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In the contemporary world, advertising is one of the most lucrative businesses. Big and small businesses can hardly thrive without promoting their products and services. The world is currently in the age where the majority of the population has access to information. Globalization and advancements in technology have resulted in increased use of media advertising to popularize products or share essential information with society. The Internet and mobile phones are used as the primary tools for communication and means of advertising (Andriopoulos and Slater 400).
In a business setting, marketers must identify the target market for their products and services to determine an efficient method of promotion (Nestle 23). Advertising is the most common way of product and service promotion that many businesses apply. Traditional methods of advertising were ineffective due to a small number of mediums. Also, advertising was highly regulated to ensure that companies did not send wrong messages or reached unintended audiences. Nestle argues that excessive control was meant to protect children from misleading promotions (32).
Today, most consumer product businesses do not have a particular target market. Consumable goods like food, drinks, clothing, and other domestic products are suitable for all people irrespective of their age. Therefore, there are no parental control and strict policies that advertisers should observe. Most effective advertisements trigger impulsive buying in the target customers. Image designers ensure that they use appealing graphics to attract viewers’ attention. The audio advertisements comprise convincing words that influence the listener to buy the product or service. Unfortunately, advertisings hardly communicate the truth about goods and services because they are intended to create awareness and market share (Dugan and Kellaris 250).
American society is believed to be the most informed about products and services. In the United States, the majority of firms have healthy business-to-customer relationships. The creation of good customer relationships is the most efficient competitive edge for any business. The United States is the world’s most vocal promoter of capitalism. Consequently, numerous entrepreneurship opportunities in the country have led to increased competition in the business environment. On the other hand, the population has suffered from the effects of capitalism, leading to increased consumerism. Psychologists refer to consumerism as an uncontrollable habit of increased purchasing by the consumers, resulting in the overreliance on purchased products.
Today, large business organizations have invested heavily in the most advanced marketing techniques due to social and technological advancements. In the United States, companies use various methods that include online marketing, advertising, promotions, and sponsorships. Online marketing is the most advanced promotional process in the modern world. Marketing is done by running advertisements on social media and websites. Many businesses prefer online marketing because of its ability to reach a large population within a short period. Moreover, the method is preferable for consumer products such as fast foods.
Advertising is the oldest marketing technique. It is done via various methods such as print media and billboards. Print media is the most preferred method because it reaches a large population of the target market. However, in American society, television advertising has been the most valuable marketing method for many businesses. Social analysts have learned that most people watch television during night hours when they are at home. On the other hand, advertising companies ensure that advertisements run at night to reach a broad audience.
Promotion and sponsorship are common marketing techniques for many businesses. New businesses experience difficulties in trying to build a market share. The product promotion method is the most suitable for startup firms that wish to build their market shares. Promotional methods such as shows and exhibitions facilitate interaction between business and potential clients. Customers get an opportunity to view the products and access all the relevant information they need from the firm. On the other hand, sponsorship is suitable for established businesses. American companies are aggressive in sponsoring events and activities. Sports events are the most lucrative for big business. Social developments such as education and health offer excellent opportunities for businesses. In the United States, many public schools operate under corporate sponsorship. Companies sponsor the education sector by purchasing books, sports equipment, and apparel, and providing food and drinks to the students. On the other hand, school administrations offer spaces for the business to establish canteens within the learning facilities. Fast food companies are the most common sponsors in the education sector. Critics argue that their intention is to lure students and young children into purchasing their products.
Effects of Advertising on Children
There are both active and adverse effects of advertising on children. Advertising is quite influential on children. Psychologists argue that advertising does not mislead the majority of adults quickly. However, it plays a significant role in influencing young children through the use of graphics. Children have no understanding of the health effect of some products. Therefore, they are attracted to the tastes or physical appearance of the products. Businesses that target young children understand the psychological weaknesses of their customers and make sure that products have appealing flavors. Moreover, they ensure that the advertisements use attractive graphics with the capacity to draw young children to the business’ products (Witkowski and Jones 400).
Fast food companies are criticized for luring children from purchasing their products by taking advantage of their psychological weaknesses. Kids are susceptible to impulse buying due to the influence of advertising. In today’s world, there are numerous chain stores in the majority of American cities and towns. The increase in the number of chain stores has resulted in increased consumerism. Businesses that market consumer products make sure that they have spaces in the chain stores to attract huge customer traffic.
In the past, parents could take their children to parks, zoos, and other social places during their free time. In the modern world, the majority of parents take their kids to chain stores for leisure. Marketers have taken advantage of the new trend by setting up stands that display products in places where children are taken for recreation. Kids get attracted to the products forcing their parents to purchase them.
Education support by fast food companies has adverse effects on children. The firms are blamed for misleading children by establishing cafeterias within the learning environments. Young children have no dietary control, and therefore they consume products unconscious of their health effects. Some businesses are criticized for interfering with the curriculum by offering textbooks that do not teach about the adverse effects of unhealthy eating habits. Additionally, education support is blamed for capriciousness in the society where school administrators allow businesses to expose children to fast food products. The marketing technique deters children from accessing knowledge about the health effects of fast foods (Mowla et al. 300).
