Advertising in Nigeria

Advertising in Nigeria

Advertising in a communication tool of marketing, public relations, promotional management, social and political mobilization. It is a form of commercial mass communication designed to promote the sale of a product or service, an institution, organization, or candidate for political office. It is the primary source of revenue for the mass media in a free market economy.

It has not only become an integral part of man’s social, political and economic life, but has also grown both as a business activity and s a profession. In modern societies, advertising so pervades our daily lives
In the newspapers, magazines, outdoor posters, handbills and direct mails; on radio, television, and the Internets’ well as in cinema houses, we are daily confronted with myriad of advertisement.

Thus, advertising has become a conscious daily activity and experience which man cannot ignore whether as a practitioner, advertiser or consumer.

It is little wonder, therefore, that the famous American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was so sold on advertising that he once zestfully declared: If I were starting life all over again, I am inclined to think that I would go into advertising business in preference to almost any other. This is because advertising has come to cover the whole range of human needs and also because it combines real imagination with a deep study of human psychology.

Definition of Advertising
Many authorities, academics and professionals, have defined advertising variously in consonance with their perception and circumstances. One of the earliest definitions is that of Albert Lasker, often referred to as the father of modern advertising. According to Lasker; “Advertising is salesmanship in print”. The definition obviously predates the advent of electronic media and the evolution of advertising to its present level of social activity
In his contribution, Gillian Dyer defines advertising as “drawing attention t something or notifying or informing somebody of something”.

The American Marketing Association goes a step further to define advertising as, “any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor”.

In the same vein advertising can also be seen as “the non-personal communication of information usually paid for and usually identified with sponsor through the various media”.
The operative words in the two recent definitions are “non-personal” “presentation/promotion” or “communication” of “information”, “paid for” and “identified sponsor”. The latter definition specifically adds “through various media”.

Although one can inevitably identify the presentation and promotion of ideas, goods and services as a form of salesmanship, it is to be noted that the “paid for” by an “identified sponsor” and “the non-personal” (through an intermediary such as the mass media) factors, clearly distinguish advertising by these definitions form salesmanship and mere information dissemination, that is publicity.

Again following a contest for the best definition of advertising organized in 1932 by the advertising magazine.

ADVERTISING AGE, the following definition emerged from a combination of the best features of all the definition offered
Advertising is the printed, written, spoken or pictured presentation of a person, product, service or movement, openly sponsored by the advertiser and at his expense, for the purpose of influencing sales, use, votes or endorsement.
This expanded the definition certainly contains all the element of the last two, but has the added factors of “objective” that is, for the purpose of influencing pre-determine goals. The definition is given further support by another, which states, “Advertising is a group of activities aiming at and including the dissemination of information in any paid non-personal form, concerning an idea, product or services, to compel action in accordance with the intent of an identifiable sponsor”.

This definition is in accordance with the preceding one but goes further to emphasize that advertising consist of a series of activities. This activities would invariably include
i. Research in the fields of marketing, advertising development and product design:

ii. Long-range or strategic planning of objectives, costs, appropriate message and media:

iii. Short-term or tactical application of such plan;

iv. Actual construction of advertisement, that is, copy writing, art and production; and

v. Post campaign research (also called advertising post-test into the effectiveness of the advertising effort).

The institute of Practitioners of Advertising (IPA) of the United Kingdom says that; Advertising presents the most persuasive selling message to the right prospects for the service at the lowest possible cost.

In Nigeria, the advertising regulatory body, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) in its Code of Advertising Practice defines it as follows; Advertising is a form of communication through the media about products, services or ideas paid for by an identified sponsor.

In the light of the above, the Council therefore defines as advertisement as follows; An advertisement is communication in the media paid for by an identified sponsor and directed at a target audience with the aim of importing information about a product, service, idea or opinion.

Non-marketing persons have also defined advertising as “controlled identifiable persuasion by means of mass communication media”. They claim advertising is controlled because the ‘identifiable’ sponsor who also say when (time) they want their advertisement published or broadcast must approve all advertisement. To them, the use of mass communication media or some intermediaries differentiates advertising from personal selling.

From the foregoing definition are derived the concrete platform for our understanding of the concept; “advertising”. They confirm that advertising involves;
i. The dissemination of information about a specific idea, product or service;
ii. Through appropriate media;
iii. Form an identified sponsor
iv. Who has paid for the communication to reach a target audience;
v. To achieve a desired objective.

