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The Hidden Benefits Of Advertising Essay

992 words - 4 pages

The United States annually spends over 300 billion dollars in advertising. The money is spent by business firms to promote their products and services and by political and nonpolitical groups to raise awareness on different issues. If over 300 billion dollars is spent annually on advertising, then people must be strongly affected by ads, otherwise, groups would not spend such a large sum on advertisements. Then, the question at hand is how are people affected by advertising? Vitriolic detractors of ads assert that advertisements are a malignant tumor of modern-society, whereas proponents of advertising counter that promotions are the backbone of society. While it is true that advertisements can have some negative consequences, critics rarely mention the multitude of benefits received from advertising. Advertising has helped the building of economies, countries, and our modern-day culture; without advertisements, civilization never would have advanced from the pre-agricultural communities that once dominated the planet. Therefore, I believe the positive effects of advertising are one of the major factors in the advancement of humanity.
The purpose of advertising is often confused with the effect of advertising. Advertising is a technique used by companies to persuade consumers to buy a certain product or service. Companies use advertising because advertisements have “enormous power and economic value” (Shaw). Ads are the easiest way to distribute information at a massive scale and companies are aware of that. With just one well-designed advertisement, millions of consumers will know about the product or service being advertised. The economic value behind advertising is that it is considerably cheaper to create one spectacular ad and put the ad where a myriad of people will see it than for companies to rely on people visiting their establishments and assuming that information about the product or service will spread by word of mouth. Advertising has helped industry grow, because advertising creates demand for products and services. Without advertisements, people would only know of the few businesses and few products and services near them, which would result in no competition for companies. Then monopolies would be created in the industries, and the situation would be bleak for consumers. On the other hand, advertising’s ability to disperse information is a double-edged sword. Advertising can “reinforce racial, cultural, and sexual stereotypes” (Day), but “advertising is… [also] teaching” (Culpa). While it is true that advertisements can endorse products and behaviors that are harmful, as many counter-ads condone the actions of the aforementioned ads (the cigarette industry is a prime example of a balance between positive and negative ads). Along with the counter-ads, there are also ads encouraging positive ideas, such as blood donations. The American Red Cross for example, has an advertisement to persuade people to donate blood, which is a...

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