Government’s Role in Advertising Regulation
History of attitudes towards advertising
Taste and decency
The advertising is a major contributor and visual segment of the complete marketing strategy of a business. It is also noted as one of the image carrier for an organization. The businesses seek support of advertising agenciesdealing in print and electronic media to establish an advertising campaign along with the design of such activities to further their marketing objectives (Shimp, 2013). There are various environmental factors as well as regulations that should be followed by the advertising agencies. The governments also take part in evaluation of the content printed in advertisements. The role of government in regulating the advertising material and assessment of the content is discussed below. It is required that the governments lower their involvement in such activities and empower the self-regulation of advertisement content through agencies, associations. And above all the target audience.
History of attitudes towards advertising:
According to Chryssides, and Kaler (1993) the attitude towards advertisement reflected the traditional mind set of communities under the influence of religious leaders. These leaders propagated that the advertisement is related to the stereotype that convinced the Protestant community to challenge the doctrine that suggested saving money. Advertisement was also disliked for creating a consumption oriented approach through seducing the youth and aged targets to spend on the joys of the world. The believers were also opposed to the fact that mass advertisement is creating a way forward for mass consumption and augmented sales.
Advertising is also criticized for its ability to persuade masses in increasing their spending to obtain the materials. The argument for supporting such beliefs rests on the issues that there is major portion of pollution that cannot afford to buy these products as a result to recession and other unemployment issues. Therefore it is unethical for the advertisers to attract the public spending. The counter argument in favour of advertising is based on the market principles that highlight that the advertisement can pave a way forward for the marginalized communities to seek a batter life style and it is also helpful in narrowing the gap between poor and the rich communities. It is also argued that the advertising creates a room for mass production and a result the ignored communities can also benefit from the jobs creation in the industry (Chryssides et al., 1993).
The advertisers are also keen to follow the social and business trends. There are various qualitative and quantitative studies that are performed to gauge the consumer response. These studies help the advertisers to identify the changes in the consumer trends and buying preferences. These preferences and trends are used by the professionals to develop various advertisements highlighting the significance of the related product or services features. The advertising campaigns are designed around the notable features of the target audience including age, gender, economic, and demographic information (De Fleur, & Dennis, 2002).
The research De Fluer et al. (2002) also elaborates that the organizations investing in the advertisement campaigns are keen to assess the results of their campaign in terms of achieving their objectives. The effectiveness of the advertisements and assessments of results are also be sought by the clients. The effectiveness of advertising campaigns includes the design of advertisements, message clarity, and usage of vivid and related images as well as the timings and frequency of repeating is important in advertising. The advertisement agencies are required to demonstrate the content and its accuracy prior to its release in the market.
The marketing and advertisement research is based on the collected data and available tools for conveying the message across a large number of target audiences. The effectiveness of an advertisement is dependent on multiple components and variables. Some of the variables are dependent on the external environment and might result into not producing the desired results. There are two distinct schools of through in defining the effectiveness and relationship of advertisement and actual achievement of results. However the decision makers of these advertisement campaigns have power to decide and invest in the marketing campaigns.
The advertisements are also considered as portraying images of various icons through which the target audience are encouraged to identify these images with their particular products. The luxuryproducts including fashion clothing, cars, and music are commodities that are advertised to gain popularity in the market. The advertisers swiftly capture these images and highlight them as associated with the products and a symbol of status for the target audience. The creation of a symbol and image in the minds of target audience is also achieved through creating and repeating these images in the form of print and electronic advertisements.
The work of Smith (2006) is particular in highlighting the key player’s views about different aspects of advertisement. The use of visual images in advertisements and their ethical grounds on which they appeal to the consumers is also questioned in the study. The ethics of visible questions the difference between two states. The real physical matter and the performing body, furthermore it also highlights the embodied physic experience. The performance studies are also particular in finding the ethics for visible elements.
The governments and authorities implement a large number of laws, regulations, and ethical code of conduct on print and electronic media. The requirements for such regulations also include the decency and taste of the advertisements and their content. The United Kingdom and EU member states are also using directives for broadcasting regulations. The licenced or independent TV channels are regulated through ICT which is formed under the Broadcasting Act 1990. The act powers of the act provide authority for the government agencies to review and control the content of advertising.
It is observed that the ICT code is applicable for all TV channels concerning the advertisement commercials. The code is administrated by the Broadcasting Advertisement Clarence Centre. The sponsors of the programs are also subject to the Code of Programme Sponsorship. The standard practice of sponsorship for a program is controlled as well as the methods through which the sponsorship is not allowed. The code also identifies the particular circumstances in which it is prohibitedto sponsor the programs. The TV channels have to abide by the regulations as a policy to continue with their licence. It is also regarded as a part of the terms and conditions of their license to comply with the regulations.
The codes and regulations controlling the content of advertisements also apply to the newspapers, magazines, broachers, leaflets, fax transmissions, and catalogues along with the literature. The posters and other promotional materials present in the public places are also covered under the code. The advertisement in non-commercial electronic media is also controlled through the authorities. The marketing database and services providers of such databases should also comply with the code. The sales promotions, advertisement promotions, and advertisement promotions covered by the Cigarette Code are also relevant for control by the government.
The national advertising review board is also a significant example of the self-regulatorybody to govern the issues related to advertisement content, its taste and decency is also observed in the national advertising division. The better business bureau is also an example of the organization under the national advertisingdivision. Advertising agencies and media organizations are also examples of the bodies that can independently handle the issues related to content and decency of adverts. The consumers are also significant in evaluation of the content and can identify the offensive and low taste advertisement (O’guinn, Allen, & Semenik, 2011).
