DU SOL BA 3rd Year Mass Communication Notes Chapter 5 Advertising Socio-Economic Milieu
Discuss advertising with context to socio-economic milieu.
Advertising : Socio-Economic Milieu
The role of advertising in the modem world can be analyzed by studying five players of its gamut, namely, producers middlemen, salesforce, consumers, and society.
Producers and advertising. Producers make the goods with a clear intention of selling them to earn profits. They are also keen to deliver satisfaction to the consumers (so that they could come again). They do take full advantage of advertising as a major weapon to popularize their products or services; Producers are prepared to spend a lot on advertising because it pays to do so. They also build their images in the minds of customers by issuing image building advertisements in the media. However, they rarely try to sell their products and services to the ultimate customers.
That is because they are not located close to their targeted markets but wholesalers and retailers have access to these markets. Example – A hotel located at Hawaii cannot sell its services to customer located at Moscow. A travel agency or tour operator having its office in Moscow can do the job for that hotel. In any case, the customer would trust the travel agency or tour operator in question because he can interact with its officials. Even if the hotel can be contacted by E-mail or telephone, the tour operator or travel agency would be able to get the best deal for that customer:
Advertising helps producers get three benefits, as follows—
1. It Increases and Stabilizes the Sales Turnover. The product or service manufactured by the producer may be the best but cannot ’ e sold on its own. The information about the products or services should reach those who are interested in buying such item. In a highly sensitive and competitive marketing environment, profits of the firm can be maximized not by reducing the costs but by the multiplying the sales turnover rate. Sales of the producer firm cannot be increased by advertising because it involves additional expenditure.
An image-building exercise would suffice in the cases of hotels, airlines, tourist resorts, theme .parks, wildlife sanctuaries etc. an effective advertising programme of the producer helps the customer form an opinion in his mind about the producer. The retail and wholesale channels do the killing on behalf of the producer. However, some hotels have also started advertising rates of their rooms or day/night packages in magazines and newspapers. The Al-Taj Holiday offer is one such example that shows a deviation from the trend described earlier. There is no harm in undertaking such campaigns if the producers can justify these expenses.
However, a tourist would go to a travel agency to get hotel bookings because he is keen to buy a complete package and not a small chunk of products and services provided by a particular producer. Quick turnover would mean reduced look-up of capital, costs, wastage, and losses as the stocks of on-the-self goods/services are held for shorter period. Producers cannot attain quick turnovers without the help of marketing intermediaries who are in regular touch with the ultimate clients. Under normal business conoitions, advertising helps not only in maintaining, but also in extending the sales turnover.
During the periods of depression, the errors of the firm’s advertising department must not be brought to a naught. During such periods (e.g. lean seasons), reduction in losses is the major priority for all the producers. They may be tempted to stop issuing ads but they must not do so. That is because happy times would come again (during peak seasons). Then, the customers would prefer them because these lean-period advertisements had remained in their subconscious minds.
2. It Maintains the Existing Market and Explores New Ones. A forward-looking producer always has its eyes on the future business prospects, although if cannot afford to ignore the current financial position. A company’s success is reflected not only in creating a market niche, but also in the maintenance and expansion of that very niche. New market niches may also be explored and won with the help of distribution channels and business partners.
When the force of an advertising campaign decreases in terms of frequency and coverage, the natural assumption is that the business of that firm is falling, or the products are not up to the expectations of consumers. A low ad spend (i.e. low expenditure on advertising) could also mean that the competitors are better in serving the needs of market niches. Out of sight, out of mind! This maxim is aptly applicable to the advertising game.
It is significant to bear in mind that one of the functions of advertising is to help retain the present market. The other function is to create new market niches and divert the demand patterns for the further expansion of the existing market niches. Modem business situations warrant a forceful entry into new markets. In such newly explored market, advertising does the spadework and creates a fertile ground for the sponsor (producer) to sow the seeds of prosperity for itself. The sponsor can get a large share in the new market through creative advertising. It may also culminate into his leadership in the new market.
