What is The Difference Between Advertising and Propaganda?

The aim of both advertising and propaganda is to influence people, but their reasons are different. Propaganda is usually done with a political intent. It is often so ‘soft’ or subtle that one hardly notices it. Advertising, on the other hand, is always loud and clear. It seeks our attention both within and outside our homes through a variety of mediums, including the television, radio, telephone, newspapers, and even the signposts on roads. Which commercials are broadcast at what time depends on the audience rating, i.e., how many people are watching a station and at what time. We also see online advertising, for example, on web pages and in spam mails that fill up our mail boxes.

Why is there so much advertising in the television?

Television stations earn money from the commercials they broadcast in a given time. Therefore, a lot of commercials means a lot of money. The same is true for private stations, but they usually do not allow more than 12 minutes of advertising per hour.

Government stations, on the other hand, do not usually survive on commercials alone but also on fees taken from viewers. Advertising time is bought at a high price. The more popular the programme, the more expensive is the commercial slot. The degree of popularity is determined through the audience ratings.

How is audience rating determined?

Audience ratings are important for television stations. These ratings help a station to know how many people are watching its programmes and to determine the price of the commercials accordingly. Audience ratings are determined by organisations doing consumer research. OzTAM is an Australian audience measurement research firm that collects and markets television ratings data. It is the official source of television ratings data for all metropolitan television in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth as well as subscription services.

Various sponsor companies names appear on sports persons and Formula 1 car
Whether a sports channel telecasts Formula 1 racing, football, tennis, or skiing, it invariably involves advertising at regular intervals. Various companies sponsor the sports persons or sports clubs and in return expect that the names of their companies will appear repeatedly on television. Photo credit: SCUDERIA FERRARI

What is the aim of advertising?

The aim of advertising is to inform us about a product and to convince us that we ‘must’ have it. In short, advertising tempts us to buy various products. Advertisers study people’s minds, fix a ‘target group’ for the given product, and work out different ways of attracting and influencing this group.

For instance, the target group for children’s books is mainly the parents because children seldom have the money to buy these products. For a drilling machine,the target group is men above 3o-younger people do not usually use this product. The idea for the advertising campaign is made presentable by copywriters, graphic artists, and cinematographers.

Is advertising legally permitted?

Most of the advertisements we see on television, in newspapers, or around sports stadiums are legally permitted as they are not directly harmful. However, advertisements of harmful or distressful things are usually prohibited in most countries.

Advertisers are not allowed to put in handouts in letterboxes that have the ‘no advertising’ sticker. In most countries, advertising via fax, e-mail, and SMS is also banned, except in cases where someone clearly expresses a desire to receive it. Unfortunately, this rule is often violated.

Are spam mails advertisements?

spam mail as spam spiced ham

Spam mails mostly contain advertisements for money investments or sex articles. These are mass mails that are sent to people selected at random. If you get such mails, you should simply delete them because replying will invite even more spam.

You should also delete all those mails that ask you for your personal data even if these come from known sources. There is always a nefarious sender camouflaged behind these mails. You can protect yourself from spam mails by using a spam filter, which many e-mail providers offer.

What is the purpose of propaganda?

Most politicians resort to propaganda when they want to instil their ideas very strongly and permanently in the minds of the common people. Propaganda is a way of influencing and swaying the masses for political gain. In dictatorship, where a single ruler or single party has all the power, and the citizens are suppressed a lot, political propaganda is always aggressive and one-sided.

Sometimes even the rulers start believing in what they propagate. Newspapers in these countries write only what the dictator permits and the people are denied access to the Internet. Many dictators – such as the ones in Turkmenistan and North Korea – also like to celebrate themselves through propaganda. Huge mass events are organized in their honour.

Thousands gather on the birthday of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong ll. Photo credit: Mirror

Did you know that…

  • Children’s programmes usually do not allow any breaks for advertisements?

  • A 30-second spot in the first commercial break of ‘Who wants to become a millionaire cost 60,000 Euros?

  • The word ‘Spam’, which actually means ‘spiced ham’, was originally the brand name of a particular kind of tinned meat sold in England? Since a widely used American proverb says that anything undesirable is ‘as redundant as tinned meat’, undesired e-mails came to be associated with this thought and are hence referred to as ‘spam mails’.