In the presence of multi-cultural advertisement targets also has an ethical perspective related to the race and political issues. The professional interests and their presence in such a competitive world of advertisements make it impossible for the political forces to think about the actual impact of advertisements. The strength and depth of the idea for advertisement requires a philosophical, ontological, ethics, and aesthetics of the visuals. The ethical content can also be visually strong and aesthetically well targeted to deliver the required message across the target audience.
The advertisement in United Sates is particular in defining a fine line between the migrants and the local communities established a boundary for its target audience. The invitation to watch and consume the images is also associated with the amusement, pleasure, and satisfaction. The major advertisers consider themselves as responsible for not using any meticulous images that can initiate a social or cultural unacceptabilityamong the target market as well as the community at large. The difference between using white and non-white people in advertisements are used out of the context and their own experiences. The advertisers try not to exclude a large population of people with different colour or culture. However at times it not only takes place but the political and socio-cultural impact of these advertisements is also bared by societies (Stoltz, 2012).
Taste and decency:
The taste and decency of the content in the advertisement is dependent on various factors including the internal and external environmental factors. The designers of the marketing and advertising campaign are subject to the conditions relevant with their target audience and market they cater. The products and services marketed in the print and electronic media contains a hefty budget of the organisations and the dedication of time and space by the advertising services providers. The organizationsdesigning the campaigns are required to go through vigorous result oriented assurances. The marketing and advertising companies takes into consideration these issues while designing the campaigns for their customers.
The best judges of the taste and decency in the content of an advertisement are the target audience as well as the business using these techniques to gain wast market share. The content decency and taste is also selected by the advertising companies based note demographic and social features of the target market. The advertisements also face criticism from the public and as a result various advertisements are changed or dropped. The government and regulatory agencies’ role in regulating the content should be limited and subject to the conditions of narrow scope. It is not appropriate for the government and authorities to interfere with the actual content. The regulatory guide lines and codes should be relevant for only an overall offensive materials used in the advertisements (Shimp, 2010).
The government controlling the content in advertising material can also happen to control creativity. The advertising and marketing paradigm has already faced a shift from the conventional media to social media and online communities. It is merely possible for an advertising campaign that does not comply with the standards of target audience to be avoided criticism on social media. The advertising agencies also have a rating system in place to gauge the response of their creative work. It is also advisable for the government to encourage a free electronic media in order to minimize the influence of large corporations and wealthy corporations to hold their monopoly on the electronic and print media (O’guinn et al., 2011).
According to O’guinn et al. (2011) there are various bodies within the advertising world that can handle the offensive and indecent content. The independent organizations and regulatory arm of the advertising agencies should be empowered to take a notice of such situation in case there is any particular requirement. The state and local better business bureaus can also provide the required monitoring and control over the advertising content. These local and international agencies are not only representative of the communities but at the same time the marketers can also approach them to clarify their concerns.
The advertisement of body shop was initiated in 1993 when the long standing company policy for not advertising directly to customers was changed. The changes in the policy were due to certain changes in the marketing strategy. However the business surprised its customers through an appearance of Anita Roddick in a televised commercial of the company. The customers were also taken by surprise as well as the community which the business supported. The taste of the customers was also enhanced through using a renowned model for creating appeal for company’s business (Carroll, & Buchholtz,2011).
Furthermore the model also appeared in a series of electronic and print advertisements of American Express. The model was depicted elaborating the company values and culture, as well as the purpose of promoting the usage of card payments method introduced in couple of stores at that time. The images of the advertisement affected the audience and crated favourable feelings of the targeted community towards the business. The customers of body Shop however disliked the way she appeared for the American Express cards. The personal image of the model for social activism and personal appearance also helped both businesses to target their audience according to their mood and preferences (Carroll etal., 2011). The model and founder of Body Shop later revealed that she used her business to create an impact on the environment as well as the betterment of human beings. The business she initiated was not only to generate profit but to help her further in the cause of social and moral values in the world.
All these examples of advertisements above demonstrate that the target audience are sceptical of the content as well as other details about decency and taste of the organizations. The organizations cannot operate in isolated environment. They are required to respond and cater the needs of their target audience. They are also reasonable for the content and decency in their advertisement. The usage of various human and create arts images in their advertisements are scrutinized in detail by their target audience. They also comment and criticise the advertisement that are not up to the standards of the industry as well as their target market.
The best measure for evaluating an advertisement is based on its appeal and appreciation within the target market. However some content and decency related issues could also be addressed through the self-governing advertising agency bodies and associations. The governments should not step further from forming a national level policy for advertising and sponsorships. It is observed that United Kingdom and European governments are relatively more involved in evaluating the adverting content as compared with the United States. The minimal interference of government will also establish a healthy competition among marketers and advertisers.
Carroll, A.B., & Buchholtz, A.K. (2011). Business & society: Ethics and stakeholder management. USA: CengageBrain.
Chryssides, G.D., & Kaler, J.H. (1993). An introduction to business ethics.USA: CengageBrain.
De Fleur, M.L. en EE Dennis (2002). Understanding Mass Communication.A Liberal Arts Perspective.
O’guinn, T.C., Allen, C.T., & Semenik, R.J. (2011). Advertising and integrated brand promotion.USA: Cengage Learning.
Shimp, T.A. (2010). Integrated Marketing Communications in Advertising and Promotion, 8e.United Kingdom: CengageBrain.
Shimp, T.A. (2013). Advertising promotion and other aspects of integrated marketing communications.USA: Cengage Learning.
Smith, M. (Ed.). (2008). Visual culture studies: interviews with key thinkers. USA: Sage.
Stoltz, P. (2012). Media in Motion: Cultural Complexity and Migration in the Nordic Region. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(1), 160-161.