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Advertising is a well-designed means of non-personal communication that contains crucial information that is highly persuasive in nature, about companies, goods, services and ideas that is paid for by identified sponsors via diverse forms media such as TV, Newspapers and internet.
Advertising is a critical part of the society and therefore it is important that when advertises design and come up with advertisements companies should aim to design advertisements that are culturally acceptable and within the ethical and moral guidelines ( Koslow & Costley 2010,166).
There are a numerous aims of advertising but the main aim is to increase revenue streams, the ultimate aim of any organization is to maximize its profitability hence this can only be realized when the advertising increases its sales if it is a commercial organization.
Additionally, advertising also develops visibility of the product and services among the existing consumers and potential consumers, through increasing the awareness of the customers thereby making it easily possible for consumers to adopt the usage of the product being advertised.
Advertising is also paramount to developing the image and reputation of an organization and thus knowing this, copywriters and all those who developing advertisements always aim to arouse positive emotions of their target market ( Dahl, 2004, 12-20).
During the advertisements companies can manipulate messages in such a way that is most suitable for their target audience. The platinum communications case is a clear instance for which advertisers can be critically analyzed and conclusions drawn to determine whether there was a breach of ethical or moral standards in their part.
Advertisements usually aim to educate, inform, remind and persuade consumers or an audience to do something and thus if advertisers are not careful in designing and customizing their messages then companies which are directly linked to the advertisements may have their reputations damaged and this could prove injurious to their commercial goals (Reese 2000, 36).
Advertising regulatory bodies are institutions which are formed by concerned parties in various advertising industries so that advertisement activities can be easily monitored. Additionally, regulatory bodies often are involved in creating a legal and ethical framework upon which participants of the advertising industry can operate within.
An advertisement is hence likely to meet its objectives only if it is within the culturally set bounds of the target audience. If an advertisement appears to be somewhat disrespectful to the culture of a particular target market then the outcome of this set of consumers will most likely be hostile (Wang 2005, 66-69).
Platinum communications case situation
Platinum communications have been forced to withdraw their advertisement and to appear in front of the advertising standards bureau in connection to its telecommunications advertisement, which appeared on radio urging motorists to drive safely by using their phones responsibly while driving in order to avoid accidents.
The advertisement has been accused to contain a violent manage and unsuitable derogatory language and therefore suitable for public transmission.
Instead of the advertisement achieving its goals of encouraging more responsible road usage the company has been accused of creating an advertisement that encourages road rage amongst motorists, and many stakeholders have argued that there are much better ways of advocating for better road usage through the use of hands-free devices.
Culture and Advertising
Messages that are contained in advertisements must be in harmony with the targeted audiences culturally-bound experiences of this target audience, this is because once and advertisement is aired consumers will engage themselves and will only accept that which is culturally acceptable and treat that which is not culturally acceptable with hostility values and beliefs.
Smith (2005, 65-72) uses the term the participatory consumer who is part of the target audience of the advertisement often concentrate and may many times enter into a rational trance with an aim of critically understanding the main message of the advertisement, this fact enables the consumer to treat advertisement as a dialogue between them and the advertiser.
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It is after logically analyzing the advertisement the consumers will therefore decide whether the advertisement is either good or bad for them (Munro 2001, 122-141). Thus the outcome of this process of being a participatory consumer will often guide consumer behavior and thus define the attitude and perceptions of these consumers.
Knowing this then the language that is used in advertising is subject to alteration and adaptation, depending on the culture of the target audience, target groups being addressed and other relevant considerations. This fact may often force marketers to retract from a mass orientation approach of advertising depending on the situation to a more fragmented approach that is suitable for target marketing.
It is, therefore vital that advertisers try and build a relationship with consumers because it they fail then it is almost impossible to connect with consumers and it hence becomes impossible to initiate favorable actions from the consumers. The language of Radio advertisement that was used by platinum communication was considered harsh and hostile simply because it contained obscenities to pass across its message.
When coming up with language for advertisements several characteristics are to be incorporated into the message by choosing the most suitable and preferred language by selection of vocabulary that respects the culture of the target market (Smith 2005, 45-59).
The language of advertising is the most important factor that contributes to the accomplishment of the ad as it gives the advertisers the will to move to action. The case of platinum communication is, therefore, a good example of a good message that was delivered using the wrong language thus making it the advertisement itself a flop. Hence the advert had less persuasive power and was forcefully withdrawn from the air.
Advertisers must, therefore, understand the nature of consumer engagement incorporate this into the design of advertisements because advertisement also play a big role in the overall product experience that a consumer actually experiences(Munro 2001, 22-31).
With this in mind, therefore, if an advertisement has a poor language delivery then consumers are most likely to view the product in an unfavorable manner and may even end up avoiding it.
It is therefore justified to conclude that the radio advertisement done by Platinum communication was not in harmony with the cultural background of its target market even though the company did not breach the Advertisers Code of Ethics section 2.5.
The targeted audience seems to be a society that is more conservative sand, therefore, would expect the messages that were used in that advertisement to be quit respectful and decent.
The community around Newcastle generally associates obscenities with violence and this is therefore why they were able to misinterpret the intentions of this radio advertisement as an advertisement which encourages road rage among motorists who are road users.
Although the advertiser strongly denies ever using any abusive or derogatory language it is important to know what is culturally acceptable in one country or region may be a taboo to another region.
Therefore it is the duty of marketers to carefully use their skills and conduct trials that will assist them to understand the code of ethical responsibility that is attached to particular target audiences before embarking on creating advertisements, because in some cases globalizing advertisements can be dangerous and thus using a logical approach may have better results (Munro 2001, 90-100; Duke University Libraries digital collections 2008).
