O Level Revision : Commerce - Advertising

Advertising is a marketing communication that is meant to promote or sell a product, service or idea.



The purpose of advertising

-       To inform customers of prices, uses and qualities of new and existing products or services

-      To inform about job vacancies and events.

-      To create demand for the products and services.

-      To induce and persuade the sellers to stock the advertised items.

-      To persuade customers to buy the goods and services.

-      To increase sales and profits.

-      To remind consumers of existing items.

-      To sustain demand for the goods and services.


Types of advertising


  1. Persuasive

-     Persuades consumers to buy specific products.

-      Is used when products are similar to each other, for example Boom,   Omo, Sunlight and Surf are all soap powders by different producers.

-     Suppliers compete for the market.

-     Suppliers claim their products have an edge over competitor’s products.

-      Quality, performance, price, durability and economy of use determine persuasive bases.


  1. Informative

-      Gives precise information on price, size and technical performance of a good or service.

-     Gives details of events.

-     Informs the public about finance, insurance, education or healthcare events.


  1. Generic or Collective

-     Producers, as a group, advertise the good or service collectively.

-     Producers promote the good or service in general terms: ‘Eat cereals daily for

energy; ‘Travel in comfort to Harare by buses’; ‘Drink tea for a healthy mind’.

-     Brand names are not mentioned.

-     Gives benefits of the product.

-     Producers share the cost of advertising.

-     Advertising costs are averagely low.

-     Sales increase for the individual members.

-     Profits increase for the individual members.

Advertising media

The media convey/relay the message/advertisement to the public.


  1. Television


-     Provides sound, motion and vision.

-     Has high audience attention and personal impact.

-     Use of item is demonstrated.

-     Wide exposure to many potential consumers.



-     Highly costly.

-     Less consumer selectivity.

-     Television is accessed by a few.


  1. Newspapers


-     Provide printed words and pictures.

-     Are more informative.

-     Can always be referred to after some time.

-     Wide readership.

-     Local, national and regional coverage.

-     Advertisement can be inserted  and deleted at short notice

-     Low cost

-     Affordable to many consumers

-     Published daily or weekly

-     Advertisement is coded and classified



-     Short life

-     Low quality production

-     Can reach only the literate

-     Remote areas get stale news


  1. Internet


-     Has motion, sight and sound

-     Covers local and abroad

-     Can target a market



-     Expensive to make

-     Takes time to make

-     Caters for few with access to internet

  1. Posters


-     Cheap and easy to make

-     Easily stuck on walls, trees or  vans

-     Attract large viewership at strategic areas

-     Last for longer periods



-     No audience selectivity

-     No audio motion impact

-     Open to vandalism


  1. Radio


-     Has the widest coverage.

-     Has audio and personal impact.

-     Segments target market through selected special interest programmes.

-     Programmes can be timed and repeated.

-     Radios are cheaper than televisions.

-     Radios are available on cell phones, televisions and cars.



-     No visible impact

-     Message life is short

-     No transmission in some areas


  1. Magazine


-      Quality production

-     Longer life

-     Low cost per exposure

-     Target specific consumers

-     Increased circulation

-     Informative and instructional

-     Read at leisure



(Same as newspapers)


  1. Neon signs


-     Bright colours and attractive flashing signals

-     Visible to many

-     Show logo, pictures and brand names distinctly.

-     Can be viewed often

-     Have high repeat exposure



-     Expensive to produce and maintain


  1. Direct mail


-     Consumer selectivity

-     Reaches the intended target

-     Minimum and wasteful circulation



-     Limited to literate and mailing list

-     Costs of mailing are high.

-     Mail may be ignored as junk.

-     Mail addresses might change.


  1. Catalogue


-     Sent to known/target consumers

-     Are available on request

-     Pictures in colour



-     Expensive to produce and send


  1. Shop windows,Trade Fairs and Exhibitions Displays


-     Attractive to shoppers

-     Details of item, colour, size, form and price are seen.

-     Uses and advantages of item can be shown and explained.



-     Reach only shoppers and visitors.

-     Trade Fairs are held once annually.


  1. Business paraphernalia

-     Logos on vehicles shows goods and services on offer.

-     T-shirts, carrier bags advertise the firm`s products.

-     Identify with business

-     Viewed by consumers

-     Are in print and colour

-     Costly to make

Advantages of advertising

-      Increases sales and profits.

-      Reduces  the selling price of the product.

-      Increased sales cover costs of the advertisements.

-      Leads to competition among sellers.

-      Quality of products is kept high.

-      Consistent and stable prices are usually maintained.

-      New products can be introduced.

-      Consumers are exposed to a variety of high quality products.

-      Improves the standard of living of the consumers.

-       Revenue from advertising assists to lower the price of advertising media such as newspapers.

-      Creates employment for people involved in the advertising business.


Disadvantages of advertising

-      Leads consumers to overspend through impulse buying.

-      Misleads consumers.

-      Increases prices due to costs of advertising.

-      Might lead to the purchase of harmful products.

-       Undermines  social  standards  such  as  were  advertisements  display  semi-naked personalities.

-      Large firms gain a monopoly in a product market.


Sales promotion

-      Giving free samples to consumers.

-      Reducing prices of products frequently.

-      Giving free gifts on condition consumers buy specified quantities of goods.


Advertising agents

-      Carry out market research on prices, names, packaging and target consumer groups.

-      Advise on design, size, colour, and media for item.

-      Create the advertisement using information provided by owner of product.

-      Produce the advertisement and the owner of the product approves it.

-      Place the advertisement on the advertising media.