It is a form of mass communication, a powerful marketing tool, a component of the economic system, a means of financing the mass media, a social institution, an art form, an instrument of business management, a field of employment and a profession.
In India the advertising business is growing at the rate of 30% to 35% annually. The total advertising expenditure in India is about $5 Billion. It is a 1200 crore industry, even when billings are Rs. 8000 plus crores. It is 90% of India’s GDP.
Today we see our senses bombarded with lots of advertisements. Be it the newspapers, magazines, the television or even so many hoardings which line up any street or highway, there are lot of advertisements to be seen. In fact the quantity and the quality both are increasing day by day. It has become an important tool at the hands of the marketers to sell their products. Some advertisements are criticized for being false, misleading, and deceptive and for concealing information. Advertisements can also manipulate the consumer to go in for unnecessary buying spree. So it is important to understand what advertising is all about.
Now, let us say that a firm has developed a product, which will satisfy the market demand. So essentially he has to reach out to the public or to his target market and inform them about his product. For optimum exposure he has to make sure that he reaches out to the maximum number of people. So mass communication would be the best way to reach out to the people hence the medium of advertisements to reach out to the masses. It should be however understood that advertising itself couldn’t sell the product it merely assists in the selling process. Advertising also cannot rejuvenate or restore a poor product it only helps in the selling process through the means of communication.
Matrimonial advertisements, recruitment advertisements, tenders, classified advertisements, notice, public announcements are also examples of advertisements.
Basically you must understand that advertising is an announcement to the public of a product, service or idea through a medium to which the public has access. The medium may be print (newspapers, magazines, posters, banners and hoardings), electronic (radio, television, video, cable, phone, internet) or any other. An advertisement is usually paid for by an advertiser at rates fixed or negotiated with the media.
The American Marketing Association, Chicago, defines advertising as
“any paid form of non personal presentation of ideas, goods and services by an identified sponsor.”
So a form could be a presentation. It may be sign, a symbol, an illustration, an ad message in a magazine or newspaper, a commercial on the radio or on television, a circular dispatched through the mail or a pamphlet handed out at a street corner; a sketch or message on a billboard or a poster or a banner on the Net.
Non-personal would mean that it is not on a person-to-person basis.
Goods, Services, Ideas for action would mean making a consumer’s work easy in knowing about the product of the firm. It could be a television, or a banking service or filing your tax returns, which the firm or the marketer wants the consumer to know about. An idea could also be political parties letting the people know about their party and why they should vote for their party. Adult education, beware of AIDS, donate your eyes are but a few examples of ideas.
Paid by an identified sponsor would imply that the sponsor has control over the form, content and scheduling of the advertisements. The sponsor could be identified by the company name or the brand of the particular product.