Dr G.P. Pandey*
Dr. Mita Das**
In today’s world of multimedia, television is the major entertainer and news provider all over the world. It is perceived as a persuasive medium of communication. It is the most suitable and largest medium for advertising. The audio – visual impact generated when a product is shown and its uses demonstrated, wins over many a buyer. It has tremendous influence on the youngsters. Youngsters in India are regular viewers of television. They spend more hours watching TV than they spend in the classroom. Youth are considered to be passive viewers who watch all that flits across the screen, and swallow every message. It may, however, not be true. The majority of young generation believes television advertisements to be informative and most of them respond to them favorably. The teenagers have become a strong influencing group and even have the ability to influence the purchase decisions in the family, from cakes to cars. These factors have provided the motivation to write this research paper and it aims to establish the impact of commercial TV advertisements on youngsters in Silchar town of Assam.
The effect of media has been a matter of great concern among researchers right from the beginning. There is a long running debate regarding the medium and the content. The theory of McLuhan, (1965)’Medium is the Message’, has been a subject of debate among researchers and critics on the ground that content (programme) is more important than medium. The success of serials ‘Mahabharata’ and ‘Hum Log’ (Mitra 1993 A) and advertisements like ‘Thanda Matlab Coca – Cola’ indicate that programme contents and their presentation are also equally important. Thus, the contents of programmes and advertisements and their presentation on the audio-visual medium make it a very effective tool of communication.
The impact of advertising has been a matter of considerable debate and many claims have been made in different contexts. For example, during the debate about banning of cigarette advertising, a common claim from the cigarette manufacturers was that cigarette advertising does not encourage people to smoke. The opponents of the cigarette advertising, on the other hand, claim that advertising does increase consumption (Bagga: 2006). Bagga argues that advertising in non-commercial guise is a powerful educational tool capable of reaching and motivating large audiences.
Advertising is complex because many advertisers try to reach different types of audiences and consumers. There are many types of advertising too, so that all types of consumers can be addressed. Advertising is a large and varied industry and all types of advertising demand creative, original messages that are strategically sound and well carried out (Wells et al., 1995).
Advertising media includes various types of mass media such as TV, radio, and print sources. It is often said that a picture can tell more than a thousand words. That is why TV advertisements are the best to demonstrate a product in an attractive manner. The advantage of television over the other mediums is that it is perceived as a combination of audio and video features; it provides products with instant validity and prominence and offers the greatest possibility for creative marketing. TV advertising is the best-selling media to target audience.
The young audiences remain glued to the television and enjoy what they see. As a wide range of products and services are consumed or used by children, many companies tend to target them with TV advertisements. They tend to purchase those brands and products which are advertised more on television. Advertisers target teenagers because they influence parental purchases and because they establish loyalty to certain brands quite early. A teenager with greater financial resources would have more money to spend on items of his or her choice and may also exert influence on family purchases. The teenagers are more attracted toward TV advertisements featuring celebrities while deciding to purchase cosmetics, stationary, gifts and greeting cards.
Television is effective as it appeals to both the eye and the ear. It remains the most effective medium for reaching today’s customers and it is also the most efficient for introducing people to brands. It appeals to the literate as well as the illiterate and this is one of the features that make it unique and different from other mediums. Reactions to TV advertisements seem to be stronger than the reactions to print advertisements. The advertisers find it more effective to use television rather than print media to reach the hearts and minds of the consumers. TV advertisements not only appeal to emotions but influence the daily lives of people.
“Today’s youth are no fools and are far more sophisticated than they were 20 years ago, when many of today’s youth advertising guidelines were written”, says Jerry Mc Gee, who ran perhaps the largest advertising agency. Marketing for the youth is a delicate issue. Because of the combination of colour, sound and action, TV attracts more youngsters than any other medium (with the exception of cinema).
With a population of over one billion, India is on the threshold of becoming one of the world’s foremost consumer markets. For advertisers, India could represent a golden opportunity for airing TV advertisements. The key lies not only in the attractiveness of the advertisements, but also in the interest of the targeted youth and influencing them in making their purchase decisions. Thus, it can be said that marketers and advertisers who have eyes on this market, must perceive opportunities to target Indian consumers, which is full of the young fashion-conscious generation. TV is the most important media to spread fashion awareness among adolescents.