3. It control Product Prices. Through well-designed advertising campaigns, it is possible to control the products prices, particularly retail prices. Very often, greedy retailers exploit the needy consumes by charging higher prices. If this consumer exploitation is not bridled, both the producer and consumer suffer for no fault of theirs. The manufacturer can help himself as well as his consumers by printing the retail prices on the product packages. Today, the package of the product is not only describing its contents, but also it is serving as a powerful promotional tool.
That is why, each product package states the prices in lucid terms. It is usual to come across the statements on product packages like ‘Retail price not to exceed Rs…,” “Local Taxes Extra, or “Price and Date of Package on Cap or Bottom.” Such pieces of information save the skin of the manufacturer and help him get support of consumers. That is how manufacturers safeguard the economic interests of consumers. Advertising makes it possible for manufactures and marketers kill two birds with one stone.
Wholesalers And Advertising –
In the chain of distribut:on, wholesalers act as the essential links between producers and consumers. Their existence is justified by the functions they perform and the services they render to both the producers and consumers. Advertising comes to their rescuer in two ways, as follows:-
(i) It Helps Them Build a brand Image. A wholesaler has to create an* image in the market that would draw retailers fold. Thus, advertisements of wholesalers are normally image – building exercises.
(ii) It support Retailers who Do Real Selling Jobs. Retailers get their names and addresses printed or advertised in the advertisements issued by wholesalers. Hence, the promotional efforts of wholesalers help their retail chains in selling the products in the markets.
Retailers And Advertising –
Retailers use advertising to their advantage through the following three methods:-
1. It Guarantees quick Sales for Them. Every retailer holding the stock of different producers, takes pride not in warming the shelves of his office but in quick and healthy turnovers. Advertising, by bringing the wide range of these products to the notice of the consumers, quickens the pace of sales of retailers. More sales lead to reduced capital investment for them. The profit of retailers automatically leads to that of wholesalers.
Example – A travel agency helps the tour operator sell the maximum number of air tickets, which were reserved by the latter. Thus, the tour operator, airline, and travel agency stand to gain. Further, losses due to holding of stock (hotel rooms, airline seats etc) over longer periods are reduced, if travel agencies undertake advertising efforts in their respective market niches. Note that wholesalers cannot undertake such types of campaigns. Thus,increases profits accrues due to increase of sales. Further, advertising gives much leeway to travel agencies to serve the needs of their regular and new consumers. Advertising also gives golden opportunities to retailers during peak seasons.
2. It Acts as a Salesman. What a traveling salesman does for his organization is done by a professional advertising campaign at least costs. That is why, most of retail organizations do not employ a large number of traveling salesmen; instead, they are willing to spend on advertising, which attracts consumers to their offices. In such offices, the counter salesmen or executives cater to the needs of these customers. In the new millennium, advertising has heralded an era of boom for those retailers who have been spared the problems of hiring, training, paying, and controlling the traveling salesmen.
Tour packages are sold to customers, through E-mail, fax transmissions, telephonic conversations etc. Old customers only send the cheques and the travel agency does the needful. And how that is made possible? Simple Advertising creates favourable impressions and images of the firm and its products in the minds of these (old and new) customers.
3. It Helps in the Maintenance of Retail Prices. Consumers are keen to get good-quality products at stable prices over a period. Each consumer has his own family budget where he strives hard to match his expenditure to his disposable income for maintaining a socially acceptable and decent living standard. If prices go on changing abruptly, these individual budgets are likely to be distorted to such an extent that consumers may be forced to think of substitutes for the products they are using. Budget blues may involve a shift in brand preference. The advertised package tours publish the prices of products and services that are likely to be effect’/e for at least three to six weeks. Consumers heave a sigh of relief as prices are more stable over a period
4. Salesmen Get Support. The sales department of the firm gets the support of advertising blitzkrieg. Direct efforts of the sales army and indirect efforts of advertisements help the fir n’s sales staff clinch orders. Both are important and complimentary to each other. We must not undermine one at the cost of the other. The success lies in perfect dovetailing of these two efforts to satisfy the requirements of the firm.
