Many critics accuses advertising of sometimes being false and misleading. Most people agree that advertising should be allowed a certain degree of puffery or legitimate artistic license. However, others believe that puffery can go too far.
Finally, some critics charge that advertising programs force people to purchase merchandise they cannot afford and often really do not need. It is true but only to a certain extent . As Abraham Maslow claimed, our wants and needs are never completely fulfilled. Thus, it is human nature to work harder for the money to purchase those things that make life more comfortable.
The criticism that has been leveled at advertising through the years has led to regulation for the industry.
There are two types of regulation in advertising: self-regulation andgovernment regulation. Self-regulation is a healthy attempt by the advertising industry to keep its act clean and to avoid further government regulation.
Government regulation of the advertising industry is controlled by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is charged with the responsibility of protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive advertising practices
Among many sectors of cyberspace, the commercial Internet is the fastest growing; it is doubling in size every year. Advertisers spend billions of dollars every year to communicate their messages to their prospective customers. Now business has discovered that it is possible to advertise to the Internet community at a fraction of the cost of traditional media. Internet advertising is a fascinating opportunity to be seriously considered. First of all, there are tens of millions of electronic mail users out in cyberspace today. Advertisers have now found a way of directly communicating with consumers in cyberspace through Internet advertising and have recognized its importance and potential benefits over existing mass media. The Internet is not a mass market, nor does it represent a mass market such as TV, where millions of viewers are receiving a homogeneous message that is packaged and controlled by advertisers.
The Role of Advertising in the Internet
Advertising plays important roles in the Internet. Lowering the cost of the Internet service is one of these roles. It is the same mechanism which works for all other existing media, such as TV, newspapers, magazines, and cable. It is the advertisers who make consumers1 access to all media inexpensive and affordable. Free access will attract more people to the Internet, and Internet ads will make it more profitable. Actually, the market for Internet advertising is one of the fastest growing. Another important role of advertising in the Internet is that advertising itself is an important information source and thus attracts the attention of Internet users to specific information sources. For that reason, advertising in the Internet pleases citizen groups that support low cost information services. In short, advertising plays a positive role in the Internet: lowering the cost of the services, providing good sources of information, and attracting Internet users.
Characteristics of Internet Advertising
The Internet is the advertising vehicle of the future. Advertising in the Internet is different from that in traditional mass media in many ways. To establish an effective advertising presence in the Internet, new skills in medial strategy, message strategy, and creative strategy are required. To develop these new skills, advertisers should first understand the new medium's attributes and the resultant shift they cause in the advertising context. The two key attributes for advertising in the Internet are "control" and "dynamic addressability." Control means the balance of power between advertisers and customers. Dynamic addressability pertains to an individualized or customized advertising message that addresses individual customers' needs. Four major characteristics and advantages distinguishing the Internet from other existing media can be summarized:
1) low cost,
2) high speed and flexibility,
3) content-orientation, and most importantly,
4) interactivity or two-way communication.
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