Impact of advertising Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it’. It is the consumers who are unaware of this exploitation and become the victims of packaging. Advertising is a faCade to the outer appearance of a product,. It is an art to bring about the specifications of a product or service in a rather over the top way. It can be ostentatious, bold, sarcastic, funny, raunchy or downright dumb, but, nevertheless, we all are victims of advertising and its phenomenal impact in our life.
Advertising , in its various manifestations plays with our subconscious mind. With our innate need to affiliate with the norms of the society in tune with satisfying our hierarchal needs namely, like gratifying our basic and primary needs with food, clothing, shelter and sex to safety and safety needs like security, love needs, the feeling of belonging and the need to love , and higher order esteem needs . Advertising aims to satisfy and gratify our needs by going a step further in manipulating our thinking and buying habits. Statistics verifies that crores of moolah is spent on advertising.
This ‘legalized form of lying’ helps one sell an idea more than a product. If we want to look glamorous, we buy a bar of ‘Lux’ soap or when we are thirsty, we drink Sprite. Although these products do not necessarily serve its proclaimed purpose, advertising creates a phenomena called ‘free recall. ‘Thanda is synonymous to Coca Cola and Xerox to a photocopying machine. Advertising promises you that you will surely look like Amitabh Bachchan with a Reid & Taylor suit when you you look nothing like him. Only if you sport a Raymond suiting, you become a ‘complete man. ‘ otherwise, you may have some doubts.
Such is the power of advertising to create doubts about your own identity. Advertisements of hair products and soaps shown on the idiot boxes are ludicrous. With the creation of scientific advertising magic tricks with the help of a hair iron and hair potions from other companies, a model who has naturally beautiful hair , mirror and lots of lighting, voila, we have an ad which guarantees beautiful hair and a boyfriend! Although hailed by Marshall McLuhan, the great Canadian social scientist that ‘advertising is the greatest form art form of the twentieth century’, advertising has generated creativity to a full swing.
It has raised consciousness on various social and environmental issues and health concerns. Within a mere span of fifteen to thirty seconds, an ad creates a sense of awareness by stirring one’s emotions, desires, needs and dreams. The latest Airtel advertisement has created a stir of emotions by bringing out our need to communicate and express our self with the power of communication through eminent persons changing and touching the life of millions. It may be a rare case when Airtel subscribers change the life of others when they communicate through their Airtel connection.
But the advertisement craftily intends to create wishful aspirations. THE IMPACT OF FALSE MARKETPLACE INFORMATION ON SOCIAL WELFARE Exposed to numerous persuasion attempts each day, consumers are expected to critically evaluate the believability of the product information they encounter. As most of this information is truthful or slightly enhanced with some element of exaggeration or puffery, consumers are generally dealing with credible, legitimate information cues.
However, infomercials are a prime example of promotional messages wherein extraordinary claims abound. For example, an infomercial for “The 6-Second Abs” claims that a four-minute daily use of the equipment will result in a perfectly sculptured stomach. Although most consumers express skepticism about these claims, reported sales indicate that many individuals are nevertheless influenced enough by such information to place orders for the advertised product.
At the opposite side of this phenomenon, consumers are also exposed to product-disparaging rumors. Notable recent examples include Procter & Gamble (long plagued by rumors of an affiliation with devil-worshipers) and the American Red Cross (reportedly endangering blood donors in the past via exposure to AIDS). Organizational efforts to combat rumors are often frustrated by the finding that rumors that stretch credibility even to the point of being obviously false still adversely affect them.
Businesses and non-profits are challenged to dispel this information and regain their reputation and finances. These phenomena have both consumer and organizational welfare implications. In the case of misleading product information, consumer welfare is harmed when untruthful information in the form of product oversell motivates consumers to make purchases that fail to meet their expectations, leading to regret and psychological discomfort. In addition, businesses wrongly profit from their deceptive behavior.
