What does the word advertising bring to mind? TV and radio commercials? Newspaper ads? Magazine ads? Outdoor signs? Supermarket display and packages? Certainly all of these are advertising. You may, however, think of all the money spent on advertising and wonder what if all of these are spent instead on schools or in helping the poor and unemployed or for more research disease. You may recall advertisements that you liked or disliked. In any case, one cannot help being aware of the influence of advertising in our lives. Advertising “is a message paid for by an identified sponsor and delivered through some medium of mass communication.
” The word comes from the Latin ad vertere, “to turn the mind toward. ” Advertising is designed favorably to dispose a person toward buying a product or supporting a cause. Advertising is persuasive communication. It is not neutral; it is not unbiased; it says, “I am going to try to sell you a product or an idea. ” In many respects, it is the most honest and frank type of propaganda. For advertising to be effective, a combination of at least some of the following conditions must be present: 1. It is of primary importance that the product be good and meet a perceived need.
By “good” we mean a product that consumers will want to purchase and continue to purchase in the future. 2. Before considering advertising, a company must examine the potential for sales, revenues, and profits from its products. In a study of industrial products, it was found that introducing new products to a given market drastically increased advertising expenditures. 3. Product timing. One of the most important elements in product success is timing. It is difficult for advertising to sell a product that is totally out of step with the times.
However, advertising can socialize and increase the acceptability and adoption rate of certain products. The use of celebrity testimonials is one method of creating an “in-crowd” image for a product. 4. A producer must be interested in selling the product under its own name. The manufacturer should distribute a new product under its own brand name, develop a new brand for it, or sell it through large retail outlets under their private store brands. BEGINNINGS The urge to advertise seems to be a part of human nature, evident since ancient times.
Of the 5,000-year recorded history of advertising right up to our present TV-satellite age, the part that is most significant begins when the United States emerged as a great manufacturing nation, about 100 years ago. The people who gave the world the Tower of Babel also left the earliest known evidence of advertising. A Babylonian clay tablet of about 3000 B. C. was found bearing inscriptions for an ointment dealer, a scribe, and a shoemaker. Papyrus exhumed from the ruins of Thebes showed that the ancient Egyptians had a better medium on which to write their messages.
The Greeks where among those who relied on town criers to chant the arrival of ships with cargoes of wines, spices, and metals. Often a crier was accompanied by a musician who kept him in the right key. Town criers later became the earliest medium for public announcements in many European countries, as in England, and they continued to be used for many centuries. Roman merchants, too, had a sense of advertising. The ruins of Pompeii contain signs in store or terra cotta, advertising what the shops were selling-a row of hams for a butcher shop, a cow for a dairy, a boot for a shoemaker.
The Pompeiians also knew the art of telling their story to the public by means of painted wall signs. Tourism was one of advertising’s earliest subjects. Outdoor advertising has proved to be one of the most enduring, as well as one of the oldest, forms of advertising. It survived the decline of the Roman Empire to become the decorative art of the inns in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. That was still an age of widespread illiteracy, and inns, particularly, vied with each other in creating attractive signs that all could recognize.
Advertising is only one of several selling tools, which businessmen have used for centuries to assist them in getting their wares into the hands of consumers. Its early use was distinctly a minor supplement to other forms of selling. Storekeepers erected signs on or in front of buildings or placed posters in public places, merely to draw the attention of prospective customers to their places of business. After customers were thus attracted, personal selling and display of merchandise were depended upon to make the sale. ADVERTISING AND THE FUTURE Today advertising has become a major form of selling.
It not only supports other forms of selling but also frequently serves as the only selling tool used to move merchandise. Whereas early advertising might have been referred to as written or printed publicity, serving wholly as an adjunct to personal selling, today it takes a position on a par with personal selling. This does not mean that the two are competitive; instead, one complements, rather than supplants, the other. Modern advertising is closely associated with the development of mass selling. The manufacturer who sells his merchandise throughout an entire nation or in many nations finds advertising a valuable ambassador.
Messages dealing with new or old products, their qualities and want-satisfying characteristics can be sent to millions of people at low cost through newspapers, magazines, television, radio, direct mail, billboards, car cards, and motion pictures. Dealers in every market, stocked with such merchandise, find it relatively easy to meet the needs and desires of people. Thus, automobiles, refrigerators, radios, electrical equipment, and many other items can be manufactured and sold on a basis to obtain the advantages of mass production and distribution.
Modern advertising has demonstrated its power as an independent and complementary selling tool. So important has it become, that careful attention has been given to its scientific application to modern business. Thus, modern advertising covers a broad field. Its effective application requires a thorough understanding of the importance of its various component parts. In the coming years, advertising must deal with an economic and social order geared to information and service rather than the earlier manufacturing economy.
Our complex communications system threatens to make mass communication systems outmoded. The ability to reach narrowly defined audiences started with selective magazines, moved to an explosion of selectively formatted radio stations, and undermined the overwhelming audience concentrations of the three major networks and has the potential for one-to-one communication through home computers. The advertiser reaches this fragmented audience at a higher and higher price. As the audience of a media vehicle decreases, the cost per reader of listener invariably increases.