The sales force gets the following benefits from advertising. Firstly, a good salesman is nothing less than an actor who, by his skill and mastery over the art of selling, tries to win the hearts of consumers for selling the products of his company. Sales acumen and skills have value, esteem, and glamour only when he has a matching backdrop like a full-fledged advertising campaign. He may be active, tactful, and versatile, but the extent of his success rests heavily on the colourful background created by advertising.
Salesmanship alone is like a song without music. Advertising presides customers to come to him; then, he can prevail upon them to sell his products to them. His song is likely to be more meaningful and result-oriented if he uses his selling skills after advertising in the local or regional market niches. Secondly, it lightens his burden. A good advertisement reduces his selling effort; the customer already knows the detail of the tour package and all he has to do is to discuss the modalities with the salesman.
In case the salesman alone is called upon to accept the challenge of selling, it becomes much difficult to effect sales. In the absence of advertising during peak seasons, he is forced to play a double role the roles of an advertiser and a salesman. Advertising provokes public interest, wins the confidence of customers and promotes conviction. With such tasks already done, the salesman is at ease to tap the opportunity through his personal acumen and efforts. That is why, a professor of advertising has said that selling and advertising are so closely knit that they may deemed a cup and a saucer, essentially made for each other.
Advertising sells between the calls and the work of salesman is rendered easier because the clinches the orders during his sales calls. Thirdly, advertising instills self-confidence and initiative in the sales force. The victory of a selling organization is orchestrated by the psyche of its sales force rather than its number. A sales force that is self-confident and go-getter can get vital support from advertising campaigns from Of the firm. The sales force is more determined, daring, and aggressive, as it handles the delicate jobs of convincing the customers.
Consumers And Advertising –
The ultimate aim of all the marketing efforts is to satisfy the needs for consumers by transferring the benefits of productive efficiency (of the firm) to final users. Advertising is an essential concomitant of modem marketing mechanisms. It helps consumers in at least three ways, as follows –
1. It Acts as a Driving Force in the Decision-making Process. Advertising, through its variant forms and formats, disseminates useful sets of information about the relative merits and special futures of the products and services in terms of prices, quality, utility, quantity, durability, convenience, time period of execution etc. It guides the customers. The role of advertising cannot be underestimated in the process of intelligent or selective buying. The present-day complex world has been able to provide the largest possible varieties of products to such an extent that consumers are at sea to decide what to buy and what to leave behind, further, each producers claims that his product is far superior to those of others.
Example – Take a simple example of tour packages. In the newspaper, we would find many offers. Which one the customer should opt for? Which one is the best? It is one by, the SOTC or the one by the TCI? Advertising comes to the rescue of the consumer. He compares the prices of similar tour packages and then, selects the best one out of these (according to his precise needs). Thus, the process of decision-making is easier and quicker, thanks to Ad World.
2. It Ensure High-quality Products at Reasonable Prices. Advertising stimulates the sales of a good product and accelerates the destruction of a bad product by imprinting the image of the product on the minds of consumers. It earns long-lasting reputation for the marketer. Such an image can be created through effective branding strategies. Every brand stands for typical value of quality, value, guarantee price, and service. Brands display the net worth of a given product.
Example – The label on each sachet or strip of a medicine gives its formula, side effects, dosage, frequency of use and price, including the dates of manufacturing, and expiry. Maintenance of quality and price of a product is an important objective of any efficient firm. Moreover, improvement in the quality of the product and reduction in the prices has to be done even as the firm reduces its manufacturing costs. This approach goes a long way in moving the product from local to the national and international markets.
3. It Saves Time. The norms of modem living have made the members of any family put fourth their best to eke out a living. In the past, products and services were cheaper and requirements of the family were limited to such an extent that a single breadwinner was enough to manage the show. Today, there is a craze for modem amenities and luxury goods has changed the ambition set of people.
They are money-making machines, longing for more materialistic assets, luxury goods, luxury cruises, and luncheons in five-star hotels. Everyone is racing against time to earn more money because its is deemed the most important commodity in the world. It can buy everything except peace of mind, though. These cogs in machines eagerly a wait the arrival of Sunday when they can have a day of total rest. For such people, advertising is a great time saver. They do not have the time to buy products and services because of their busy schedules. They know about the products and services of different producers and wholesalers.
