The term advertisement refers to a form of marketing strategy that is aimed at encouraging people through persuasion or manipulation in an effort to make them continue with a given act. Advertisement is majorly done for commercial purposes, where the target groups are the consumers of a certain product (Danna, 1992). It is aimed at achieving a desired drive of altering the behavior of consumers. In the end, they may either change their course of action towards the consumption of a given product and start consuming it or increase their consumption rate. Besides commercial offers in advertisements, there are also political advertisements and ideological advertisements. These advertisements are run in the media such as the newspapers, radios, televisions, magazines, websites and blogs. They can also be carried on an outdoor basis, in which the media is not used.
Commercial advertisements are always done to increase the product consumption through branding. This involves associating names and images of a given product qualities in the minds of consumers. Historically, advertisement traces its roots back to the works of Thomas Barratt, who is also referred to as the father of advertisement. While working for a company called Pear Soaps, he managed to create an advertisement agency that promoted the company’s products through slogans, phrases and images. Studies dictate that an effective advertisement message must adhere to the advertisement hierarchy of effects, where it must ensure that it creates the awareness of the target group, provides some knowledge on the product it is marketing, creates a link between the minds of consumers and the specific qualities of the product it is promoting (Gunter, Oates, & Blades, 2005). However, advertisement must ensure that it creates a preference for the product it is promoting and convince consumers to prefer it over other competing products, thus, making it possible for its purchase to take place.
There are various types of advertisement modes. They include television or music advertisements that are argued to be the most expensive and effective mode of advertisement. There are also the radio advertisements, which are restricted to sound, online advertisements that use the World Wide Web platform to promote products and are end server delivered, as well as product placing that promotes products through billboards and print media. Advertisement can also be done on the street, which has been widely used to create the awareness about certain products to consumers. Products commonly promoted by using street advertisement are furniture and building or pavement materials. Advertisement can also be done through sales promotion. It is a two tire type of advertisement, since it involves two activities carried simultaneously. Information on the type of customers targeted is collected, while the awareness about the product being promoted is being created (Mohan, 1989).
Research studies show that advertisement has a substantial effect on consumers of products as it influences their attitude and behavior towards the products. It creates a niche for the product being promoted that significantly affects the future trends of advertising. The niche increases the advertisement’s ability to reach a specific target group within the population. Even though advertisement is considered a vital tool in the promotion of products used by consumers, critics argue that it has its own shortcomings. They argue that even though the process of advertising is crucial for the growth of any economy, it comes with a lot of social costs. The various e-mails that are unsolicited, and spam is encountered, when one engages in an online advertisement, which has burdened users so much. The financial burden on institutions is also tremendous as the medium used for advertisement are costly in nature. Nonetheless, specialist’s services have to be sourced for, since they are the ones to design advertisements before they are carried out (Danna, 1992). This research, therefore, seeks to investigate various effects that advertisement has on consumers of goods and services and come up with recommendations towards the same.
The problem statement of the research paper is to find out various effects that advertisement has on consumers of products, who are its target audience. The general problem is that a large number of product consumers are generally affected by advertisements either positively or negatively. This study, therefore, endeavors to analyze these effects that advertisement has on the products’ consumers.
According to the conducted research, advertisement can sometimes scare the target audience and induce fear in them. This assertion has never been satisfactorily studied and concluded. The efficacy of advertisements is also a topic of discussion with varying arguments arising on its effectiveness. Critics argue that advertisement plays a critical role in shaping one’s attitude towards products. Others argue to the contrary by asserting that advertisements play an insignificant role in shaping one’s attitude or consumption of products (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2008). Generally, advertisements are found to make people stop and think deeply on the provided information about the products being promoted. In terms of the efficacy, studies reveal that advertisements that make people stop and think thoroughly as well as those that provide new information about goods to consumers are more effective as compared to those that are meant to remind the audience about the existence of products or even discredit competing products.
