The Disadvantages of Advertising
Is advertising a good thing or a bad thing? Here are some common criticisms of advertising.
One strong objection to advertising is that it is a costly function. The high cost of advertising is covered by increasing the selling price of the advertised goods. Advertisement is an indirect cost which is added into distribution expenses. When expenses increase, the selling price of the products will also increase. Advertising is a significant part of cost; large advertisers spend thousand of Rupees a week for advertising. One study found that advertising cost exceeded 6% of sales. Advertising means that consumers will have to pay higher prices for advertised products. But if the goods are not advertised, the cost of advertising cannot become a burden on the consumer. Because unbalanced advertising causes certain goods to cost the consumers more than they should, it is an economic waste.
- Misleading claims
Some advertisers cleverly create misleading impressions of their goods. They present a very rosy picture of their products to consumers with the object of increasing their sales.
- Encouragement of monopoly
Advertisement restricts competition among the products. Big industrialists and manufacturers can use advertising to increase their monopolistic control over the market, control that is always against the public interest.
- High prices
It is undoubtedly true that effective advertising increase the sales volume. This increased sale will require more products. Thus the large scale production brings down the cost of goods per unit due to economies in various sectors which reduces the consumes selling prices. But the producers do not lower the prices and the burden of advertising remains on the shoulders of consumers.
- Restricted access by small business
Small firms cannot properly advertise their products due to limited resources. On the other hand, the entire market for many goods and services is almost dictated by large advertisers. It becomes impossible for small firms to continue their business in fields like this, so small firms disappear form the market.
- Misdirection of purchasing power
The advertising of high-priced luxury goods influences the purchasing power of consumers. So some people use unscrupulous means to increase their income for the purpose of getting things they perceive as necessities of life. Thus unnecessary advertising creates corruption in the society.
- Distractions caused by advertising
Hoardings (billboards), posters and electronic moving pictures are placed around important intersections, distracting drivers. Glaring red neon lights have actually been hazards at certain crossroads.
- Unfulfilled desire
Another objection is that advertising influences the mind of public, creating the desire and taste for new products that are not actually necessities of life and that the income of consumers will not let them enjoy. Advertising may thus be regarded as the cause of unrequited desire which may result in unhappiness.
- Promotion of social evils
Some firms support immoral and sensational programs and crime stories in television and radio, by choosing them as vehicles for their advertising. These programs corrupt the values of young people, promoting social evils.
- Confusion about characteristics of products
Numerous similar types of products are advertised in the market. But producers lay great emphasis on minor differences in the formula or technique of advertised goods. For example. there are many brands of advertised shaving creams which perform the same function. Due to all the misinformation and irrelevant information disseminated by advertising, it has become impossible for the average buyer to judge with any certainly the quality of the hundreds of articles he buys.
Miscellaneous Objections to Advertising
(a) Advertising introduces Inferior quality goods into the market to deceive consumers.
(b) A new firm having limited resources cannot compete with already established big firms who have the help of massive advertising.
(c) A large firm can divert demand from one product to another with the help of advertising.
(d) Consumer choice is greatly injured by misleading claims made in advertising
(e) As advertising is a comparatively new art, some advertising is ineffective and thus less efficient than it could be.