Advertising definition


Is essentially an attempt to change consumer behaviour. Research has established that change is more likely when advertisements contain attractive images and have an element of expert authority. The field of advertising is littered with claims and counter-claims concerning the role of psychology, but two fairly reliable findings are:

• messages linked with good feelings are more likely to be effective (e.g. drink this and you too will be happy and relaxed)
• appeals to fear can be effective, but only if the recipient of the message is given the chance to avoid it. The anti-drink-driving messages every Christmas are a case in point.

The discovery of subliminal perception added a new dimension to the subtleties of advertising. Advertisers were able to present adverts on cinema screens for very brief exposures (only about 1/3000th of a second). At this exposure duration , the message (such as ‘Drink Coca-Cola’) was below the threshold for visual perception. Arguments about the effectiveness or otherwise of subliminal advertising are largely academic, as it is banned both in this country and the USA.


The effectiveness of political advertising in the media. Recall is greater when participants read the message than if they watch it on television, and is least when they listen to it on the radio (Gunter et al, 1986)


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