Direct mail is the third most commonly-used advertising medium. It includes letters, catalogs, postcards, folders, and other forms of "junk mail", as it is known by its critics. The purpose of direct mail is to obtain immediate orders or inquiries from customers. Main disadvantage is that it is very expensive.
Many advertisers feel that radio is undervalued for the size of audience it can reach. Like television, radio is demographically selective. Radio advertisers can select a market segment and broadcast their commercials on the station that appeals to the people in this particular segment. Other major advantages include radio's universal availability and its high message frequency. As for disadvantages radio as an advertising medium, they include clutter, low-reach, and the short life of messages. Another problem stems from radio's high degree of selectivity. An advertiser promoting a product with a universal appeal must purchase time on several radio stations to attain the same coverage as one TV station. (Finally, because it is audio and not video, a radio commercial is best suited for simple messages that do not require product demonstration.
Magazines offer several unique advantages to the advertiser. They are demographically and geographically selective. They have a longer life than newspapers, and they can offer reproduction and repeated exposure. Magazines offer a number of attractive graphic options such as centerfolds, bleeds (a picture that covers an entire page) and inserts.
The major disadvantages of magazines can be traced to the fact that they come periodically. Thus, they have a delayed reach and frequency, which often dates the ads. A related disadvantage is the early closing dates. Monthly magazines often have a closing date for advertisements eight weeks ahead of the cover date. Clutter is also a disadvantage. With so many advertisements on a page, some popular magazines often resemble catalogs.
Outdoor advertising is a million dollar industry that includes billboards, skywriting, placards, neon signs and a new technique using lasers. Two basic types of outdoor advertising account for most of the revenue; they are the poster panel and the painted bulletin. Poster panels are the billboards we are most used to seeing. Manufacturers of beer, cigarettes, automobiles, and soft drinks commonly use this type of billboard, politicians - in their election campaigns. Printed bulletins are another type of billboards used to advertise shows, records, and premiere movie runs. The main advantage of outdoor advertising is the repetition it offers.
A small company will usually employ an advertising manager to plan and direct its advertising campaign. Often this individual will write the advertising message, place it in the appropriate media, and perform any other related tasks. In larger companies, however, the advertising manager will work with an advertising agency which is an independent company that specializes in all phases of preparation and execution of client advertising. An advertising agency that offers a wide range of services is called a full-service agency. Often an agency will work with a client from the time of product conception through each stage in the product cycle. Another type of agency is the boutique agency, which specializes in one service aspect of a campaign. For example, a creative boutique specializes in the creation and execution of campaign items. These agencies sell their work to clients who must, in turn, hire independent media time and place.
Criticisms and Regulation of Advertising
Common Criticisms of Advertising
One common complaint concerns the high cost of advertising which many believe causes higher product prices. Many critics overlook the fact that advertising helps develop a mass market for products, which in turn reduces the unit price.
Another common complaint is that much advertising is offensive or in poor taste. For instance, many women's groups have complained that television commercials especially portray women as stupid creatures, whose lives at home are filled with washing machines that talk, margarine that whispers, and soaps that shout, and who are not surprised when little creatures parade through their homes or when little tornadoes swirl up from their sinks and then flash through the house cleaning everything in sight.
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