Although advertising is the most important tool, it has been criticized by some of the people on the following grounds:
1. Adds to Cost:
According to some people, advertisement increases the cost of a product which in turn passes on to the customers in the form of high prices. For example, several lakhs of rupees are spent by the business firms for an advertisement on T.V. This amount adds to the cost of a product, which is an important factor in determining the price of a product.
No doubt the advertisement adds to the cost of a product but it also helps in increasing the demand and hence the production. Increase in production brings economies of scale and therefore results in reducing the cost per unit.
In a nut shell, we can say that no doubt advertisement increases the total expenditure on one hand but on the other hand it reduces the cost per unit, thus in fact it reduces the burden of the consumers and not really add to it. Undoubtedly this is true only for those ads which are effective enough to boost demand a lot.
2. Undermine Social Values:
Advertising is criticized on the ground that it undermines social values and leads to materialism. As the people come to know about new products, they feel dissatisfied and discontented with their present standard of living.
This criticism is not entirely true because the advertising is In fact helping the buyers by informing them about the new products and the improvements made in the existing products. If the customers are not provided with such information, they may continue using some inefficient product. Therefore, the job of an advertisement is to inform, while the final decision to buy or not to buy lies with the customers themselves.
3. Confuses the Buyers:
Another criticism against advertisement is that advertisements of many products make similar claims. This confuses the customer as to which product they should buy. For example, all the detergents like Surf, Tide, Ariel etc. make similar claim of removing stains and whitening.
This criticism is not agreed upon because most of customers are rational beings. Before taking the decision to purchase a product, they analyze the information given by the advertisement and other sources and also consider the factors like price, style, size etc. In other words, they don’t buy merely on the basis of ads anyway.
4. Encourages Sale of Inferior Products:
The main aim of advertising is to persuade the people to purchase goods without distinguishing between superior and inferior products.
This criticism is not acceptable because it’s consumers’ choice to buy inferior goods or superior goods. If there is a demand for low priced products by a particular section of the market, then manufacturers will produce it and advertising shall try to sell it that’s the right approach so why blame advertising?
5. Some Advertisements are in Bad Taste:
Another objection against advertising is that some of the advertisements are in bad taste. The message or the picture shown under advertisement may not get approved by all the people.
For example, showing a female in any males’ product like shaving cream or perfume etc. Moreover, some advertisements distort the relationship between employer-employee, or mother in law and daughter in law etc. which is quite offensive in nature.
No doubt, there are some chances of misuse of advertising as a tool. But these can be regulated by law or by developing a code of conduct for the advertisers.