What Is It?

The word advertising comes from the root word Advert, whose origins come to us from the Latin adverture, to pay attention (Merriam Websters Dictionary). Advertising is an art in which one or more media forms is used to call attention to something, traditionally a product or service, in order to increase sales of that item. More recently, advertising has been used to increase the so called brand awareness, where a company or product line (the so called 'brand') is plugged, in order for a certain perception of that product to be achieved. Advertising has also been used for various other messages, such as sending reverse cultural messages (as in culture jamming), or raise awareness of issues around the world (AIDs, world hunger, etc.).

From a commercial perspective, advertisements are used to persuade people to purchase certain branded products. Advertising becomes a mechanism in which brands can be distinguished from one another, promoting competition between companies. If successful, brands can be recognized by just that, the brand itself. Advertising becomes a stage in which companies can compete, not just in terms of price (David). Brands can become so strong that price itself is a non-factor, and they are purchased on impulse (See brand awareness also). Advertisements can even serve aesthetic purposes; typical in most industries such as food, etc.

Types of Advertising

1. In Society


2. In Your Home

* Banner advertisements
  • Popups
  • Online ad
  • SPAM
  • Links
  • Company ads.
  • Radio
  • Mail
  • On the back of purchased products (such as cereal boxes)

3.Subliminal Advertising

Advertising Goals

Many advertisements aim to sell a better lifestyle as oppose to the actual product itself. Advertisements project to consumers that through buying their specific product, the consumer's life will change for the better. Advertisements are a perceived ‘promise’ to improve consumers lives by making it more exciting, sexy, efficient and most of all glamorous and enviable. Advertisements lure consumers into believing their live are dissatisfying in one way or another buy putting the lifestyle or the product on a pedestal, just barely out of reach. Consumers believe that it is ‘seemingly’ not untouchable. Everyone always wants what they can't always have and that is human behaviour in itself. Consumers believe glamour is the key to success and happiness. Glamour is ‘achieved’ by having money to buy the product or lifestyle. When it is purchased, the product can give the user a new social status. Once the social status is achieved, power is not far behind. As the consumer finally achieves the powerful status, he or she is finally envied which is the true goal of all advertisers (Sturken and Cartwright 112). The search for perfection is growing in our society, due to the select marketing strategies that advertisers use. Advertisers understand that they are targeting humans, who are not perfect, yet who have the belief that by buying into these products, mainly beauty and fashion, they will somehow become better off.

Advertising is a powerful tool used to deliver a message to a direct target audience. They are able to connect to a mass population or a selected few, based on how they go about producing and displaying their ads.

Works Cited

Aker, David. Brand Equity and Advertising: Advertising's Role in Building Strong Brand. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (1993).
Online at <>.

Sturken, Marita and Lisa Cartwright. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Photo Courtesy Calvin Klein.