In This Article Advertising

  • Introduction
  • Core Texts
  • Advertising Appeals
  • Advertising as a Science
  • History
  • Ethics
  • Cross-Cultural Variations
  • Managing Advertising
  • Social and Societal Impacts
  • Regulation and Self-Regulation
  • Brand-Building

Related Articles about

Forthcoming Articles

 

Communication Advertising
by
Esther Thorson
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0016

Introduction

Advertising is defined as paid communication from an identified sponsor using mass media to persuade an audience. There are many ways to promote ideas, brands, politicians, or issues, but advertising involves mostly professionally designed commercials (this word implies video) or advertisements (this word implies print or online display advertising). Mass media, such as television, radio, newspapers, and magazines, are paid to carry those messages to their audiences. Advertisements can also occur via the Internet, and this medium can be more “individualized” than the mass media (for example, email advertising is designed and delivered very specifically). Additionally, a new form of advertising created by ordinary people (“user generated” advertising), rather than by professionals, is now recognized. But in spite of these current variations in messages that are referred to as advertising—a phenomenon caused mainly by the digital revolution—the definition above is generally accepted. Advertising is distinguished from other promotional tools, such as marketing and public relations. Marketing refers to everything that is done to promote a brand: for example, creating the product, pricing it, placing it where it can be purchased, and promoting it. Advertising is a subcategory of marketing. Public relations is usually defined as management activities carried out to enhance the relationships between a company and its stakeholders. Although public relations uses messages, such as press releases to the media, it generally does not involve paid professional messages carried by the media. Sales promotions are incentives that organizations use to temporarily change the perceived value of a brand or idea. Coupons, contests, rewards, and price discounts are all forms of sales promotions. They may be targeted toward consumers or toward retail organizations. Likewise, personal selling is another promotional tool. In general, then, advertising is a subcategory of marketing, and it is one of four categories of persuasive tools. Advertising varies in many ways beyond the media that carry it (for example, television commercials, newspaper advertisements). For example, political advertising promotes candidates for office. Issue advertising promotes ideas from the public service domain (such as forest fire prevention or crime prevention), health advertising promotes behaviors that increase healthiness (such as promotion of vaccines, admonishments to engage in safe sex and to quit smoking), children’s advertising promotes directly to the young, and corporate advertising promotes the viewpoints of companies (for example, that corporations are environmentally responsible, or that they regret product failures or accidents).

Core Texts

The best way to learn about advertising and the advertising industry is to start with advertising textbooks. Arens, et al. 2008 overviews all areas of advertising and is especially strong in its examination of the look and feel of effective advertising and how it is created. Wells, et al. 2007 is a popular textbook that combines a rich representation about how advertising works in the real world with fundamental advertising theory. O’Guinn, et al. 2009 identifies brand building as the central task for advertising, taking a more management-focused approach than other advertising texts. Jones 1999 provides elaborated definitions for terms and theories of advertising.

  • Arens, William, Michael Weigold, and Christian Arens. 2008. Contemporary advertising. Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

    E-mail Citation »

    This text is particularly good in discussing the role of creative work in advertising. It also addresses extensively how digital media have changed much about how advertising is done.

  • Jones, John Philip, ed. 1999. The advertising business: Operations, creativity, media planning, integrated communications. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    E-mail Citation »

    This is a useful dictionary of many of the foundational terms and vocabulary used in the advertising business.

  • O’Guinn, Thomas C., Chris T. Allen, and Richard J. Semenik. 2009. Advertising and integrated brand promotion. London: Cengage Learning.

    E-mail Citation »

    One of the most up-to-date advertising textbooks, this text emphasizes the brand-building role of advertising.

  • Wells, William D., Sandra Moriarty, and John Burnett. 2007. Advertising: Principles and practice, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

    E-mail Citation »

    In addition to being a scholar of advertising, William Wells served for many years as the vice president of research at DDB Needham-Chicago and thus brings the richness of his real-world experience to this text.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.

Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article

Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.

If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email onlinemarketing@oup.com to express your interest.

Article

Up

Down