Crash of Advertising on the General Public


Part-time Ph.D Scholar in Management
Madurai Kamaraj University
Asst. Professor
AR School of Business, Dindigul


In last few decades Advertisement has become more popular and become wide-ranging repercussions on a society. There are some critics that advertising promotes a materialistic way of life by leading people to believe that happiness is achieved by purchasing products. They argue that advertising creates a consumer culture in which buying exciting new products becomes the foundation of the society's values, pleasures, and goals.

Advertising has a major social impact by helping sustain mass communications media and making them relatively inexpensive, if not free, to the public. Newspapers, magazines, radio, and broadcast television all receive their primary income from advertising. Without advertising, many of these forms of mass communication might not exist to the extent that they do today, or they might be considerably more expensive, offer less variety, or even be subject to government control through subsidies. In-depth news programs, a diversity of magazines, and free entertainment might no longer be widely available.

Objective of the Study:

1. To point out the positive and negative side of advertising.
2. To enable students to discern manipulative advertising.
3. To be aware of impact on special audiences such as children and women.
4. To examine the right to privacy and its violation

Here we are going to discuss the Impact on advertising on Society with reference to deception, puffery, manipulative advertising, advertising creating materialism, advertising of certain products such as tobacco and liquor, advertising and special audience, advertising and moral values, violation of right to privacy, promotion of stereotyping, positive role of advertising


Whenever we switch on TV we are able to watch an advertisement will push up to some products on us with some assurance. Advertising has come to stay as a part of the modem economic system and present-day society.

First the advertising informs a customer about the various choices available in the market. Second, advertising happens to be the most economical tool for disseminating information to the prospective audience, whether it be selling a product or promoting a social cause. Third, advertising is an in separate part of free speech.


Advertising is nothing but a paid form of non-personal presentation or promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor with a view to disseminate information concerning an idea, product or service. The message which is presented or disseminated is called advertisement. In the present day marketing activities hardly is there any business in the modern world which does not advertise. However, the form of advertisement differs from business to business.

Television Advertisement:

Television is invented by J.K.Baird has today became a mass media of modern communication; as a result it has an increase in great amount of commercial propaganda. Today's producer invests huge amount of money on TV advertisement and in finding new ways of attracting consumers towards his products. As a result consumerism is the new religion of the day. Consumerism is having great effect on various groups of the society. Adolescents are the important group of the society.

So, it will be of great use to find-out how television advertising affects them? Adolescents are the main targets of this, which attempts to change their consumption pattern, lifestyle & views. By keeping adolescents in their point of view they are capturing the market by focusing its special attention towards adverting.

Advantage of Advertisement:

Advertising is the weapon that helps to promote their product. First of all, let's talk about the advantages of advertising which is really effective in informing the consumers about new products. A company can increase its sales by advertising the new product through any mass media and make its usage increase in the competitive market. It can also introduce a new product to the market and convince customers to go for it. It gives the chance for people to make a comparison between similar products and choose the better. It reminds us about good promotions for all products. Also there are the governmental advertisements which are really effective. This type of campaigns absorbs the attention of the consumers. For example, people are influenced by the over-population advertisements. Moreover, people are also aware of a lot of diseases because of the advertising campaigns. Not only that but also advertising is helping people to learn many aspects; people can know about tricks in market through governmental ads.

Disadvantage of Advertisement:

  • Fraud

    That is when the advertiser has the intent to create false beliefs about the product. So a person will watch or read or hear the add , go out and buy the product it was advertising and it turns out it not as good or effective as we publicized. And like it is said in the article, it is a very difficult task for the advertiser to proof his or her intent weather the intended to fraud the customers or not.
  • Paucity

    Some times ads are done in a clever way in order to sell, and although they ways are clever, they don't usually mean they are false. As for example that was told in the article, it was found that a toy car ad was misleading since in the ad the cars appeared to go faster than it really doe and in another example, an ad was aired that said " Aren't you tired of the sniffles and runny nose all winter? Tired of always feeling less than your best? Get through the whole winter without colds. Take Eradicold pills as directed". That doesn't necessarily mean that taking those pills will prevent a person from catching a cold in the winter, but it surly is implied here.
  • Misleadingness

    Misleadingness differs from falsity as in the later the advertiser leads the consumer to a false claim, but the consumer makes up that claim himself, however in Misleadingness, the advertiser intentionally mislead the consumer of believing some false about their product.

    Moreover as advertising industry contributes a lot to the financing of media; this issue itself affects the media negatively. As according to the article "The propaganda model: an overview" large businesses pay millions of dollars to television/radio stations and news papers, so they end up interfering with the content of the stations or the paper, if it may in any way harm the image they want to reflect, thus ending up affecting the credibility and coverage of these station or papers.

The Defence of Advertising:

Industry has laid itself open to criticism in the past by not assigning a high enough priority to ethical considerations. Such criticisms are mainly:

    1. "Show Window": This highlights one of advertisings' most important functions as making the products of industry visible to the public. By showing people their products, producers are making claims for them, but also they are inviting public criticism and attack if their products do not live up to their promised benefits. For this reason, proponents say it is safer to buy advertised products than unadvertised competing products. The makers of the advertised product put their brand names and reputations on the line. They will try harder than others to fulfill their claims and maintain their good reputations.

