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Manipulation through Advertising 7

Manipulation through advertising – is advertising positive or negative?

Final Discursive Essay


Academic Reading and Writing EWR 1211

10 March 2011

Discursive Essay Outline

Essay question: Manipulation through advertising – is advertising positive or negative?

  1. Introduction

Thesis statement: Although, advertisement is controversial because it has both positive and negative sides that should be considered.

  1. Body

    1. Advertising has discouraged participation in harmful behaviors.

    2. Provided detailed information which consumers need to accurately conduct. product evaluations

    3. Advertising has misled and deceived consumers resulting in misinformed and inappropriate product selections

  1. Conclusion

Nowadays advertising became an integral part of human society, an element of its culture. For some time advertising is present everywhere, most of the information channels burdened with advertizing mediums or even paralyzed by them. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and internet – all in varying degree keep in balance the traditional media and advertising: the thing that we are interested in and what should be interesting for us. Advertisement can be viewed as a form of communication that tries to translate the quality of goods and services, and ideas on language needs and consumer demands. And these are not simple relations. From the very beginning it is important to remember that the advertisements that we see and hear are the end products of a number of studies, strategic plans, tactical decisions and actions that in total are the process of advertising. Hackneyed phrase “advertising – the engine of trade” sufficiently discloses the basic function of advertising: the transfer of information about the product or service, acquaintance with potential buyers, his persuasion of the need to purchase the product. But from the normal informational message advertisement differs in interest of the ultimate result. It's not just the study of information but learning with a certain, very specific purpose - to increase the demand for a particular product or service. Advertising has huge variety of different forms. It serves various purposes influencing the economy, ideology and culture. However, traditionally its main purpose is to increase sales of goods and services and to ensure advertisers profits. Organization of a set of effective advertising activities is a very difficult task for the implementation of which requires a clear and coordinated work of qualified marketing or special advertising departments. Based on the rich experience of foreign countries in the field of advertising, it can be argued that the promotional activities - is a special science, which has its own rules and laws. This science uses knowledge of psychology, sociology and market research to resolve the economic problems of the enterprise. And derive the maximum benefit from advertising in specific local conditions can only be provided by detailed study and intelligent comprehension of the science. Thus, the creation of modern advertising - is a deeply thoughtful and orderly process. Modern man lives among ever-increasing flow of information. According to many experts, in such circumstances, the power of persuasion alone is not effective anymore, so other methods of exposure in the advertising practices are starting to use. In this regard community starts to talk about manipulation power of advertisement. Appeared charging it with turning into a zombie, establishing needs, opportunities to sell what one does not need, etc. Today there are two main views on the possibility of advertising: some think that advertising manipulates human behavior, while others are of the opinion that advertising can not force the person to perform any actions. Although, advertisement is controversial because it has positive and negative sides that should be considered.

The first reason advertising has discouraged participation in harmful behaviors. For example, it may be social advertisement, such as domestic violence, abortions, civil rights and obligations, drunk driving or drug use, smoking, etc. Social advertising is a powerful tool shaping public opinion. Now let’s have a look at Anti-Tobacco Advertising. Netemeyer, Andrews and Burton determine that tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of mortality in United States, contributing to more than 440 000 deaths each year. One of main recommendations to help Americans stop using tobacco was designing of statewide media campaigns that motivated parents to quit via advertising messages stressing the health risks of smoking to both themselves and their children. Researchers argued that first hypothesis that predicted that the advertising-based beliefs associated with the Wisconsin Anti-Tobacco Campaign would interact with number of children living in the household to produce a positive association with consideration of quitting was completely supported. And the second hypothesis, that number of children living in the home would strengthen the positive effect of advertising-based beliefs, was partially supported. Creating advertisements that target specific beliefs may be the most effective approach to enhancing consideration of actual problem of society.

The second reason provided detailed information which consumers need to accurately conduct product evaluations. Advertisement informs us about the new and improved products and teaches you how to use these innovations. It helps to compare products and their features, giving the buyer the opportunity to make decisions about purchasing, when he was informed. It is a mirror of trends in fashion and design and contributes to our aesthetic views.

On the other hand, advertising has misled and deceived consumers resulting in misinformed and inappropriate product selections. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has primary responsibility for review, regulation, and, when appropriate, elimination of deceptive advertising. However, in response to significant reductions in staffing, the FTC has allocated its resources to areas and claims felt to have the greatest detrimental impact on the consumer.  Individual states have attempted to fill the regulatory void left by the FTC but a lack of resources and low educational level of society also hinders these efforts. For example, Hawthorne argues that the argument that the problem of poverty illiteracy and poor education is the task of the sociologist and social worker rather than the lawyer is not valid in the South African context where education is neither compulsory nor freely available. This fact makes consumer protection of paramount importance, and at present, what is available is insufficient. Because current regulatory control is insufficient to reduce or eliminate deceptive advertising practices, the task is to identify other methods for reducing the incidence of deceptive advertising practices. According to Cassim, any advertiser in South Africa runs the risk that information that would be useful to highly educated and informed consumers will be misinterpreted by those with less education or access to other sources of information. Another example, Fernandez has demonstrated that the Office of Fair Trading stating that a quarter of the population has a lack of faith in the companies that sell products online. If advertiser act and respond positively, he will not only save the sale, he will win the customer for life.

In conclusion, it is not clear when – or even if – the controversy regarding advertising will be resolved. Thus, advertising is essentially a process of committed communication. And since any effective communication involves influence to get the result needed to sender, the advertising – is always manipulation. But by itself, this phenomenon should not be considered as negative or positive. This is just a means to achieve gain. Bad dishonest can only be specific manipulative techniques of influence. Their use should be subject to ethical and legal regulation. In many nations advertising became an art. Advertising business attracts the best forces, because it spinning a lot of money. Creating promotional product combines the global and often conflicting objectives: to attract attention, get to buy goods and create an attractive image of the producer, to become an aesthetic object, adorable, intelligent product for the mind and heart to entertain customer. In addition, many felt that advertising should be moral and awaken positive emotions. Consequently, we accept the reality in terms of our own experiences. In this sense marketers do not create reality - they are simply a mirror of the society. We may argue that unfortunately this is not always the case.


Broyles, S. J. (2011). Subliminal advertising and the perpetual popularity of playing to people's paranoia. Journal of Consumer Affairs. Available at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3250/is_2_40/ai_n29294474/

Cassim, S., & Langton, R. (1996). Current issues in the regulation of deceptive advertising: Some consequences for South Africa. South African Journal of Business Management, 27(4), 82. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Eder, P. F. (1990). Advertising and mass marketing?. Futurist, 24(3), 38. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Fernandez, J. (2009). Even negative views improve brand image. Marketing Week (01419285), 32(37), 23. Retrieved from EBSCOhost

Gomes, M. E., Leupold, S., & Albracht, M. (1998). Advertising, community, and self. ReVision, 20(4), 26. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Lindsley, J. (2010). Sell Using Inspiration Not Manipulation. Pest Management Professional, 78(11), 30. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Netemeyer, R. G., Andrews, J., & Burton, S. (2005). Effects of Antismoking Advertising-Based Beliefs on Adult Smokers' Consideration of Quitting. American Journal of Public Health, 95(6), 1062. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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