They read advertisements of retailers and get booking done. They use brand names to their advantage. Many of them have friends and/or business associates in reputed. They call them over telephone and get their bookings done. Alternatively, they tell their office staff to do the needful. These rich buyers place orders for various products and services through telephone, fax, or E-mail. The middle-income buyers may have to go to stores to buy products. Thus, the marketer his attention on the rich people, who are too busy to buy but do not have the time to do so. That is why, online purchase has become quite popular nowadays.
Society And Advertising –
Advertising is not only a business activity, but also it is a social institution as it affects every one in the society due to its sweeping sway and mesmerizing powers. Every one in the society is benefited by the magical world of advertising. We can consider four specific beiiefits in this context, as follows –
1. Uplifts Living Standards. Experiences of advanced nations have proved that advertising leads to improvement in the living standards of teeming millions. That is why, Winston Churchill once said, “ Advertising nourishes the consuming power of man. It creates wants for better standards of living… It spurs individual exertion and greater production.”
The standard of living of a society is conditioned by its national income and its distribution on one hand and the consumption pattern and disposable income on the other. Generation of national income is deeply influenced by the value of advertising expenditure. That is because effective and faithful advertising gives stimuli to consumers.
These consumers demand such products as are being advertised through radio, TV, newspapers, glossy magazines, leaflets, brochures, catalogues etc. this effect, in turn, rotates the wheels of production to produce not only more, but also better and cheaper products while keeping an eye on quality standards. Improvement in the standard of living implies high-volume, better, and cheaper production, thus allowing more people of lower income brackets to enjoy such products as were hitherto beyond their reach.
2. Generates Gainful Employment Opportunities. Advertising is capable of generating gainful employment opportunities, both directly and indirectly, for those who have talent and courage. Direct employment opportunities are available in the branches of this ever-growing field. It is a highly specialized and challenging profession that requires the services of experts, artists, creative directors, copywriters, photographers, web masters, painters, content writers, singers, musicians, accounts executives, and many more.
It is a team effort. Professional ought to be trained to handle meticulous and delicate tasks of the advertising process. Advertising campaigns are especially strenuous. Further, today’s advertising industry is banking heavily on supplies of paper, paints, colours, dyes and chemicals, stationery items, print production techniques, advanced scanning systems, DTP, electric and electronic gadgets and equipment, sound devices, and visual aids.
3. Serves the Society. Advertising, although used as a technique of popularizing .the products of services of a firm, is a great educator. As a conveyor of socially relevant messages, it has been utilized by different sections of the society, especially by the NGOs and governments, to disseminate ideas, opinions, and thoughts of great importance. Examples – Campaigns of anti¬Polio drops for children. Protective measures described for driving vehicles.
Use of the CAS through a set-top box in cable TV networks. News of demises and ceremonies related thereto (normally these messages are printed in newspapers free of
4. Serves the Economic Interests of People and Prospective Employers. An employer fills the vacancies in his firm, an unemployed youth applies for a job, parents hunt brides and bridegrooms, for their children, film producers promote their films, and cinema houses remind us of regular and special shows. All these activities cannot be undertaken by them without the use of a mass media tool.
The prospective targets of these messages are Spread in vast geographical areas. Moreover, their whims and fancies cannot be gauged so easily. Thus, advertising is used to motivate those people who would be keen to buy such relations, products, and services. The hit rate is always low in the case of activities of a mass promotion tool, but it is worth the efforts in most of the cases.
5. Entertains Children, Adult, and the Youth. Each meaningful ad vertisement is a unique piece of information because each advertising copy has a definite theme behind it. In order to convey the theme of advertising to the markets, the sponsor tells a story, gives a statistical profile, narrates the history and describes the future of his product.
Whether the readers or viewers of advertisements act on these advertisements or not, they are benefited. That is because they are informed about a new style of delivery of a massage. Advertising enlightens the general public in a delightful manner Thus, it is a entertainer and educator too. Example – We may match TV ads, but we would busy products and services advertised in such commercials only if we need them.