Studies on impact of TV advertisements
The Centre for Media Studies (CMS) based in New Delhi conducted a country-wide social audit of the functioning of mass media which is without precedent in the relatively new field of media research in India. Discussions on the social impact of TV were held by CMS-trained interviewers between October, 1994 and January, 1995 with focus groups at fourteen places in six states across the country. These were: Hyderabad, Cuddapah and Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh; Guwahati, Tezpur and Golaghat in Assam; Delhi; Jalgaon in Maharashtra; Allahabad and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh; and Sundergarh, Keonjahr, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar in Orissa.
Discussion with focus groups was employed in the course of the social audit of the media. The groups spoken to were of students and parents.
Students and youth
At each of the fourteen places, CMS researchers made it a point to talk to groups of students and youth who are considered most vulnerable to the impact of TV and more especially of cable TV, as well as to parents. The following salient points emerged.
Growth of consumerism
Young people want to acquire whatever goods – from fancy shoes to ‘Dove’ soap – are advertised on TV. They are being inducted into a materialistic culture of consumerism. Soon there may be only one culture world- a wide American pop culture.
Social impact of advertisements
Next only to the condemnation of vulgarity and violence depicted on TV screens was the concern expressed by discussants, in almost all the focus groups, at the social effect of the commercial advertisements carried by TV channels, including Doordarshan.
Housewives in Allahabad said that often the advertisements are misleading because the product, after it has been bought, is not as good as the advertisement claimed. More serious, they said, is that some of the advertisements confuse children and when they ask about an advertisement of condoms or of female sanitary napkins it gets embarrassing. They also objected to the fact that nearly half of the time allotted for a programme was consumed by advertisements: it was very irritating. At all the centres where focus group discussions were conducted, the participants said that children began to press for the purchase of things which were beyond the family’s financial reach. One participant wondered why there is no provision to complain about advertisements, and why Doordarshan does not bother to distinguish an ad from the news or other programmes.
Patel and Dr. Jain(2011), in their study on ‘Impact of TV Advertising on Youth Buying Behaviour’, established the fact that TV advertisement influences the buying decisions of today’s youth. TV advertising has enhanced their involvement in product selection and purchase, they prefer to buy TV advertised products and it is helpful in buying the new products. Their study was conducted on students in the 18-21 age group who visited shopping malls. Patel and Dr. Jain’s study also revealed that youngsters sometimes do not buy TV advertised products if they do not require those brands. Their study also revealed that sometimes youngsters like the advertisements of the products that they are using and believe that these products are as good as expected from TV advertisements.
Advertising is a big business today and many industries like magazines, cable TV, newspaper and many other media, non media and communication industries survive only on the inflow of money due to advertising. It is because of this that corporate houses use all possible tactics to get our attention first and money ultimately. Sometimes these attempts involve illegal, dirty or underhand tricks, making untrue claims (Burns et al., 2005, pp.70-71)and reliance on false information (Drumwright and Murphy, 2009,pp. 83-107).Of late, a number of debates have been going on about the social issues in advertising and the catastrophic consequences of improper advertising. The social effects of improper advertising generally manifest themselves in the form of an adverse effect on child psychology(Haefner, 1991, pp. 83-92). While investigating the influence of advertisements directed at children, it has been found that they have an adverse influence on child behavior. Since, a large number of TV ads are directed at children, critics have expressed concerns about them (Haefner, 1991, pp. 83-92). Kunkel (1988, pp. 367-389)conducted a study in which the values of the advertisers who target children were questioned. It was suggested that advertisements which target children were unethical because children were not in a position to evaluate commercial persuasion. Critics have put forth the argument that advertisements directed at children are harmful because they glamorise the use of alcohol and tobacco (Pechmannand Shih 1999, pp. 1-13; Saffer and Dave, 2003;Sinha, 2005, pp. 124-126), make the children aware of their sexuality at an early age (Kunkel, 1992, pp. 134-152) and perpetuate stereotypes of genders among them (Browne, 1998, pp. 9-46; Graves, 1999, pp. 707-727; Childs and Maher, 2003, pp. 408-419).
Advertising can also have positive effects on youngsters. For example, some alcohol manufacturers spend 10% of their budget on advertisements warning about the dangers of drinking and driving. In addition, although some healthcare professionals disagree about the health benefits of milk use, its consumption has increased as a result of print and broadcast advertisements.
