Businesses primarily aim to generate profit for the owners or shareholders. Smart technologies and smart human resources are employed in order to ensure that quality and quantity products or services are made to sell in order to get this much sought after profit.
However, having services and products to offer is often not enough. Something more is needed to win the hearts of those with the disposable income to spend. With a monopoly, companies mainly strive to keep supply at optimum levels and care less about the feelings of the customers since they do not have much of an option but to buy from them.
However, the game is quite different once you have more than one player on the market. Take the example of when MTN Rwanda was the only telecom company around. The tariffs were high yet the service was quite incommensurate. Today. they are in a constant effort to keep tariffs down and offer quality services in order to fend off the likes of Tigo and Airtel.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, companies are compelled to improve on the quality and quantity of what they offer. More importantly, they have to embark on a campaign to win the hearts of the customers and this is where advertising comes in.
A lot of resources are these days directed towards selling the psychological imprint of a company’s product or service in form of advertising. Customers have to be won over, and kept hooked if a company is to be certain of a constant flow of revenue.
Advertising, like flirting, often borders on exaggerations here and there. There is nothing entirely wrong since it is understandable that winning hearts is never an easy thing to do. My concern however is the cases where this advertising eventually hurts society.
Instead of simply selling us a brand or product the adverts sometimes take on hues that are not necessary. For example, many adverts are openly sexist. I am sure you have seen one about a beer for men. Another popular beer reminds us that those who drink any other beer are on a men’s table. What about the women?
There is a particular ad that I find very disturbing. A mother calls the girls to come and help prepare the table for dinner while the sons are busy playing. The message being sold subliminally is that it is okay for boys to chill as the girls do all the house work as well as the homework from school.
A keen look at many of South African adverts depict white people in luxury goods like cars or wines. The blacks on the other hand are represented in detergent ads or factory attire.
Even if a company aims to sell to a particular section of society, there is no need to make it so obvious in the advert. We need a consumer protection body to weed out such ads that enforce negative stereotypes and stick to selling brands and products in an ethical manner.