How Kids Process Advertisements
As aforementioned, children are vulnerable to information and graphics that are contained in the advertising. The advertising relayed via televisions has greater impacts on children than any other form of marketing technique. The studies show that television is the most preferred mode of entertainment among kids. Additionally, children are believed to be attracted to television programs and think that the information they relay is correct. Therefore, they perceive advertisements run on tv as authentic.
Andriopoulos and Slater claim that children believe that their parents can buy them anything despite the price (404). Advertising companies take advantage of this perception to influence parents to purchase products for their kids. Most adverts that target kids feature children. Whenever children see others with something that looks pleasant, they admire the products and demand that their parents purchase the same for them. Wealthy parents buy almost anything that a child finds amusing. Also, advertisements contain graphics that draw children’s attention. Advertising companies ensure that images use attractive colors to lure viewers into believing that they are real. Unfortunately, young children are not capable of distinguishing reality from idealism. Therefore, they tend to think that parents should provide them with the lifestyle, which they see their peers enjoying in the advertisements (Andriopoulos and Slater 404).
Health-Related Illnesses Linked to Advertising
The advertising companies are blamed for increased nutrition-related diseases that affect children. Fast food businesses are the major education supporters in some states in the United States. School sponsors expose children to unhealthy eating habits by using attractive advertising techniques to promote fast food. On the other hand, the presence of fast food joints in most social places and promotion of the products on television leads to children liking the products. Advertising triggers desire in young children who, in return, force their parents to purchase junky foods. Children’s perception of advertisements as authentic has led to them overindulging in the consumption of fast foods. The foods have excess fats and sugars that pose the risk of cardiovascular and diabetic illnesses. According to a health survey, America has the highest number of obese children in the world as a result of the increased consumption of fast foods in society (Baines and O’Shaughnessy 7).
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Regulating Marketing Practice
The United States has stringent policies that govern marketing practices. The law requires businesses to observe ethics as a guiding principle in marketing. However, no law limits consumption in the United States. Therefore, companies have taken advantage of increased consumerism to produce fast foods and use advertising to boost their consumption. The government should come up with policies that regulate the use of images and words, particularly in promoting junk food. On the other hand, businesses should uphold ethical practices and promote healthy products more than they have been doing on products that pose health-related risks to children.
In the contemporary world, globalization and technological advancements constitute a significant threat to the regulation of marketing practice. Large businesses have expanded operations beyond their native countries, making it difficult to regulate their marketing practices. The increased access to information through the internet and social media has led to augmented social developments in the entire world. Consequently, there is rapid cultural degradation, coming as a result of social growth and globalization. Efforts to contain marketing practices by global businesses should be made on a worldwide basis since the internet allows people to access information that is not restricted to some areas (Baines and O’Shaughnessy 9).
The United States government seems reluctant to impose harsh policies that would reduce the production of products that pose health risks to society. Numerous studies show that fast foods are a source of obesity and cardiovascular diseases and recommend the prohibition of some sugary products. The government should discourage the production of goods with excess sugar by prohibiting their advertising and promotion. Imposing firm regulation will help to reduce the production of unhealthy products and mitigate their effects on children (Reisch et al. 14).
Limiting the Effects of Advertising
Scholars argue that the federal government should ban the promotion of fast food business in the learning environments to prevent children from indulging in unhealthy eating habits. Moreover, fast food advertising should not feature kids to reduce their influence on young children. The advertising companies should be advised not to include fast food advertisements in children’s programs. On the other hand, parents should train their children to distinguish between authentic and misleading advertising at a tender age to ensure that they do not hoodwink them.
Even though advertising has been in existence for an extended period, it did not have adverse effects on society until the late twentieth century. In the past advertising was based on facts and experience and companies did not use false information to gain a competitive edge. The government should regulate advertising by ensuring that advertisements are evaluated before they are released to the public. Such a practice would help to reduce the effects of false ads that deceive the targeted customers.
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Baines, Paul, and Nicholas O’Shaughnessy. “Political Marketing and Propaganda: Uses, Abuses, Misuses.” Journal of Political Marketing, vol. 13, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1-18.
Dugan, Riley, and James Kellaris. “How Marketing Academics View A-Level Journals: Psychological Insights into Differences Between Published and Striving Authors.” Marketing Education Review, vol. 25, no. 3, 2015, pp. 245-258.
Reisch, Lucia, et al. “Experimental Evidence on the Impact of Food Advertising on Children’s Knowledge about and Preferences for Healthful Food.” Journal of Obesity, vol. 13, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1-13.
Mowla, Mohammad, et al. “Impact of Television Commercials on Children’s Attitudes in Bangladesh: An Empirical Study.” Journal of Academic Research in Economics, vol. 5, no. 2, 2013, pp. 290-306.
Nestle, Marion. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, University of California Press, 2013.
Witkowski, Terrence, and Brian Jones. “Historical Research in Marketing: Literature, Knowledge, and Disciplinary Status.” Information & Culture, vol. 51, no. 3, 2016, pp. 399-418.