Criticism of Advertising22nd April 2020
Advertising plays a key role in your company’s marketing plan. To effectively attract customers, you must engage in advertising that promotes your services and products. Prepare to face criticism, however from those who believe advertising is deceptive. Much criticism of advertising centers around the false claims made in promoting products, and that they too often urges consumers to make purchases they don’t need.
Despite many benefits drawn from advertising, it suffers from a severe criticism advanced by different segments of society.
It is not an unmixed blessing. It has been criticised on the following grounds.
- Increased Price of the Product
Advertising increases the cost of the product as the expenses on it form the part of the total cost of the product. The increased prices are borne by the consumers. But it cannot be denied that advertising leads to large scale production which considerably reduces the total and per unit cost of production. The consumer may pay less rather than higher.
- Multiplication of Needs
Advertising creates artificial demand for the product and induces people to buy those products which are not needed by them. On account of its repetition, it allures and creates a desire in the minds of the people to possess an article not required by them.
Sometimes advertising is used as an instrument of cheating. In order to impress upon the people false statements are given with regard to different virtues of a product. Fraudulent means and deceptive practice are resorted to by various traders in order to sell their products. All these things adversely affect the public confidence in the advertising.
- It Leads to Monopoly
Advertising sometimes leads to monopoly in a particular brand of a product. By investing large sums in advertising of his brand, a big producer eliminates small producers of the same product from the market and creates brand monopoly. This leads to exploitation of consumers.
But in reality this argument does not hold good. The monopoly powers are temporarily acquired by the manufacturers as they face strong competition by the rival producers of the same product. In the words of Marry Hepner “advertisement stimulates competition. It often enables the small businessmen to compete with large concerns as well as to start new business”.
- Harmful For the Society
Sometimes advertisements are un-ethical and objectionable. Most often, these carry indecent language and virtually nude photographs in order to attract the customers. This adversely affects the social values.
- Wastage of Precious National Resources
A serious drawback levied against the advertisement is that it destroys the utility of certain products before their normal life. The latest and improved model of a product leads to the elimination of old ones. For instance, in the U.S.A., people like to possess the latest models of cars and discarding the old ones which are still in useable conditions. This leads to wastage of national resources.
The ethics of adverting campaigns often comes into question, particularly when consumers are urged to make unneeded purchases or are given false and misleading information. According to the Communications Council, for example, placing a price on an ad that really belongs on an inferior product is both unethical and illegal. Relying on racial or gender stereotypes is another unethical practice the council eschews. Tiny, illegible print can’t overcome patently false claims made in the larger advertising print, such as in the case of the Humira ad run by Abbott Labs in 2009. In that case, the unethical advertising resulted in a $70 million fine for the drug manufacturer, according to CBS News.
Advertising that exaggerates the differences between your product and your competitors’ products often is criticized as false and misleading. It sometimes disparages competition unfairly in an effort to woo consumers. Customers often become disenchanted with negative ads, which then can backfire on the originator of the exaggerated claims.
Advertising critics often point to the use of sex and sexual innuendos as offensive and unnecessary. Some advertising campaigns draw protests from area churches, women groups or parenting associations, such as the Calvin Klein commercials in the 1970s that featured a teenage Brooke Shields. Critics called the ads pornographic and exploitative. Boycotts and legal actions may follow offensive advertising that ultimately can lead to even more exposure for your brand. For example, the clothing retailer Benetton received extensive coverage and criticism of its so-called “unhate” campaign in 2011 when it featured President Obama kissing Hugo Chavez, a Venezuelan leader.
Another strong criticism of advertising is that it corrupts society by promoting materialism. Proponents of social responsibility accuse advertisers of taking advantage of the free enterprise system to exploit various populations with unethical, misleading and offensive advertising. The result, they say, is a less informed and less caring population of consumers. According to the American Educational Foundation, critics claim that ads play on peoples’ emotions with promises of social acceptance and sex appeal, causing them to make purchases they can’t really afford and don’t need. Advertisers can’t force consumers to buy something they don’t need, but enough effective advertising can increase consumer wants and desires.