Propaganda and advertising have many similarities. Both rely on mass media in order to be effective and are typically utilized to control behavioral patterns of others. However, while propaganda may serve different purposes, such as promoting various political and religious goals, advertising has only one purpose in mind – to increase sales. As such, advertising could be considered a subdivision of propaganda.
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For a hypothetical scenario, we could take an advertising campaign for chewing gum. Chewing gums are typically sold in convenience stores, where they are usually found next to the cashier’s stand. All chewing gums are placed together, meaning a direct competition between various brands. As it stands, the most popular brands are Dirol, Stimorol, and various types of Wrigley’s chewing gums, such as Doublemint. A new brand of chewing gum, if placed next to these giants, would not stand a chance, even if its qualities were similar or even above the norm. The majority of customers are going to buy familiar brands and avoid unusual or new gums unless something catches their attention, or the price is significantly low.
In order to even the playing field, a strong advertising campaign is necessary. In order to be successful and reach out large numbers of potential customers, it has to utilize all available media outlets, such as TV, Radio, visual advertisements, and internet social media. The end goal is to solidify the brand in the subconscious mind of the buyers, in order for it to be able to compete with other brands.
One of the simplest and most widespread propaganda methods to be used in advertising is repetition. Dr. Joseph Goebbels, who is heralded as the father of modern propaganda, used to say that a lie repeated 1000 times becomes the truth. In advertiser language, that transforms into a saying that even bad advertising is still beneficial in the long run. Exposing potential customers to all manners of advertising on a regular basis would make them more familiar with the brand.
Another effective propaganda technique is the use of loaded language in order to promote claims associated with the brand. Many gums use words like “Ultra-fresh,” “Double-mint,” and “Arctic Breeze” in order to sell themselves. However, these words have been overused to the point nobody pays attention to them anymore. Our brand of chewing gum can advertise through other means. The selling point would not emphasize its taste, as by now everybody knows that most gums taste the same. Using a different set of slogans like “Comfortable, stylish wrapper,” “The gum for cool people,” and similar techniques might attract attention due to being alluring and unique at the same time.
Lastly, in order to reinforce the slogans, the advertising campaign can use associative projection techniques in order to solidify the relationship between the gum and perceived status of using it. Having successful people, movie stars, sportsmen, and other noteworthy personas advertise the gum as their brand of choice would make customers think they would also be successful if they emulate consumer habits of these people. This kind of advertising solicits an emotional response, meaning that any claims used in advertisements would be viewed as more credible.
The design of the gum package should correspond to the goals mentioned above. To stand out, the gum would have a dark mated wrapper with etched letters and stripes of contrasting color, such as blue, green, red, yellow, or orange. Such a wrapper would look more expensive and attractive compared to the majority of the brands, and resonate well with the advertising techniques chosen above.