There are various research studies that have been carried out on the effects of advertisements on consumers. The most notable one is the research study carried out by Abhilasha Mehta at Gallup and Robinson published in the Journal of Advertisement Research magazine on June 2000. It studied the attitudes that consumers have towards advertisement and the effectiveness of advertisements in influencing the consumers’ behavior. It analyzed various attitudes that consumers have towards advertisements and how these advertisements affected these consumers. The study targeted a total of 1914 respondents, who were sampled and studied. The respondents were required to be above the age of 18 and must have been regular readers of magazines that were selected to form part of the study. The study was also based on the readership of these magazines that were six in number. The respondents were grouped in terms of their sex with 608 of the respondents being male, while the remaining were 1306 female (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2008).
The readership of the news papers was also subdivided into general news, women fashion and general information about women. Qualification to be sampled was pegged on the readership of at least two out of the six magazines that they were being used for sampling. However, the study relied on statements that were attitudinal in nature to analyze its results. Such statements included terms such as agree, neutral and disagree. Respondents were either expected to agree, remain neutral or disagree with the study questions. The research findings showed that the attitudes of the respondents significantly influenced the manner, in which they responded to the advertisements. The level of attention that one gave to any type of advertisement in the magazines substantially depended on how much they liked the advertisement itself. It further found out that the orientation one had towards advertisements significantly determined the manner, in which they responded to any type of advertisement. The research study recommended that when developers of any advertisement material are formulating its content, they should bear in mind that advertisement should be formulated in a way that is appealing to consumers and can be viewed from many dimensions.
Another research was carried by the American Red Cross on the effects of advertisement on society. The research study found out that advertisement had both positive and negative effects. It stated that people get highly influenced by the things they see in these advertisements and end up purchasing the products. These entail products they see advertized or talked about with their friends and, consequently, end up buying them. According to this research study, advertisement can make people engage in the antisocial behavior such as smoking or consumption of alcohol. It can also increase a person’s racial, sexual and cultural stereotype, making them react negatively towards others (Danna, 1992).
On the positive perspective, advertisement was found to educate the society on certain issues like the benefits of using seat belts when driving as it saves life. It is also helpful in promoting and creating the awareness in terms of peoples’ health and safety, which include the appropriate sexual behavior. Nevertheless, advertisement can also be used to spread propaganda and create false images in the minds of consumers. The study recommended that before any advertisement is rolled out, its formulators must analyze its impacts on society and make sure that the negative impacts are minimized if not eliminated.
The main objective of this research study is to identify various effects that advertisement has on consumers of products. This is aimed at understanding these effects on consumers, thus, enabling advertisers to respond to them appropriately from an informed basis. By understanding various effects that advertisement has on consumers, advertising agencies and organizations that advertise their products are able to modify advertisements in order to correct them in case they have a negative effect on the targeted group of consumers. In the event of advertisement having a positive effect on consumers, agencies and product producers are able to uphold and improve them so that they can be better put to use. The modification is meant to influence the manner, in which future advertisements will be done.
Nature of the Study and Design
The study nature is qualitative, where questionnaires will be administered to the target group of study, who are the consumers of various products. However, interviews with specific professionals will also be carried out to ensure that the study is comprehensive as it will involve both information from consumers and professionals, who have a rich knowledge on the effects of advertisement on consumers.
The research questions will both be specific and open ended. The questions are as follows:
Questions on specific information.
a) Demographic information of the respondents (age and education level)
b) Specific research objectives
i) Does advertisement influence your consumption of products?
ii) If yes, to what degree does advertisement affect your consumption?
Open ended questions
a) In your opinion, does advertisement have a negative or positive effect on consumers?
b) Do you think that advertisement affects different groups of consumers differently?
c) Which type of the advertisement method does significantly affect your consumption of goods?
d) In your opinion, what are the possible solutions to this problem?