The developmental stage of a child plays a role in the effect of commercials. Young children do not understand the concept of a sales pitch. They tend to believe what they are told and may even assume that they are deprived if they do not have advertised products. Most preschool children do not understand the difference between a programme designed to entertain and a commercial designed to sell. A number of studies have documented that children under the age of eight years are developmentally unable to understand the difference between advertising and regular programming.
The average child sees more than 20,000 commercials each year. More than 60% of commercials promote sugared cereals, candy, fatty foods and toys. Cartoon programmes based on toy products are especially attractive. Advertisements targeting adolescents are profoundly influential, particularly on cigarette use.
The question of whether children are more resilient to the influence of television is debated frequently. Most studies show that the more time children spend watching television, the more they are influenced by it. Earlier studies have shown that boys may be more susceptible than girls to television violence.
Canada’s two largest breweries spend $200 million on advertising each year. On an annual basis, teenagers see between 1000 and 2000 beer commercials carrying the message that ‘real’ men drink beer. Convincing data suggest that advertising increases beer consumption, and in countries such as Sweden, a ban on alcohol advertising has led to a decline in alcohol consumption.
Tobacco products are not advertised directly on television in Canada. However, passive promotion occurs when, for example, a soap opera star lights a cigarette in a ‘macho’ act, a Formula One race car has cigarette advertising on it or sporting events carry the names of tobacco companies. There is evidence that passive advertising, which glamorises smoking, has increased over the past few years.
Television is not the only way that children learn about tobacco and alcohol use; the concern is that the consequences of these behaviours are not accurately depicted on television. One half of the G- rated animated feature films available on videocassettes, as well as many music videos, show alcohol and tobacco use as normative behaviour without conveying the long term consequences of this use.
(Cet articles estdisponible en francais. Voyez”Les répercussions de l’usage des médiassur les enfants et les adolescents).
Effects of advertising on teen body image (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia)
The effects of advertising on body image have been studied by researchers, ranging from psychologists to marketing professionals. Particularly, the body image advertising portrays affects our own body image. Of course, there are many other things that influence our body image: parenting, education, intimate relationships, and so on. The popular media does have a big impact, though. This is due to the fact that thousands of advertisements contain messages about physical attractiveness and beauty, examples of which include commercials for clothes, cosmetics, weight reduction, and physical fitness. Researchers, such as Mary Martin and James Gentry, have found that teen advertising negatively impacts teenagers’ self-esteem by setting unrealistic expectations for them about their physical appearances through the use of idealised models. Other researchers, such as Heidi Posavac, acknowledge this but believe that this only applies to teenagers who already possess low self-esteem or a poor self-images. In contrast, researchers, including Terry Bristol, have found teenagers to be generally unaffected by these advertisements due to the idea that repeat exposure can create an immunity to images and messages in advertisements. Moreover, some researchers, such as Paul Humphreys, have concluded that exposure to such advertisements can actually create higher self-esteem in teenagers.
Effects on young women
In a study published in the Journal of Advertising, pp. 19-34, marketing professors Mary Martin and James Gentry noted that images of blonde, thin women are predominant in mass media, and that these characteristics are often portrayed as being ideal. Martin and Gentry also found that advertising can “impose a sense of inadequacy on young women’s self-concepts.” This is because some girls and young women compare their own physical attractiveness to the physical attractiveness of models in ads. They then experience lowered self-esteem if they do not feel that they look like the models in advertisements.
In a study published in Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, pp. 187-201, psychologists Heidi Posavac, Steven Posavac and Emil Posavac found that many young women will express dissatisfaction with their bodies, particularly with their body weight, when they are exposed to images of thin models who are slimmer than the average woman.
Expressing similar sentiments, an aspiring young model was quoted as saying, “Deep down I still want to be a supermodel… As long as they’re there, screaming at me from the television, glaring at me from the magazines, I’m stuck in the model trap. Hate them first. Then grow to like them. Love them. Emulate them. Die to be them. All the while praying the cycle will come to an end.”
Academic researchers Philip Myers Jr. and Frank Biocca concluded, in their study published in the Journal of Communication, pp. 1-26, that a woman’s self-perceived body image can change after watching a half-an-hour of television programming and advertising.
Martin and Gentry also found that the mass media “creates and reinforces a preoccupation with physical attractiveness in young women” which can lead to bulimia, anorexia, and opting for cosmetic surgery. She also concluded that, “exposure to ultra-thin models in advertisements and magazine pictures produced depression, stress, guilt, shame, insecurity, and body dissatisfaction in female college students.”
