Advertising has always played an important role in our society. Over the years our society has evolved as has its ads. It started in the early 1700’s with the first commercial newspaper ad and was quickly followed up by the first recruitment ad in 1776. Soon the first billboard was a fact and with that came the first advertising agency.
Shortly after advertising became more and more a part of our society, came the first television ad in 1941. From then on advertising agencies did research with focus groups and questionnaires which gave marketing a more scientific approach by using proven methods and running tests to improve those methods.
Nowadays, tons of digital media channels have joined the advertising network. Providing the advertisers with countless opportunities to specifically target certain profiles based on information gathered by social networks and search engines.
This abundance of advertisements has caused society to behave differently. New consumers take a different perspective. They are using adblockers or other methods to avoid ads as much as possible. Although most people don’t like to be interrupted by advertisements they do play a bigger role in our lives than you might think.
Not just the advertising channels have changed over the years. In addition the content of ads has evolved as well. Marketeers have more knowledge on the preferences of their audience, enabling them to tailor advertisements to the specific context of every potential buyer. Some people feel like this invades their privacy and it certainly needs more regulation and transparency.
Next to the negative connotation advertising has also had positive influences on our society. Without a lot of people noticing advertising shifted to bring more acceptance onto certain social debates. Brands like Apple began to stand up for LGBT communities and it didn’t end there.
Brands like Coca-Cola do what they can to spread happiness in every single way. Of course every company has their commercial goals but why can’t it be combined with positive influence like social entrepreneurship does?
The impact of advertising
Without us knowing advertising plays a role in more than just our buying decisions. It has had a fundamental impact on the way we behave and the way we interpret things. Context is everything and that’s why advertising enables some difficult subjects to be discussed openly, simply by changing the context or shifting the perspective.
Spreading ideas and solutions
First and foremost advertising is used to bring your products or services outside the existing network of companies. In other words this enables companies to spread their solution to more potential users which leads to the growth of the company.
Advertising enables new solutions to introduce themselves which can lead to change on a worldwide scale. Imagine if a company like Apple didn’t have the possibility to advertise, what would our world look like today?
In other words, advertising is an advocate for change. Providing new ideas with a way to spread across the entire globe.
We have seen advertising play a role in societal changes shaping opinions on products and services as well as on politics and social debates. Lately we have seen big brands and advertisers work together to advocate for the LGBT communities, to end racism and to empower women.
Spreading awareness and public service announcements
Advertising is also often used to spread awareness on health or safety topics. It informs people about possible health concerns and how to prevent them from happening. Advertising campaigns have succeeded in informing people on the dangers of smoking as well as car safety, child abuse and more.
We all enjoy our own form of entertainment. For some it’s watching sports games, for others it’s YouTube or reading a blog on something. These are all things made possible by advertising. Would there be a lot of bloggers or youtubers if they didn’t receive anything back from it?
The same goes for almost all events in the world. They are all made possible because of sponsoring and advertising. Without Red Bull extreme sports would probably barely exist but it does. In fact Red Bull has created an entire community of extreme athletes. All experts in what they do, friends and lifestyle ambassadors brought together by advertising.
Believe it or not but advertisements are in favour of the consumers. Seeing ads of the same product of different companies gives consumers the ability to choose. Advertising teaches about the different alternatives which allows us to compare quality and prices.
The internet has made this even more intense as research shows that 90% of consumers do online research before purchasing a product. This phenomenon pushes companies to compete in order to provide better quality and lower prices for consumers which causes them to constantly improve themselves to satisfy their customer’s needs.
Lastly advertising gives companies an opportunity to shape their brand and gain customers. They are able to connect their solutions to people who need it. It has created an ecosystem with media companies, advertising agencies, marketeers and advertisers! Even small businesses are starting to advertise as it is an easy way to gain more awareness.
Advertising definitely has its pros and cons but we believe it is because no one truly understands the impact advertising can have. If advertisements can influence our culture and perspectives than companies as well as consumers should be more aware of that. The advertising ecosystem should focus on improving the customer experience and matching solutions to people with a problem. Zerocopy makes a difference with advertising by using it to enable students to print for free. Take a look at what we have to offer if you want to make an impact with your advertisements.