A simple random sampling method will be used for the purpose of this study. A total of 150 consumers will be targeted to study the effect of advertisement on them. The data will be collected in two forms that are the primary data and secondary data. The primary data will exclusively be gathered by the use of questionnaires only. The secondary data will be collected through interviewing the professionals, who will be targeted by this study. It will also be obtained through a thorough analysis of the previous research studies available on the effects of advertisement on consumers. Observations will also be used to obtain information on the effects of advertisement if necessary. However, the consent of the respondents to conduct this study on them will be obtained prior to embarking on the task. In order to avoid sampling errors, all respondents will be interviewed. In total, all the 150 of them will be studied with some filling in the questionnaires, while others are interviewed. Reminders will be sent either through mails or phone calls. At times, physical visits will be necessary to follow up on the progress of the data colleting instruments.
The study instruments will include standardized interviews and questionnaires. Biases might exist within these instruments, especially the interviews and observations as the researcher might structure them in a manner that suits his or her personal rather than the study objectives. In order to eliminate such biases, the researcher might be forced to incorporate the services of other professionals, especially when interviewing.
Data Analysis, Presentation and Interpretation
This section contains the analysis of questionnaire used in answering the research objectives on the effects of advertisement on consumers. The research findings are that advertisement affects consumers both negatively and positively. It also found out that advertisement affected different groups of consumers differently. On a general level, advertisement was found to affect consumers emotionally, have psychological effects and result in associations that are positive or even push consumers from consuming products.
Advertisement can create an emotional change in consumers either in a positive or negative manner. Since advertisements influence one’s behavior, the study revealed that the effective advertisement can create three emotions in any individual, namely love, rage and fear. Advertisement can create interest within an individual and make him or her love a product. An example is where there is an advertisement for a sports car. The advertisement will create a love for racing in the viewer. Nonetheless, it can also create a negative emotion, where one will develop a fear towards the product being advertised.
The study also found out that advertisement created a positive association among consumers. This major issue pronounces itself in the case of advertising soft drinks and other beverages. The producing companies usually employ the services of celebrities in advertising their products. The celebrities are used to create affections for the products being advertised. This happens when a viewer sees his or her favorite celebrity using the product that is being promoted, he or she will tend to develop some love and start consuming it. This is a positive effect of advertisement (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2008).
The advertisements also have a significant effect on an individual’s psychological state. It was found out that advertisements often create some kind of a physical reaction in individuals, whereby the images created by the advertisements have the potential of reducing the rate, at which one’s heart pumps. It can also direct the viewer’s eyes in different directions. The research further reveals that advertisers have been able to silently take advantage of this fact and inspire certain reactions of viewers towards their products.
Advertisement was found to cause consumers to shy away from the consumption of certain products. This is especially in the medical field, where most cases occur. Available evidence show that at one point, a company in the US manufactured an acne drug that had severe implications as it caused defections on the unborn babies of pregnant women. The pregnant women, who used it, ended up giving birth to defective babies. When the Medical Authorities demanded that the company included the negative side effects of the drug on its advertisement, the majority of consumers shifted their consumption. Even consumers, who were not pregnant, stopped using this drug (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2008).
Advertisement was also found to affect different categories of consumers. In this case, it affected children much more than the adult population. The advertisement can affect children positively in that it can make them be aware of the products that are new in the market and, thus, significantly increase their knowledge base on the latest technological innovations in various fields. The advertisements on convincing health practices can help in creating safety practices in children, thus, improving their diet tremendously. It can also motivate them to pursue their dreams further as they will always be accompanied by strong and inspiring messages. Some advertisements are found to inculcate an appropriate behavior in children such as hygiene.
The advertisement can also have negative effects on children. It can make them demand the products being advertised, without validating whether they are necessary or not. Various advertisements are accompanied by dangerous performances, and even though there are warnings not to try them, children overlook these warnings and still go ahead and try them, which sometimes have fatal results.
Conclusions and Recommendation
It can be conclusively stated that advertisements do have an effect on consumers of any product. The effects can either be positive or negative, depending on the intentions of advertisement. The study, therefore, recommends that advertisement agencies should carry out a thorough audit of the contents of the advertisement materials and validate the kind of message each advertisement is meant to send. It also recommends that further research should be carried out on the effects of advertisements on consumers.