Advertising, also known as a part of the marketing process, has a rich background. When we talk about marketing the first things that come to our mind are high profit, goods and services and of course consumers. Advertising’s role should only exist in order to help society by real information about products and services. Moreover, it helps consumers decide what to purchase according their actual needs. Advertisements are located everywhere and no one can avoid seeing them. Thus, every individual in exposed to seeing at least one advertisement.
Advertising is a form of mass communication with the public. It is a form of communication that typically attempts to persuade the potential customers to purchase or consume more of a particular brand of product/services. We could separate advertising in two categories. Giving information through advertising about a product is the first category that is innocent when facing the costumers. The second category has a manipulative effect on people. Thus, People exposed to specific advertisements are led to buy goods and services or do things that don’t actually want to do.
And in order to attract audiences, some advertisers use different extreme technique that does more damage on the consumer’s life then with helping him. Therefore, we can say that advertising is based on manipulation and thus should be limited because it harmful. To start with, advertising reaches the mind of people and is dangerous when it is not real especially on children and youth. By unreal advertising we mean a shallow advertising that focuses on the desire and wants of people so the firms producing this product achieves sales and high profits.
Young children are unable to understand advertising messages and the information given by these advertisements, therefore, children may consider these advertisements as the truth and the real world thus it will affect their behavior. According to the Washington post and their researches, “Federal regulators should restrict television advertising aimed at children 8 and younger because research shows youngsters lack the skills to question a commercial’s claims as anything but fact, the American Psychological Association said yesterday”. (Washington post article).
Moreover, children will be affected by cartoons, kids’ shows… Thus, manipulation is being forced on children by using the popular faces in cartoons like Hannah Montana, Dora… For instance, during my childhood, there was a chocolate commercial for Disney (picture of the product) and the same chocolate bar was next to it. The price range was very apart since the chocolate by Disney was a brand name. And as a Disney fan I cried and begged for the chocolate bar that was by Disney. Thus, we can see here that manipulation in advertising is being implemented through the mind of children and is affecting their behavior.
The last decade of the 20th century is famous for the development of a special genre that represents the fusion of applied arts and various forms of art. The boundaries of the genre (advertising), meant for the representation of goods and information about its positive properties, have increased over time and became eligible for more important functions. Advertising started the formation of moral values, lifestyles and even the national idea.
Advertising is a system of measures of purposeful influence on consumers, shaping and regulating the movement of goods on the market. Advertising appears where there is an exchange of goods, competition and where every manufacturer is fighting for the buyer and is looking for a niche market (Bakamitsos 2004). Advertising is very important and subtle marketing tool. Over its long history, the advertising has evolved qualitatively. It has gone from information to admonition, from admonition to development of a conditioned reflex, from the development of a conditioned reflex – to a subconscious suggestion, from the subconscious suggestion – to projecting a symbolic image.
Advertising influences the customer and contributes to his action on the acquisition of the advertised goods and services. It uses a number of different methods and techniques that affect the various psychic structures of man on conscious and unconscious levels (Árvay 2004). It has long ago been established that the intended effect on human psychology leads to positive results (positive, primarily for the company that paid for advertising products or services). Thus, the manipulation in advertising is the same as manipulation of the human subconscious. Manipulation of consciousness leads to suppress the will of others and creation of dependent personality (Kloss 2001). It is used for imposing some point of view and creation of specific wishes.
Almost all advertising manipulates our minds. Advertising does not sell the soap, washing powder, toothpaste or cologne. It offers us eternal youth and health. It promises us a rich life experiences, free from physiological constraints. The simplest “sprouts” of manipulation in advertising in modern computerized society is brainwashing and promotion of the audience through commercials on TV, radio. Promotion is usually used in such media as newspapers and magazines.
Advertising manages the human subconscious. High-quality PR approach ensures a high demand for any product. First of all, the fact is that every society has formed some sustainable spending habits. For example, if the product has the status of a scarce, it will be of high demand. Manipulation in advertising related to the concept of “deficit”, mainly relating to luxury goods (cars, jewelry). Manipulation in advertising is often associated with the price of goods. For example, the high price is an indicator of quality. The client does not always understand that there is an optimal price / quality ratio (Phillips 1997). Manufacturer, overstating the price of goods and reflecting it in advertising, is manipulating the consciousness of consumers (or even the unconscious, wishing to make buyers to believe that the more expensive goods are better).
Manipulation in advertising is also related to the stylization. Sometimes products are stylized according to younger generation (using the idols of this generation), or are stylized as classic, or historic. Manipulation in advertising exists for manipulation of the most intimate parts of our subconscious. It manipulates the names of famous personalities, styles, eras (Day 1999).
In addition, the manipulation in advertising uses such factors as “do as everyone does” or “do as we do” (Van Tuinen 2011). Thus, the manipulation in advertising is the result of the imposition of some ideas to the audience. Advertising surrounds us everywhere, and manipulates our minds. It dictates us what to do, what to buy, what to wish. Society should realize the threat of this phenomenon and try to confront it.
Árvay, Anett. Pragmatic aspects of persuasion and manipulation in written advertisements. Acta Linguistica Hungarica, November 2004, Volume 51, Numbers 3-4, pp. 231-263.
Bakamitsos, Georgios A., Siomkos, George J. Context effects in marketing practice: The case of mood. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, June 2004, Volume 3, Number 4, pp. 304-314.
Day, Nancy. Advertising: information or manipulation? 1999. p. 45. Print.
Kloss, Ingomar, Abé, Makoto. Advertising worldwide: advertising conditions in selected countries. 2001. p. 153. Print.
Phillips, Michael J. Ethics and manipulation in advertising: answering a flawed indictment. 1997. p. 165. Print.
Van Tuinen, Henk. The Ignored Manipulation of the Market: Commercial Advertising and Consumerism Require New Economic Theories and Policies. Review of Political Economy, April 2011, Volume 23, Number 2, pp. 213-231.