Advertising Intro

Advertising Intro - Media@SISCauseway Bay


Advertising is the creation of messages in a number of forms and genres which seek to elicit a response from a mass or more specific audience.


1. It's a massive industry. The UK advertising industry in 2007 was worth 19 billion pounds.

2. It is everywhere. On your phone, on your t-shirt, on your tv, on the back of the bus seat, on billboards, in your magazine, in your head...


3. Possibly, it creates or supports IDEOLOGIES to which we subscribe, consciously or not. An example - advertising is often blamed for the creation of unreal female (and male) role models which has led to an increase in cases of anorexia and bulimia. Remember this ad in Causeway Bay? It caused a lot of controversy. Do you know why?


4. It pays for nearly everything in the media. Take 'Friends' as an example. Sponsored by a wine company, the show was essentially designed to attract a young, affluent audience (which psychographic and demographic profile would they fit?) so that they could be exposed to the adverts in the middle of the show. The ADS are the important part, not the SHOW! Your magazine? The cover price is not enough to pay for production and distribution. The advertising is what pays for it to be made. Who pays for the internet? Why is so much stuff free (youtube? FAcebook? Myspace?) Advertising pays for it all! Sporting events? Pop concerts? The News? Without advertising, these things would not happen. No Olympics, no World Cup, no Live Earth, no Miley Cyrus, no Ross and Rachel or Chandler and Monica, no Facebook, no Fox News...


In many ways, advertising is the single most important function of the Media becasue, without it, nothing else will happen.

5. This means that advertisers have a great deal of control over what is broadcast. It was common in the fifties and sixties, for example, for advertisers to censor what was shown in dramas or sitcoms they sponsored if they thought it was unsuitable. Advertisers, for example, have a lot of influence about what is published in your magazine.

A less harmful (possibly) example is PRODUCT PLACEMENT. If you've seen Will Smith in I, Robot, I bet you know what brand of shoes he likes. Can you guess who paid for much of the film to be made? Lots of other products jammed in there, too; have a look...

Do you know what type of laptop Carrie uses in Sex and the City? What type of car James Bond drives? What type of computer / mp3 player Wall-E likes? It's not a coincidence!

6. It's often very controversial. Not just for the often shocking tactics advertisers use to get our attention (there is actually a form of advertising called SHOCK ADVERTISING) but also for the effect it may have on society and for the space it takes up. Take schools as an example. Surely, we go there to learn, not to be sold stuff? In the USA, it is becoming increasingly common for schools to have sports fields and courts sponsored by large firms and emblazoned with their logos; for school and sports uniforms to be donated and branded by clothing firms; for musical equipment to be branded by music companies; for schools to contain outlets of fast food franchises (even in the ESF, many people disagree with the soft drink machines which are in most of the secondary schools). There are even TV channels which offer free educational programming to schools on the condition that students are made to watch a certain amount of advertising content every day or week. Several people also object to the amount of public space which is taken up by advertising (see image of Causeway Bay at the top of the page!)

7. A lot of the world's biggest or best-known companies are essentially marketing / advertising companies. What do Levi's actually MAKE? Adidas? Equally, a lot of companies depend way more on image (thus advertising) and persona / brand identity than on their products (because, let's face it, the product of one company is much the same as the product of a similar type of company.) Do you prefer Macs or PCs? Ipods or Creative mp3 players? Or the infinitely cheaper no-name varieties from Wanchai Computer centre? Why? Do you really possess the technical knowledge to understand the difference between a MAc and a PC beyond their appearance and superficial differences in their operating systems? Could it be that we perceive one (Macs, probably - they're aggressively targeted at young people like you and 'cool' people like me :-) ) as being 'cooler' than the other?

Mac PC




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