6. Depicts the Culture of a Nation or Develops a New Trend. Culture stands for the values of life and living that are ever changing, as they are guided by the dynamics of social, political, and ethical dimensions. There are two concepts to be discussed in this context. Firstly, cultural impact of advertising is quite obvious because the latter reflects the status quo of the former.
The advertisements of the DAVP present the nation as one entity, despite her caste, class, and communal diversities. We find a change in the values of life when we see skirts of the past going above the ankles and then, just above the knees! What would happen next can be left to readers’ imagination! Who made mini skirts a fashion statement of the new millennium?
Ad world, of course! The “cultural mirror function” of advertising reflects the present value system of the society. Advertising within the limits set by culture, creates new expectations for consumers. The world is ‘moving’ on the lever of advertising (‘flying’ should be the right world in this context). With its educative value, provoking force and invoking tinge, it affects thoughts, gestures and behaviour of those people who are its targets. Consumers’ attitudes, habits, likes, dislikes, fashions preferences and actions in every walk of life are deeply influenced by advertising.
Secondly, the mad men of advertising are also responsible for imparting new values to the society. The producers of the new era create new products and services. Many of these may not be needed by the society. These producers approach advertising firms and tell them to produce state-of-the-art advertisements that would make these products or services instant hits. Thus, advertising can trigger new trends in the commercial and industrial markets of the society. Many firms cross the boundaries of nations and create such trends across the globe. Example: Intel Pentium CPU (P-4).
Advertisement VS Propaganda
Distinguish between advertisement and propaganda.
It is a paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of goods and services. It is done by an identified person or company. It motivates people to buy goods or services, or to accept (or reject) a point of view. Some exclusive and finely developed messages can be given to a large number of people at the same time. This exercise falls under the gamut of mass communication. Its.
objective is to make people aware of the products or services they need. It also introduces new products and services in the existing markets. The chief aim of advertising is to create and interest in the products. Therefore, the salesmen would find it easy to sell the products and services in the local, regional and global markets if the advertising exercises were done with professional finesse.
The firm can reach a large number of people at very low costs., the firm can increase the number of users – light medium and heavy of the product or service. It can also motivate or persuade the present buyers to increase their consumption levels. The tests of consumers can be changes, albeit slowly, through the introduction of new products and services: for this purpose, advertising gimmicks play major roles in influencing the psyche of masses.
What are Interest Groups. The public normally is made up of a few distinct groups, called interest groups. In addition to these groups, there can be a large organism of the public that may be disinterested in the issue. This ’ organism comprises spectators.
Normally, the issue that creates a public is set by contesting interest groups. These groups want to address the issue and resolve it at the earliest possible date. As is wear from trend, these interest groups may have an axe to grind by resolving the issue. The interest groups they to with the support of those groups that are not been to participate in the issue or yield a solution for it
These disinterested groups may take a natural same and choose to be judges in the discussion, if a fudge i.e., a neonatal group) is appointed by the public, the immediate interest groups they to evolve a consensus on the issue sans the judge. These interest groups influence these neutral people who are acting as judges in the context of the issue. Thus, the final public opinion can have different degrees of bias because of these influences. It can be a highly emotional or prejudiced consensus or it can be a highly intelligent and thoughtful consensus. There can be many various of public opinions within these two extremes.
The interest groups are directly responsible for giving them views and bias of these types. They shape public opinions through conversing and convincing tactics. They may give wrong wets of information to nominal groups within the public so as to change their thoughts in favour of a predefined public opinion. Schramm has not touched upon the concepts of materialism and coercion. However, A Kamar opinions that some interest groups may also use arm-twisting measures or money to influence the lentil groups of a public -so that it may align it’s views with those of such interest groups in India., this kind of canvassing is common its name is decent but its synonyms, in today’s context, are money, gifts, and (if these do not suit the mental0roup) the oullet.
The final public opinion may have some rationality as pointed out by Schramm. However, he point out again that pubic opinion is rational but not intelligent. Out contention is that public opinion almost always excludes the interests of those members or interest groups of a public who are likely to be benefited by a discussion and consequent action of the given issue. Money, materialism, politics, and decay in moral values may alter public opinion. It may do more harm than good to a society or nation, if it is implemented as a decision by the State, judiciary or any law-enforcing agency.