In the case of rumors and other forms of untrue and unfavorable product information, businesses suffer lost sales, profits, and a tarnished image. Consumers lose by avoiding products that would otherwise satisfy them. Here, the organization’s competitors (who frequently originate rumors), wrongly gain from their actions. Both phenomena are a challenge to the economic system because they appear resistant to standard methods of consumer education: people often act on information even though they acknowledge that the claims are “too good” (infomercial) or “too bad” (rumor) to be true.
The present chapter reviews research that looks at the effects of explicitly disbelieved information on consumer attitudes and reports on studies of both falsely positive (infomercial) and falsely negative (rumor) information. After setting up the discussion framework, we first consider literature that refers to the [unwarranted] inferences consumers make from the promotional messages they are exposed to, in the context of the curious nonbelief phenomenon (Maloney 1963) and the Spinozan/ Cartesian approaches to discourse comprehension.
We then consider literature that refers to the origination and diffusion of rumor information, in the context of information processing theory. In both instances we present a novel theoretical account that explains why consumer beliefs (or more accurately, nonbeliefs) are often not directly related to subsequent behavior. The view that emerges from the research reviewed here argues for the fact that processing of the automatic kind is responsible for some of the paradoxical effects observed in the literature. SOURCES OF PRODUCT INFORMATION
Consumer behavior is largely driven by the information consumers are exposed to either in the process of actively seeking to aid decision making (e. g. , reading product reviews in Consumer Reports) or incidentally in their everyday lives (e. g. , watching commercials presented during a television program). This information may be favorable or unfavorable to the product and it may be true or false. Advertising is considered favorable information because it is illogical to think that advertisers would knowingly pay for information that is unfavorable to the product they are offering.
Further, most product advertising presents truthful claims about products, partially in recognition that it is illegal to present false and deceptive information to consumers in order to sell products. Truthful sources of unfavorable product information would be product reviews presented in the media and word of mouth from dissatisfied customers. False or untruthful product information often serves as the basis for disparaging rumors. The Internet offers an inexpensive and effective channel for disseminating these rumors.
A recent example is an internet rumor that Canola Oil contains ingredients from a genetically modified plant and is the source of many illnesses, some related to Mad Cow disease (http://urbanlegends. about. com/ library/blcanola. htm). Most, but not all rumors appear to be false and unfavorable based on a review of the many posted at urbanlegends. com. Table 1 categorizes the different sources of product information based on their favorability toward the product and truthfulness. Table 1: Sources of Product Information Categorized by Favorableness and Truthfulness |Favorable |Unfavorable | |True |Most Advertising/Selling |Third Party Reviews (–) | | |Publicity |Word of Mouth (–) | | |Third Party Reviews (+) | | | |Word of Mouth (+) | | |False |Deceptive Advertising/Selling |Product/Corporate Rumors | | |(Infomercials) | | True product information is very useful to consumers as it aids in making informed product choices and is essential to maintaining an efficient market-based economy.
Research on consumer decision making looks at how consumers make their choices by presenting them with product information and observing how they use it to evaluate one or more products. In these studies, consumers are expected to assume that this information is accurate. However, in everyday decision making, consumers may have been exposed to and possess product information that is not true. This should complicate decision making as consumers must judge the truthfulness of various claims as well as their relevance to the decision at hand. Some consumer research deals with the issue of judging product information’s truthfulness in the process of evaluating products. It documents the difficulties consumers often have in recognizing false or misleading statements (Richards 1990).
For example, Harris (1977) illustrates how pragmatic implications (e. g. , “Winter is cold season. Use Listerine every winter day”) can lead to false impressions about product features (e. g. , “Listerine prevents winter colds”). In past research, consumers are processing information when they are unaware that it is false. The present research looks at situations in which consumers are aware that the product information is false. This approach enhances our understanding of this process by advancing the counterintuitive notion that consumer judgments are affected by product information even when consumers are aware that the information may not be true.