It is also derivable form the above definition that to convince the audience to undertake the desired appropriate action, the communication must be persuasive.
Advertising is therefore, hereby rightly defined as, any persuasive form of non-personal dissemination of information about a specific idea, opinion, product or service through an appropriate medium of mass communication, which has been paid for by an identifiable sponsor for the purpose of convincing the audience to undertake a desired action.
It is any persuasive, non-personal and goal-orientated marketing or corporate communication aimed t a largest audience through a paid medium by an identifiable sponsor which could be person or an organization.

The “non-personal” component implies that advertising involves the mass media that can transmit a message to large group of individual, often at the same time. This implies that there is generally no opportunity for immediate feedback from the recipient of the message (except for direct-response advertising). Therefore, before an advertising message is sent, the advertiser must consider how the audience will interpret and respond to it.

The “paid” aspect of advertising reflects the fact that the space or air time for an advertising message has to be bought with exception of public service announcement (PSA) whose space or time is donated by the media
Advertising is, thus, a collective term for public announcement designed to promote the sale of specific ideas, commodities or services. It is a form of mass selling, employed when the use of direct, person-to-person selling is impractical impossible or simply inefficient.

Modern advertising is an integral part of urban industrial civilization, mirroring contemporary life in its best and worst aspects. It is however, to be distinguished from other activities intended to persuade the public to patronize a product or service such as promotion, publicity public relations, personal selling and propaganda.

Sales promotion is generally defined as those marketing activities that provide extra value or incentives to the sales force, the distributors or the ultimate consumer can stimulate immediate sales. It is therefore, any effort by a seller to persuade buyers to accept, recommend, resell or use a product, service or idea in preference to others.
The mass marketing of goods and services with its inherent competition invariably gives rise to promotional activities. Sales promotion is generally in two broad categories – consumer – oriented and trade-oriented activities.

In consumer-oriented sales promotion the target is the ultimate user of a product or service. It consists of such incentives as coupons, sampling premiums, price incentives, contests, raffle tickets and various point-of-purchase material. These are aimed at encouraging consumers to make an immediate purchase and can therefore stimulate short-term sales.

Trade-oriented sales promotion, on the other hand, is targeted towards marketing middlemen – distributors, wholesalers and retailers. The purpose is to encourage the trade to stock and promote the company’s product. Its major tools are promotional and merchandising allowances, price deals, sales, contest trade shows and point-of-purchase display packages.

In promotional management, many organizations are beginning to shift their emphasis from advertising to sales promotion in recent times because of declining brand loyalty, increased customer sensitivity to promotional deals and the growing number and power of retailers who demand more trade promotion support from companies.
It is pertinent here to distinguish between promotional management or simply put, “promotion”, and sales promotion. While sales promotion refers to those activities which provide incentives to customers or the trade to encourage immediate sales, promotional management is much more.

Promotion has been defined as the co-ordination of all seller initiated efforts to set up channels of information and persuasion in order to sell or services or promote an idea. It is an element of marketing by which companies communicate with their customers. It therefore, refers to the various marketing communication activities of an organization which include all promotional-mix element such as advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, publicity, public relations, interactive/internet marketing and personal selling.

Publicity is the specialized effort of presenting to the public, particularistic views in an effort to influence opinion and conduct. It involves making statements that helps bolster the image of a person or an institution
Publicity refers to non-personal communication regarding an organization, product, service or idea not directly paid for or run under identified sponsorship. It may come in the form of a news story, feature article or announcement about an organization and/or its products and services

Like advertising, publicity involves non-personal communication to a mass audience. However, unlike advertising, it is not directly paid for by the organization. The organization influences the media to do a report on or publish a favorable story on its products, services, cause or event in order to affect awareness, knowledge, opinion, and/or behavior. This is usually achieved through the use of news release, press conference, feature articles and films, photographs and videotapes. It is therefore only a tool of public relation but not synonymous to it.

Public relations is defined as a deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between n organization and its various public. It is a function of management, which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an organization or individual with the public interest and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.
Public relations is therefore a social philosophy of management, expressed in policies and practices, which are communicated to the public to secure its understanding and goodwill.

Following from the above, a public relations function is defined as the planned effort to influence and maintain favorable opinion through acceptable performance, honestly presented and with reliance on two-way communication.

Therefore public relations has a broader objective than publicity. But public relations uses publicity in addition to a variety of other tools such as advertising, special publications participation in community activities, fund raising, exhibitions and special events and other related activities to enhance an organization’s image.

Personal selling involves person to person communication in which seller attempts to persuade prospective buyers to patronize the organization’s product or service or to act on an idea.
Unlike advertising and publicity, it involves direct contact between buyer and seller either face to face or through the telephone. The interaction creates room for flexibility in communication; the seller can see or hear the potential buyer and hence can modify the message and answer any questions that may arise.

