Objections to Advertising – Economic, Social and Ethical Objections
In spite of the various advantages derived out of advertising, there are people who hold the view that advertising is unnecessary. Economic Objections, Social Objections and Ethical Objections of Advertising are briefly explained below.
1. Advertising forces people to buy goods which are not within their reach
Such an objection cannot really be valid, because, every individual knows his buying power and, therefore, can act prudently. It is not correct to criticize advertising for his actions.
2. Advertising is unproductive
Such an objection is made on the ground that advertising does not produce anything in a tangible form. The main aim of advertising is to inform buyers about certain products and services and also induce them to buy the same. It, thus, provides useful service to the manufacturers.
3. Advertising does not allow people to remain contented
By multiplying the needs of the people, advertising lures people to acquire more and more goods. This objection, again, cannot be true. The advancement of science and technology has given us access to so many useful products. Today, calculator, still camera, television etc. are common household items. Personal computers and compact disc players are also becoming important household items. It is only advertising which has helped to create awareness among the people and thereby raised their living standards.
4. Advertising leads to higher cost of goods
The cost of advertisement will come to be included while computing the cost of the product. This leads to a rise in the final price of the product which burden only falls on the buyer. This, of course, is inevitable. But one should think of the benefits derived from advertising.
5. Advertising necessitates quick disposal of durable goods
Most durable consumer goods, particularly, television, refrigerator, music system, washing machine, etc., tend to become outdated quickly. The manufacturer announces through advertisement the new and improved versions of the goods brought out by him frequently. As a result, the consumer may have to discard the existing one and go in for the improved version. This objection against advertising also is not really valid.
It is only the advancement in science and technology that brings out improved versions of goods frequently. Advertisement is only used as a medium to inform the same to the buyers. Moreover, in the case of durables, exchange offers are also made by the manufacturers and dealers, which are also informed through advertising. The consumer, therefore, only stands to benefit.
6. Advertising promotes brand monopoly
Advertising lays emphasis mainly on brand. As a result, the consumer becomes addicted to one particular brand due to repeated advertising. This objection is considered invalid on the ground that all the producers advertise and therefore, the consumer need not show preference for any one brand due to its advertisement. If at all he shows preference for a brand, it is because he finds the quality quite good or the price quite reasonable.
7. Advertising often targets the competitors’ goods
Most of the present-day marketers use advertising only to highlight the drawbacks of the competitors’ goods. Thus, advertising paves way only for unhealthy competition in the market. This objection also cannot be true because advertising is only a tool and it is only the attitude of the marketer that needs to be criticized.
Social Objections of Advertising
1. In a society where there are inequalities of income and wealth, advertising can only help people with purchasing power to buy. A majority of the people, although have the desire to buy, but have no buying power. As a result, such people will have to go disappointed. Thus, a feeling of discontent and disappointment among many creeps in because of advertising.
2. Advertisements, often, are a mere exaggeration of the basic product characteristics. Prudent buyers know very well that advertisement, in most cases, is only a gimmick to get their attention.
3. Advertisers and the media are very much dependent on each other. Advertisements are a major source of revenue to the various media like newspapers, radio and television. The media, often, do not bother to check the genuineness of the matter of advertisement. Innocent consumers, often, become victims to deceptive advertisements. A vast number of people, who invested their money in certain private finance companies in the recent past, acted on the faith of the advertisements and lost all their earnings.
4. A number of advertisements are shown in the midst of interesting TV programmes. This irritates the viewers more than creating a positive impact on them. In the same way, more than fifty percent of the space in newspapers is only occupied by advertisements. As a result, the readers lose the pleasure of reading.
Ethical Objections of Advertising
1. Women are made to participate in most advertisements to promote those products, which are totally unconnected to them, e.g. shaving cream, cigarette, etc.
2. Advertisements in public media for such products as cigarette, liquor, etc. will not be cherished by those who believe in moral values.
3. There is also a feeling among many that many television advertisements, particularly those intended for marketing liquor, condom etc. are not made for the drawing room audience.
In spite of the above said objections against advertising, it continues to be the most powerful tool of promotion.