Advertising can formally be defined as the action of non-personal and paid form of communication delivered through selective channels of media from a marketer to a particular group of people. It is essentially the efforts undertaken by a marketer to inform or persuade a target audience about an organization, individual, product or ideas. Simply put, a lot of the products, services or ideas in the world would go unnoticed if it were not for advertising. It makes people aware about the existence of a marketer’s offerings and creates the desire to consume them.
Advertising is not limited to what we see on television, print, internet or outdoor hoardings. The traces of advertising date back to as early as the time when vendors would call out to people to buy their goods and services, as for instance, a vegetable seller, a cobbler, etc. Even the announcement of a new movie being screened in the local cinema of a village is regarded as an advertising, as it is an action of persuading people to buy tickets for watching the movie.
A large number of people can be reached out to through a single message because of advertising, thus making it a cheaper form of mass promotion. However, lot of careful planning is required to define the target audience, develop the right message, place it in the right medium and finally communicate it to them else the message can go unheard or overlooked. This is where the role of targeted advertising is being considered in modern times, when an advertiser is identifying only those individuals or groups of people with whom he wants to communicate his message.
Gone are the days when advertising was just a one-way communication, with the message being transferred from the marketer to the audience through a medium like television, radio, print, cinema or even Internet. It has evolved into a two-way communication process where a customer can immediately respond to a marketer’s advertising. On the digital front, the presence of paid ads or click-through ads has made it possible to gauge consumer interest in a particular product or service.
Like most things on the planet, advertising too has its negatives. It has the ability to misguide people regarding the benefits they can derive from the consumption of a product. Not only this, it can also create a superficial, materialistic desire in the minds of the people regarding the possession of specific goods. Advertising also has a strong impression in the minds of the youth, especially in advertisements where bold and daring acts have been performed.
Many critiques of advertising claim that it is a waste of national resources, but one cannot completely overrule the fact that advertising can have more positive effects if treated sensibly.