Positive or neutral effects on teenagers
Heidi Posavac, Steven Posavac and Emil Posavac found that young women who are already content with their bodies are generally unaffected by media images of models and other attractive women. They concluded that only those who are dissatisfied with their bodies prior to viewing advertisements will feel poorly after seeing advertisements featuring thin, attractive women.
Furthermore, Myers and Biocca found that some young women actually feel thinner after viewing advertisements featuring thin, idealised women.
Tamara Mangle burg and Terry Bristol’s studies featured in the Journal of Advertising, pp. 11-21, found that teens are not typically swayed by images in advertisements. They suggest the more teens view advertisements, the less they are affected by them and the more they become sceptical of the messages that are in advertisements. This is because repeat exposure to ads can give them a better understanding of the motives behind such ads.
Objective, area of study and methodology
The specific objectives of this research paper are:
- To find out whether exposure to TV advertisements has increases the frequency of purchase among the respondents.
- To find out whether the respondents always purchase a product shown in TV ads.
- To find out whether the respondents feel that TV ads make the purchase of the products easier.
- To find out whether the respondents are satisfied about the quality of the products as expected from TV ads.
- To find out whether TV ads exposure has started the respondents experimenting the new product.
- To find out whether TV ads influence respondents’ feeling for products.
Silchar is the second largest and important town located in the southern part of Assam next to the state capital Guwahati. Having a history of its own related to the colonial past, it represents the typical urban setting of a non-metropolitan city. It has got a central university which is 20Km away from the town, a deemed university in the form of NIT, and a Medical College, all located outside the municipal area. The town does not have any industry worth mentioning. Silchar Municipal Board was constituted in the year 1998. In the year 2005, the municipal area of the town covered 15.78 sq. Km. The Silchar municipal jurisdiction comprises 28 municipal wards and as per Census 2001, the total population area of the town covered is 1, 43,003.
The present study was focused on the youngsters of Silchartown to know the impact of commercial TV advertisements. For this purpose, an audience survey method was employed in order to collect the data. 50 respondents, 25 male and 25 female, belonging to the age group of 15-26 years were chosen by convenience sampling method and data were collected from them with the help of an interview schedule. However, a pure stratified sampling method could not be followed because it was impossible to conduct the survey on a large scale.
Variables and parameters
The social background of the respondents may be studied in terms of their sex, age group, religion, caste, mother tongue, languages known, marital status, education level of the respondents, parent’s education, occupation of the respondents, occupation of parents, monthly income, frequency of visiting to market/malls and household consumption pattern such as TV, refrigerator, washing machine, digital /ordinary camera, cordless phone/mobile, room cleaner/mop/vacuum cleaner, iron, Bike/Scooter/Scooty, Good Knight/All Out/Jet Liquidator, water filter/Aqua Fresh, cutlery set, dining set, etc.
Media exposure of the respondents may be defined in terms of exposure to the television, access to television channels (exposure to the kind of channels, time spent on watching TV, place of watching, language preferences, mode of watching, choice of programmes watched, exposure to TV ads etc).
The dimension of impact of commercial TV advertisements on youngsters will be operation aliased with the help of dependent variables such as frequency of buying TV products, satisfaction about the quality of products, experimenting new products, influence of TV ads etc.
Socio-economic profile of the samples
The demographic profile of the samples reflects that half of the respondents are male and half female. Regarding their age group majority (41 per cent) belong to the 19-22 age group, more than one-third (38.90 per cent) belong to the 23-26 age group and less than one-fourth (20.10 per cent) belong to the 15-18 age group. Majority (88per cent) of them believe in Hinduism, less than half (46 per cent) comprises of general caste and with low representation of other category. The Bengali community (Bengali as mother tongue) is the highest in numbers but they also know other languages like Hindi and English.
Regarding their marital status, one-seventh(14 per cent) of the female respondents are married and among male only(6 per cent)of them are married, half of the respondents are graduates among which little less than one-third (30 per cent) comprises of female and less than one-fourth (20 per cent) comprises of male. Regarding the respondent’s father’s education level more than half (64 per cent) of the respondents’ fathers are graduates with few post-graduates and M.B.B.S. Regarding the education of the respondents ‘mother 59 per cent of the mothers are graduates, some of them post- graduate and M.B.B.S.