Economic assumptions and advertising
Consumers often have their economic expectations which are attached to advertisements and therefore, the targeted audience may often expect advertisements that advertise various products.
Consumers expect advertisements to raising the standard of living by empowering their decision-making process, increasing consumer satisfaction by making them aware of which products are most likely to satisfy them most following adoption, introducing economies of scale through increased sales, efficiently distributing product information and creating elastic demand lowering prices and stimulating product innovation (Solomon 1994, 56).
Supporters of advertising argue that in economies should display several distinctiveness of complimentary market.
Advertising should contributes to higher principles of living; enlarged buyer fulfillment; inferior prices; amplified economies of scale for manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers; efficient group distribution of product information to assist in consumer evaluation of the products to help them choose what suits him/ her; and product modernization.
Thus, advertising benefits the public and individuals because their needs and wants are met more efficiently and standards of living improved.
One of the economic functions of advertisement is to enlarge market share and inform clients about the new products. In the absence advertisement, the consumer would not be able to know about the products that are readily available in the market additionally, retailers and wholesalers would not be able to effectively move their inventories.
Millions of individuals worldwide view and process numerous commercials on Radios, TV and newspaper published advertisements or billboards. Various businesses, alongside the government, apply advertising as a way to support their products and services.
Advertisements are therefore responsible for reaching out to various individuals and persuade them to purchase certain products by altering their perceptions and attitudes thus enabling businessmen to have more control over the sales patterns throughout a business cycle (Ryan, 2004, 73; Reese 2000, 10).
The principle behind advertising is to advertise products in such a way that the end result is that a targeted viewer will purchase the product after being exposed to the advertisement. The product manufacturers often have to illustrate descriptions of the supreme status of life; attractive women, well-built men, excellent time and no uncertainties.
The utilization of sex appeal and extra strategies to attract buyers into investing in their products despite the fact that they wish to be something they are not. By using such techniques, then an advertisement is able to achieve its economic value by efficiently distributing product information about the product.
It is also appropriate that when various techniques are used to effectively disburse such information it is usually done within the cultural context of a given audience in order to gain acceptability.
Hence since Platinum communication used the wrong means to design their products, then it is reasonable to conclude that the since platinum communication used an inappropriate process of dispersing information to its target audience then the advertisement ultimately failed from achieving any economic goals/value.
Consumers and various target audiences usually expect that advertisements will end up increasing the level of consumer satisfaction. Advertisement campaigns often force the community to either directly or indirectly force the targeted audience to buy the products due to the premise that the product will cater to the needs and desires of this audience.
Advertising dictates the level of satisfaction and utility by simply altering the perceptions and attitudes of those who watch these advertisements. Advertising, therefore, could contribute to the pleasant stereotyping of certain groups of products which a company is selling by depicting them as products that will cause a high level of utility after they are purchased (Solomon 1994, 181-186).
But in contrary unethical means of advertising may trick consumers into purchasing products on the premise of satisfaction. Hence this is why various advertisement industry participants usually come together and form a board or a regulatory body that will oversee that consumers are not exploited by malicious advertisers who trick them into purchasing their products (Ryan, 2004 121-133).
Thus in some instances, advertising can be unattractive and inconsistent with ethical principles and in such a case consumers may not realize the economic value behind the assumption that advertisements are supposed to enhance the level of satisfaction which consumers experience when they purchase certain products.
Advertising, on the other hand, can cultivate a fulsome lifestyle that squanders resources and thus, no utility or satisfaction will be realized by the targeted audience once they acquire products which were previously advertised.
When advertising reduces human improvement and satisfaction, after acquiring material goods and cultivating a particular message and lifestyle through various media then the advertisement will be considered to contain falsified destructive messages that are dangerous and in appropriate for the society (Arens, Weigold & Arens 2011, 237).
When advertisers fall short to follow a precise value for the moral, cultural and spiritual necessities, based on the self-respect of the individual and on the appropriate characteristics of each community and represent distorted facts about a product with an aim of luring consumers into purchasing their products that this can be considered as unethical and in breach of advertisement codes of conduct.
Advertising has become more influential in our society; its exposure through radio, television, print and billboards advertisements has turned out to be a main influence in people’s purchases. Many individuals look up to advertisements so that they can form a basis under which they can justify their purchase decisions.
Poorly designed advertisements Instead of receiving extra attraction from the consumer, have ended up irritating and the targeted audiences as was the case whereby the use of a culturally an acceptable language led to the rejection of Platinum communications advertisement which was meant for promoting use of safe road usage (Solomon 1994, 74-78).
The poor planning and execution of the advertisement ended up sending the wrong message and disrupting the goals by the advertiser platinum communications. Additionally, the perceptions and attitude of the targeted audience soon went sour as soon as the advertisement went on air thus requiring it to be withdrawn.
Considering advertisements’ societal major influence, it is necessary that the media regularly analyze and appraise the actions of advertisers to incorporate both aspects of globalization and localization which will thus enable them effectively use a mass-market approach or a fragmented market approach to more effectively advertise products.
Advertisers should, therefore critically research on the culture of the targeted audience before making advertisements in order to avoid irritating consumers.
Rather that arguing that their practices are legal or within guidelines, it is i9mportant to go a step further and incorporate culturally accepted practices in making advertisements. In addition, regulatory bodies should be vigilant look for ways to control and dictate guidelines to the advertising industry and any other means of communication.
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