposes for advertising products that most children prefer to consume to make them purchase those products all the time. Repeated exposure to advertisement increase preference of children to consume the products that have been advertised because, they consume more of commodity in the advertisement if such a commodity is repeated many times.
Report by the task force shows that, children force their parents to buy them products once they see them being advertised. The pressure put on parents to buy the product result in conflict between them and the children because, a child can request to be bought for a product not due to how useful it is but just because it appeared in the advertisement. The parent at that moment could not be having money and child get annoyed and thinks that the parent does not care for their needs. If the children do not watch the product being advertised, they would not have requested parents to purchase them. These impulse buying results in unplanned spending by the parents and cause budget deficit because, the expenditures in the family exceed income.
The advertisement that target adults are risky to live of children, for example, an advertisement of beer is shown when sports events that are seen by many children are going on. These advertisements create awareness about the existence of the brand and at the same time make children think that drinking is good for their health. There are other contents in the advertisement for commercial purposes with media products that are violent such as video games and wrestling which make children develop aggressive behavior and become violent. Advertisements disappoint children when they see advertised products that their parents can not afford to buy for them due to fiscal deficit. These results in dissatisfaction because, the children’s request to be bought for those particular products is turned down and do not understand the reason why the parents are not able to buy the product. During the early stages of life, parents should convince children that they are worthy despite the differences that exist between each them. They should be encouraged to have a sense of self-esteem by valuing them the way they are. Children should have limited exposure to advertisements for commercial purposes at young age to prevent anxieties resulting from watching advertisements. (Schudson, 1984)
Effects of Advertising on Women
Advertising has the ability to shape behavior and manipulate people once they recognize it. In America, people are exposed to an average of more than 37000 advertisements every year through television. Investigation shows that, the role of gender is shown in advertisements and no attention is given to advertisements that involve sexuality. Advertising has effects on women where they are presented as being sexually proactive and non-traditional in their attitude towards sex. Evidence shows that, advertisements portray women as mothers and housewives which affects their attitudes. For example, women become self-conscious in public and develop anxiety making them reduce their aspirations and lack achievement in life. Women reduce their interest in politics due to the power of stereotyped messages that show how women socialize with young children. Although stereotyping gender role is still in existence, women get involved in occupational roles. However, advertisements show how women are exploited sexually and women who are physically attractive are used to decorate unrelated products that are advertised for them to increase sales. Advertisement stress sexuality and beauty where there is emphasis on women being sexually available. Use of suggestive and sexually proactive content in advertisements may result to pornography in many cases. Female models have been used disproportionately where they are portrayed as being almost nude and they are available for everyone to watch leading to lack of respect for women. Advertisements portray women as sex objects which can have impact on attitudes of people and general beliefs about women which may not be true because, not every woman is ready to be used as a sex object. Women develop negative attitudes towards such advertisements since they encourage rape by men who are immoral once they watch those advertisements. (Schudson, 1984)
Many advertising executives do not concentrate on the sales they make to generate revenue but on who is watching the advertisements that are made and the quality of advertising messages. America has financial freedom with advertising agencies making huge profits for many years due to freedom of speech and free enterprise. The idea of beauty is advertised showing a model that is seventeen years old with five feet and nine inches tall weighing 120 pounds. The model has no pores or wrinkles and the media is being criticized due to the unrealistic and flawless illusions that are created by photographers. When women watch these illusions and find it impossible to perfect their looks, they are affected negatively because they try to compare their reality that has not improved with models in advertisements. (Borden, 2002)
Advertising featuring models erodes self-esteem in women and end up using the products that are advertised so that they can change their situation and most times they are disappointed because, they are not able to achieve what is in advertisement even if they use it all the time. Advertising is criticized because, it makes women feel insecure due to the way they appear in public and end up using all the money in their pockets to purchase the advertised products in order to resemble anorexic models who appear in the advertisement. Advertising makes self-identity of women to be low due to beauty advertisers support television by paying money to make advertisements. Persuasive power of advertisement is complicated where woman is taken to be man-dependent and homemaker where the advertisement shows her making decisions and doing good things. Portrayers of advertisements are criticized for showing women performing traditional roles, being decorative objects. When undesirable and unrealistic ideas about women are created, women get annoyed and can not uphold such promotions. Media images have been deteriorating sense of self in women if she watches advertisement and belief about the negative things that are said about them. When thin women are said to be beautiful, they are forced to engage in pathological behaviors so that they can get a slim figure. Esthetic standards have changed Ideals about feminine beauty and it is evident that women have been trying to change themselves and match current demands in the society. Magazines cause problems because; models put in them are seen as realistic representations of people instead of manipulated images. Socio-cultural process of making comparison impact image of women negatively and they fail to be satisfied by they appear in public. (Borden, 2002)