Regarding the occupation of the respondents, 80 per cent of the respondents are students and regarding their parents’ occupation, majority of the fathers are engaged in business and the mothers as housewives. Also, more than half (52 per cent) of the respondents have a monthly income in the range of Rs. 5001- Rs. 10,000 and only a few (5 per cent) respondents have a monthly income of above Rs. 40, 000.
Majority (80 per cent) of the female and (76 per cent) of the male respondents visit the market/malls frequently. Regarding the household consumption pattern, all the respondents have TV sets, refrigerators, mobiles and water filters. Also, one-seventh of them have washing machine, digital /ordinary camera/, cordless phone, room cleaner/mop/vacuum cleaner, iron, Good knight/All Out/Jet Liquidator, water filter/Aqua Fresh, cutlery set, dining set etc. It is interesting to note that almost all the male respondents have bikes. Among the female respondents, 30 per cent possess Scooty.
All the respondents watch TV at home. Majority (85 per cent) of the respondents have cable connection while more than one-sixth (15 per cent) have DTH. None of the respondents rely on the ordinary antenna to watch terrestrial broadcasts.
TV is viewed by all the respondents regularly, mostly during evening hours. Regarding the number of hours spent on watching TV it is seen that female respondents spend more time compared to the males. Regarding the programme preferences, almost all the male respondents gave first preference to sports, second preference to films and third preference to documentary and reality shows whereas all the female respondents gave first preferences to serials, second preference to films and third preference to fashion related shows. Also, it is noted that though Silcharis Bengali dominated, most of the respondents like Hindi programmes. It is interesting to note that both the female and male respondents prefer to watch programmes both randomly and selectively. It is also seen that female respondents prefer Star Plus, Zee TV, Sony, Colors, Movies OK, Sony Max channels and male respondents prefer to watch STAR SPORTS 4, TEN SPORTS, TEN CRICKET, ESPN, Movies OK, Sony Max Star Gold, Discovery and National Geographic. It is also interesting to note that female respondents prefer to watch more TV ads than male respondents.
Impact of TV advertisements on youngsters
Majority (40 per cent) of the female respondents said they like TV advertisements and they also want to purchase products seen in TV ads. Comparing to male respondents, majority (60 per cent) of the female respondents feel that TV ads make the purchase of the products easier. It is also interesting to note that the majority (75 per cent) of respondents believe and feel that TV ads have increased the frequency of purchase and they are quite satisfied about the quality of the products which was as expected from TV ads. Regarding experimenting new products, less than half (40 percent) of the female respondents said they have started experimenting new cosmetics products such as shampoos, body lotions, soaps, etc. Little less than one-third (30 per cent) of the male respondents said they have also started experimenting new cosmetics product such as Fair and Handsome.
Majority of the respondents belong to the 19-22 age groups. The majority Bengali understands Hindi and English. Half of the respondents are graduates among which little less than one-third (30 per cent) comprises of female and less than one-fourth (20 per cent) comprises of male. More than half of the respondents ‘parents are graduates with a few post-graduates and M.B.B.S. The fathers of the majority are engaged in business and their mothers are housewives. More than half of the respondents earn between Rs. 5001 and Rs. 10,000 a month.
The majority of respondents visit the market/malls frequently. They have nearly all the household items, including electronic goods, of an average middle class Indian home. Almost all the male respondents have bikes but only 30 per cent of female respondents possess Scooty. None of the respondents rely on the ordinary antenna to watch terrestrial broadcasts as majority of them have cable connection while others rely on the DTH. All the respondents prefer to watch TVat home. Their viewing pattern reflects that they watch TV almost every day, preferring the evening hours and female respondents spend more time watching TV than male. The male respondents prefer to watch sports, films, documentaries etc. while female respondents prefer to watch serials, films, fashion related shows etc. Most of the respondents like Hindi programmes. Female respondents prefer to watch more TV ads than the male respondents.
The majority of female respondents like TV advertisements and often want to purchase products seen in TV ads.Both female and male respondents feel that the frequency of their purchases increases due to TV advertisements. It was also found that youngsters have positive attitude towards TV commercials. The study suggests that TV advertising has enhanced their involvement in product selection and purchase. They prefer to buy and experiment with new products. They like the advertisements of the products they are already using and believe that the quality of the product is as good as expected from TV advertisements.
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