Esther Thorson

in Communication

ISBN: 9780199756841
Published online February 2011 | | DOI:

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Advertising is defined as paid communication from an identified sponsor using mass media to persuade an audience. There are many ways to promote ideas, brands, politicians, or issues, but advertising involves mostly professionally designed commercials (this word implies video) or advertisements (this word implies print or online display advertising). Mass media, such as television, radio, newspapers, and magazines, are paid to carry those messages to their audiences. Advertisements can also occur via the Internet, and this medium can be more “individualized” than the mass media (for example, email advertising is designed and delivered very specifically). Additionally, a new form of advertising created by ordinary people (“user generated” advertising), rather than by professionals, is now recognized. But in spite of these current variations in messages that are referred to as advertising—a phenomenon caused mainly by the digital revolution—the definition above is generally accepted. Advertising is distinguished from other promotional tools, such as marketing and public relations. Marketing refers to everything that is done to promote a brand: for example, creating the product, pricing it, placing it where it can be purchased, and promoting it. Advertising is a subcategory of marketing. Public relations is usually defined as management activities carried out to enhance the relationships between a company and its stakeholders. Although public relations uses messages, such as press releases to the media, it generally does not involve paid professional messages carried by the media. Sales promotions are incentives that organizations use to temporarily change the perceived value of a brand or idea. Coupons, contests, rewards, and price discounts are all forms of sales promotions. They may be targeted toward consumers or toward retail organizations. Likewise, personal selling is another promotional tool. In general, then, advertising is a subcategory of marketing, and it is one of four categories of persuasive tools. Advertising varies in many ways beyond the media that carry it (for example, television commercials, newspaper advertisements). For example, political advertising promotes candidates for office. Issue advertising promotes ideas from the public service domain (such as forest fire prevention or crime prevention), health advertising promotes behaviors that increase healthiness (such as promotion of vaccines, admonishments to engage in safe sex and to quit smoking), children’s advertising promotes directly to the young, and corporate advertising promotes the viewpoints of companies (for example, that corporations are environmentally responsible, or that they regret product failures or accidents).

Article.  10107 words. 

Subjects: Communication Studies

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