Mass media reinforces linkages appearance of women and the way they think about their self-worth. For example, after watching messages through mass media, many women appreciated being thin and they are dissatisfied with their bodies more than men. The study today focuses on young women who are sensitive to advertisements in the process of developing to mature self. They try to maintain a good standard of beauty by consuming diet products and doing exercise so that they can be attractive. The culture of consumers is used in studying body image where advertising is taken to be social mirror that reflects desires, needs and wants of the entire society. Women are the most targeted by advertising messages and are susceptible to the negative effects. The attacks on women begin at early stages of life when teenage girls are sensitive to the way they look, their mode of dressing and attaining a good body shape. In this case, advertising programs play indirect role in promoting distortions of body images. (Schmalensee, 1972)
Effects of Advertising on Men
According to (Borden, 2002) Exposure to masculine body of men affects those who use gym and those who do not exercise. The hypothesis shows that, impact of advertisement depends on exercise status of men. Those who do not involve themselves in exercise perceive body images of men in advertisements negatively but those who attend gym appreciate the images of masculine men in advertisements. Men who are strong and masculine are motivated by advertisement and have degree of self-enhancement after their exposure to muscular ideal. The interpretations of findings show different motives that are used for comparing men. Most advertisements portray men as being strong and superior to women in everything including their body structure because they are masculine. This makes men who have small body sizes feel inferior and can not appreciate themselves.
Advertising show men being in charge, alone and self-contained. When they are together with other men they tend to unleash aggression at any time. In the presence of women, men think they should always be dominant and powerful than women. The body of a man is used to sell products of any fashion so that the product may appear to be fit for consumption due to the satisfaction derived from consuming it. Advertisement show men building dams to show how strong they are and some industries use them in advertisements of whisky-making the advertisement to be disturbing. It is only little advertisement that focuses on men together with their families, children and other men which is not encouraging because; men are taken to be reserved which may not always be the case. In general, the view of manhood indicates how advertisements have negative effects on men through lacking to define what a man is in the society. After viewing advertisements, we come to realize that different roles are played by men who are either silent, authoritative, strong, threatening or militaristic and every man has his own personality that can not be altered even if advertisements try to tell us otherwise. Advertisements are not realistic and should not be emulated but they shape the way men view themselves and how they can exercise in order to be masculine.
Many people are not able to analyze images in the advertisements although they have familiarized themselves with the way men react to their social roles and therefore require videos to have a better understanding. Advertisers have played a major role in concentrating on the other side of masculinity where images of men are shown to portray the way they are sensitive, caring, and gentle and hold their babies. The purpose of these images is to show the other side of social roles played by men where they are do not restrict themselves to their strength but know that they have different feelings. Advertising makes men ignore their feelings by pretending to be what they are not. Therefore, they should understand themselves so that they can demand the media to portray the reality of what they are. (Comanor, 1979)
Advertising show that equality should exist between men and women which makes them believe that they should be treated as equals. The reality is that, there are differences that exist between men and women and therefore the element of equality may not be applicable. This makes women lack respect for men who are supposed to be head of the family and conflicts arise most of the time due to lack of respect for each other. Men fail to provide security to the family once their dignity is undermined by women who make marriages break resulting in separation or divorce. When there is no distinction between men and women in terms of authority, children misbehave because, the discipline that is supposed to come as a result of authority from the father is lacking leading to bad habits which are difficult to control. (Borden, 2002)
Advertisement is used to persuade customers to purchase products and services because, it can promote sales due to awareness that is created about a certain brand in the market. The advertising targets children, men and women due to different commodities that they consume. The advertisement should not involve illegal goods that are harmful to health so that people do not use them and harm themselves. Children should be advised by their parents on the best brands that are helpful to them but not rely on advertised goods because many advertisements are there to promote sales but not because whatever is advertised is the reality about the product. Both men and women should know what is best for them whether it is advertised or not because, some companies such as cigarette manufacturing companies advertise their products even if they can be harmful to human health leaving one to decide whether to consume them or not.
Albion M. (1983): Advertising’s hidden effects: manufacturers’ advertising and retail pricing: Auburn House pp25-36
Borden N. (2002): The economic effects of advertising: RD Irwin, Inc. pp19-24
Comanor W. (1979): The effect of advertising on competition – Journal of economic literature: TA Wilson pp52-59
Schmalensee R. (1972): The economics of advertising: North-Holland Publishing Company pp43-48
Schudson M. (1984): Advertising, the uneasy persuasion: Its dubious impact on American society: Basic Books pp34-39.