To propagate means to spread. Just as we spread seeds in a garden and expect them to germinate and yield fruits, so too can we propagate ideas, doctrines, gospels etc. Propaganda according to the dictionary of mass communication is an activity designed to advance a cause through enlightenment, persuasion or a dedicated sense of mission. It is one-sided communication with a view to indoctrinate.

It is biased communication, whether or not it is good. Its content is emotional although it could be embarked upon for positive ends like canvassing support for public hygiene. However, most often, propaganda consists of lies and stunts calculated to work on the emotional rather than the intellectual side of man from hidden source of pressure.
Public opinion is often influence by propaganda. Individual and pressure group through an organized effort to spread a particular doctrine or information often bring about changes in public opinion. Such an effort is usually referred to as propaganda.

The difference between honest persuasion and subversive propaganda is that in honest persuasion you never omit anything relevant nor do you ever distort crucial. In propaganda you always omit or distort something relevant or important.

Pernicious propaganda, which is based on the suppression of the truth distortion, has no place in advertising. Yet, it cannot be denied that advertising seeks to influence the opinion and the attitude of individuals or groups towards a product or services.

Every individuals, company, social service or welfare organization, religion, political party and nation seeks to impress others with its principles and ideals and gain their favorable opinion. Whether this is good propaganda depends upon the merit of the cause, the honesty and completeness of the facts presented and whether the belief or ideals communicated contribute to public welfare.

No word in the English language has changed in meaning as much as the word “propaganda”. In its original sense “propaganda” was an honorable word and a legitimate effort on an organized group to communicate the truth and favorably influence the opinion of others towards a group. However, this conception of propaganda has greatly changed and now propaganda is generally considered as a dishonest, underhanded and misleading effort to influence the opinion of the public.

The word “propaganda” was coined by Pope Gregory XV when in 1622, he set up a Roman Catholic committee which he charged with responsibility for organized persuasion in foreign mission and the training of missionaries. This committee known as Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the propagation of the faith) was established to propagate the Catholic faith during the counter-reformation. At that time, the word “propaganda” has no ill meaning. But during World War II when Germans and the Italians use propaganda to mislead the masses, the word donned on a new toga as something negative. From then on, the word came into use as the “organized spreading of doctrine, true or false information, opinions etc especially to bring about change or reform” (The Chamber Dictionary, New Edition, 2001)

Advertising and Public Relations must be clearly distinguished from propaganda. It is also not to be confused with publicity or sales promotion.
Some critics of advertising and public relations refer to their practitioners as “hidden persuaders” who secretly mould public opinion in favor of certain products, ideas and institutions. They condemn public relations particularly as “the business of the invisible sell” which makes the public the victim of camouflaged propaganda.

These critics, however do not apply to honest communication but to pernicious propaganda, which seeks selfish advantage under the guise of serving the public interest.
Honest advertising is, however, morally sound concerned with facts and ideas, which can be verified, originating from a recognized source and intended to serve the public welfare.

On the second hand, in pernicious propaganda, the following devises may be employed to persuade the public to accept a particular point of view.

(a) Use of glittering generalities or glad names whereby the value ideas, brands or opinions is exaggerated in order to deceive the audience. In this particular situations are identified with broad concepts such as motherhood, mother country, democracy, equality, public interest, freedom, justice and truth, service, role of honor, founding fathers etc.

(b) Transfer device – This is used to carry over the authority sanctions or prestige from something revered and the respected to something the propagandist wants to revered and respected. For example, the humanitarian of Mary Slessor, who fought and won the battle against killing of twins in Calabar, today’s capital of Cross River State, could be used to transfer devise to illustrate, the motives of a social service organization in its efforts to persuade the public to support its activities.

(c) Name-calling device – This simply provides a label having emotional overtones and is designed to raise the subject of the propaganda while lowering the quality (image) of others without mentioning their names, that is, by insinuation. Bad names are applied to whether the propagandist wants the public to reject or condemn without examining the evidence.

(d) Plain folks or Identification device – Subordinating a high official or an important person to play the role of the lower rung of the society to give the impression of identifying with the masses.

(e) Bandwagon device – Using false generalization to persuade the people to comply with the desire to objective. E.g. everybody else is doing it, “what about you?”

(f) Card-stacking device – Using half-truths to convince the audience to toe a particular line of action. Here, only those arguments, which give the best possible case for the propagandist’s ideas are selected and conflicting arguments are ignored.

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