We are living in an age of advertisement. Day by day its domination is increasing in every walk of life. It is the most effective means of promoting one’s own business or requirements. It is also a useful means to survive through keen competition with rival companies. Through advertisement, all sorts of products come to public notice and impress their presence in the market. We cannot but be influenced by the advertisements in modern times And in that field, next to the electronic media such as Radio or Television or Cinema, the widely circulated medium of advertisement in the newspaper. Besides, there are hoardings, neon-light (glow-sign) boards, placards or stickers, handbills, flying balloons, etc.
The great art is to know how to catch the eye and the pocket of the buyer. It can be done by humorous cartoons also. Above all, advertising must be repetitive, for it is by constant hammering that one can attract the attention of the public. In order to promote the purpose of an organization or boost sales of some commodities — TV, VCR, Freeze, Mobile Phone, new models of cars, machines, houses or flats or even newly published books, the producer takes the help of advertisement for attracting the attention of the public. One may take help of advertisement for getting one’s personal requirements too. And thus we see that in modern society the advertisements keep the wheels of life moving.
From the big multinational companies to a small manufacturer of combs or dot pens or pencils, every concern thinks advertisement is a must. Even educational institutions, government or semi-government concerns are advertising in some form or other. Of course, various advertisements have their special targets. The makers of umbrellas, for example, know that their prospective customers comprise middle-class and lower-class families. The AC manufactures aim at rich consumers of posh areas while the manufacturers of fans cover a wider area. At present, television and refrigerator have a wide market among durable electronic goods.
However, advertisement has been recognised as great art. Thousands of experts are engaged in finding out novel methods to arrest the attention of prospective consumers. Very often the approach is psychological rather than a plain claim of superiority. The advertiser of a cream or soap or perfume suggests that if you use it, you will win your lover’s mind. Some give emphasis on catchy coining of words, such as, ‘Belief in the best’, ‘More cricket, more Pepsi’ etc.
In modern times advertisements on the television have got a greater effect. Everything is being continuously advertised every minute on different channels. Not only films and serials, but even news is being sponsored by some companies. It is satirically said — he is the best salesman who can sell freeze in the land of Eskimos or footwear where nobody wears shoes or a comb for a baldhead.
Critics point out that the overdose of advertising assaults not only our eyes but also our pockets. In our country 1.8% of the national income is spent on advertising and that this advertising actually raises the cost of products. When a housewife buys a packet of a reputed brand of detergent powder, about 5% of what she says goes to the advertiser as the cost of advertising the name. Businessmen spend a lot of money on advertisement because they know it pays in return. However, we see that some of the advertisements give a truthful account of their products; others give misleading information. Sometimes the consumers are benefited and sometimes they are deceived by them. The tall claims of many advertisers are found false when put into a real test. These are the questionable points of advertisement.
But there are some points to be said in its favour. Though some things cost more because of advertising, other things cost less. Newspapers, commercial radio and TV, all carry advertisements and the money received from the advertisers helps to lower the cost of production of these media items. In this way, we get information and entertainment at lower prices than would otherwise, and so what we lose on the swings, we gain on the roundabouts. Apart from this, advertising, to some extent, ensures that a product will maintain its quality. It also gives rise to a competition among manufacturers, which benefits the customer by offering him a wider choice.
In the days of globalisations and market economy, the investment in the field of the advertisement has reached its peak. Buyers ought to know the real worth of the consumer goods or medicines or books being produced and put up for sale. Advertisement helps them in that direction and in that sense, all advertisements are not harmful or useless. But advertisements have their abuses too. The trap of advertising is sometimes a threat to man’s well-being When it tries to promote the sale of things that we do not really need; or even more when it tempts people to buy and consume things that may definitely reduce their savings, health and happiness. We admit that some of the advertisements amuse us in a pleasant way, or strike us as witty and interesting. But most of them are either too fanciful or inducive to lavishness.
We all feel the overdose of advertisement, but are helpless when the trend of the market becomes the ultimate regulator.