Propaganda. It is a deliberately evolved and guided campaign to influence people to accept a given view, sentiment or value (Wilbur Schramm, Process and effect of Mass Communication). In the propaganda process opposing views are dumped in a dust bin. The end is dominant and the means are subservient to this end. The issue under consideration is not analysed to find its merits or positive points. Rather, it is thrust upon the masses to create positive attitudes towards it, without caring for its rational or moral insinuations.
In the public discussions, propaganda alters or modifies the views of people v by influencing their emotional attitudes and feelings. Its objective is to implant an attitude in the minds of people that is deemed natural and logical. There is no coercion in the process of propaganda. The issue is trumped up in a such manner that people are keen to align their views with it without giving a thought to what lies beneath the veneer of the issue. Propaganda leads to collective actions. It is different from advertising in the sense that advertising tries to influence the actions and thought process of individuals. Propaganda influences the thought process of groups. Further, propaganda tries to Create a conviction and gets and action performed according to this commission. Those, who share a conviction, get emotionally linked to one another. So, they support one another on the issue and the causative factors are primarily emotional.
Hence, Schramm opines that propaganda operator to put an end to discussion and reflection. Out readers might ask why should people fall prey to propaganda? After all, they are intelligent enough to tell the logical from the. abused. This, however, is not the case in a counter like India. During the elections, the Political parties resort to propaganda campaigns to malign the ‘ images of their lawless.
Many succeed in the task and the public willingly accepts the logic of allegations, which a party levels on another. The lesson is that, in political context, the masses have lost faith in the political system or the parties Hence, when they came across a new issue (e.g., Tehelka scam, Bofors scam, Telgi stamp scam, fodders scam etc), they have only one opinion to offer-even it the allegation is false, the accused politician is guilty. Hence, in India, propaganda is done to malign the political leaders because they are already hands-in glove with the worlds of crime, violence, vote purchase, and under world. The only impact that propaganda carries is the firing of a few politicians or ministers for their defeat at the Hustings. They continue to live their luxurious lives despite all kinds of propaganda directed against them.
This thick skin was acquired by them in a gradual manner, after late sixties, to be precise. They themselves use propaganda to attack the members of other parties. The other parties become defensive for some time. In the meantime, the attackers or adversaries, who executed the propaganda campaign, gain and edge over the victims of propaganda. The victims also respond through similar procedures. Thus, the “propaganda cycle” goes on incessantly.
Tenets Of Propaganda
The following tents are worth consideration—
- In order to implant a desired view or attitude, the attention of people • must be gained.
- The object in which, people’s interest is to be aroused, must be given an appealing framework.
- The images to be used to influence the people should be simple and straightforward.
- The slogans, USP words, images (pictures etc), and audio messages ought to be repeated.
- It is required on the part of the propagandist to assert and re-accept so that the message is solidly implanted in the minds of receivers.
Methods Of Propaganda
There are three methods through which, propaganda operates. These methods were outlined by Wilbur Schramm. These are as follows –
(i) Define the Fact. Propaganda can-be done by misrepresenting facts and supplying wrong sets of information to the public.
(ii) Use In-group Out-group Attitude. Two opponent groups create the feelings of dissent and even venom. The groups in question try to create or retain unity, brotherhood and hafmony among themselves. These groups also teach their own members to despise other (rural) groups. This is called In-group Out-group attitude. The Propagandist creates positive feelings in the minds of the members of his group. He, however, spews venom about other groups. Hence, the members of the group love their our group but hate rural groups.
(iii) Use Emotional Attitudes. The propagandist can identify the emotional attitudes and prejudices that ate already present in people. He creates an association between these attitude and prejudges and his basic thought that he wants to perpetuate through his propaganda. If he is able to associates his views with some favourable attitudes or prejudices of people, he gets support of such people. However, if opposing views are associated with unfavourable attitudes, they are likely to be eschewed. Hence, the pre-existing opinions and attitudes of people are smartly used by the propagandist to create favourable responses for his thoughts.