Advertising is a type of endorsement used in order to sell or promote goods, services, images or anything else advertisers want to publicize. There is a wide range of ways in which advertising can be conducted, thus making it a fiercely debatable topic as to whether its effects are good or bad. Advertising has both positive and negative social and economic impacts. The advertising and promoting of public welfare is a positive and effective way of reaching out to society. It may also encourage positive behavior such as anti-bullying campaigns and anti-drug campaigns. Advertising has also been used to increase awareness on particular issues such as smoking, skin cancer, STDS etc which in doing so becomes a form of education. To some, especially children, this may be a more effective way of teaching them about the dangers of certain things through reaching them in a format which is most relevant to their lifestyle habits – that is, internet, television, posters etc.
Another benefit of advertising is that it aids economic growth. If the advertisement is effective there will be an increase in consumer spending. In time, new brands may emerge out of the product; demand is further increased, leading to an increase in production which in itself leads to expansion and increased employment. Advertising is already a multi billion global industry and it continues to grow. This progression will generate greater wealth for the community or society through shared prosperity which in the long run, may lead to an increase of living standard.
However, with every positive side comes a negative and advertising is no different. One of the major criticisms advertising receives is its negative effect on people to engage in socially unwanted consumptions, for instance, smoking or drinking. One study surveyed 500 New Zealanders aged 10-18 about their responses to a beer commercial showing people drinking and having fun. Approximately 350 (70%) of the teenagers said, after seeing the beer commercial, that they wanted to try it. This shows us that people today are easily influenced by advertisements which could lead to future unhealthy lifestyles.
Another negative impact advertising has is that it is often used as not simply a way to inform someone about their product, but instead to persuade and “motivate” them to act in a certain way in order for them to buy their product or service. Advertisements often change the way people perceive things, by using unrealistic portrayals of a product to reel in the consumer, making it seem like if you buy it, the lifestyle will also come with it – for instance, many of ‘Lynx’ ads show Lynx Deodorant to have the ability to make men irresistible to women. The advertisement is implying that if you use the product, women will want you. This form of advertising uses exaggerated portrayals of the product to sell, which misleads consumers.
To conclude, advertising is a tool which can be used well and it can be used badly. It can have beneficial results such as promoting public welfare and aiding economic growth but it can almost certainly have a negative influence by misleading advertisements and changing society’s views on certain issues e.g drinking and smoking. Advertising should try to eliminate its harmful aspects and work towards promoting greater good for our society and its people.