    2. "Manipulation": According to the critics, "Advertising manipulates us to buy things we don't need by playing on our emotions. The persuasive techniques are so powerful that consumers are helpless to defend themselves". The defense says that advertising cannot make us buy things we do not need; that people who say the opposite have little respect for consumers' common sense and their ability to make decisions; that many advertised products fail; that subliminal advertising, which has inspired many fears among critics, has never been proven effective; and that some products are successful even without advertising. In short, advertising's influence has been exaggerated.

    3. "Artificial Needs": To the complaint that, "Advertising creates artificial needs", the defense says that if there is no need for a product then people will not buy it. Advertising does not create needs; it helps the consumer decide which among the various brands to purchase. Marketers have found that the way to advertise and sell products is to satisfy genuine needs and wants, rather than to invent needs.

    4. "Too Much": Many complain that there is too much advertising, but the defense says we will just have to put up with it, because the dominant economic system demands a high level of mass distribution of products. Advertising volume will stay high because mass distribution supports our free enterprise system. It is the price we have to pay for free television, freedom of the press and our high standard of living.

    5. "Offensive": It must be acknowledged that many find advertising to be ineffective and in bad taste. What is "offensive" is often subjective, determined by time and culture. Many things that used to be offensive in the past are no longer so. Liquor ads can be offensive for some, while others take them for granted. Often the products themselves are not offensive, but the advertising offends in order to gain attention. The audience has the veto and can ignore the offending advertisements. But advertisers are aware of what the general public finds distasteful and, for the most part, try to avoid it, the Benetton example apparently notwithstanding.

    6. "Stereotypes": It must be admitted that advertising does perpetuate stereotypes, as many critics claim. However, great changes have occurred in this regard in recent years. Advertisers have become sensitive to stereotyping population groups, because these groups constitute business for them, just as much as other groups. Minority advertising has become niche-making, instead of the use of stereotypes. The image of women in ads also has changed significantly so that men and women are portrayed equally. This is due not to feminist pressures, according to the defense, but more to changes in the marketplace which make the exploitative representation of women counterproductive.

    7. "Deceptive": To the complaint that "Advertising is deceptive", it must be said that continued deception would be self-defeating because it causes consumers to turn against a product. `Puffery' -- "the best", "greatest", "and premier" -- if sometimes believed is therefore deceptive, but there is little evidence that deceptive advertising helps sales. It is in the interest of the advertiser to stay honest.

Advertising impact on society:

Advertising is the mostly debated topic now. Like every other thing it has also some positive as well some negative points. If it has some positive aspect of social and economical impact on society then it do have some negative impact also. Advertising a public welfare program has positive social impact whereas exposing woman in an advertisement has negative impact on society. 

Advertising is a mass marketing technique. Assorted techniques are used for advertising which persuades the consumers that why they need the product which is being advertised. They focus more on the benefits, which consumer will get from that product, rather than the product itself. Through advertising, products can be known to public easily. They can decide which product they need and why. Thus increasing the consumption and as a result also increasing the demand of the product. 

 Advertising can also be used to generate awareness among public that which product they use and to which product they can say no. It can also be used to educate people about certain diseases or danger (example: - AIDS, TB, viral diseases, etc.). Even the backward people are now aware of many diseases and their problems. And all these credits goes to proper advertising. Diseases like Polio could never been controlled if the timings for polio drops aren't advertised regularly.  

Advertising can also be used to inform public about social events like concerts and performances. Charities can use media to advertise about the illnesses and encourage people for donations. Social organizations and NGOs can use the mean of advertisement for promoting their campaigns. Seeking help through advertisement during epidemics or natural calamities can help a lot. 

There are also various blames that advertising is causing negative social impact on lives. Even if advertising has a vast good impacts on society, it can be ruled out that is has bad impact also. It plays with the emotions of general public and encourages them to think that buying and depleting are the activities of life. Advertising posters of modern films, where sexuality is shown much than the actual theme of the movie, can divert the society a lot. Materialism is being much glorified through advertisements, which can again have dangerous consequences Society is becoming ignorant towards social or world issues because we are too obsessed to satisfy our newly created needs. We want to earn more and more money so that we can buy happiness in forms of products, being advertised as they can bring all the happiness in our lives. We are starving for material goals, because we always just want to have more. 

Products which are heavily advertised are expensive due to the cost spent on advertising. It is true that advertising increases consumption, but it is also true that the more we consume, the more we destroy the environment, because if demand increases production also increases. Thus the need of raw materials also increases. There are two advertisements, shown below. Both of them are of same products, that is ice-cream, but with different forms. One can judge from them that which one have positive and which one can have negative impact on society.


I conclude that advertising has positive as well as negative impact on society. The balance, of what is necessary and what really not needed should be focused more. Advertisement can create contentment but can also simultaneously create discontentment. Our society and the marketing of products depend so badly on advertisement that even its negative impact on society can't outweigh the many positive social and economical effects.



Part-time Ph.D Scholar in Management
Madurai Kamaraj University
Asst. Professor
AR School of Business, Dindigul

Source: E-mail January 6, 2013


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