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Social Marketing and Political Advertising

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April 21, 2017

Social Marketing and Political Advertising

While some people may still focus solely on commercial use when considering advertising, the use of advertising in political and social marketing is also quite extensive. Advertising is a tool to communicate or sell ideas, concepts, and paradigms (Kaid 156). Grier and Bryant stress that social marketing can also help people address various health issues effectively through changing their behaviors (320). Some may think commercial and social or political spheres are too different, making marketing and advertising almost inapplicable across these areas. However, quite the opposite is true as social and political spheres are only one other facet or element within society overall. Therefore, the conventions that exist in the world of commercial advertising can also be used in political advertising and social marketing as well.

One of the major elements of advertising used in the three spheres mentioned above is research. It is essential to understand the peculiarities of the target audience as well as people’s attitudes towards certain ideas or concepts (Grier and Bryant 322). For instance, to make people become more environmentally responsible, it can be helpful to identify the spheres of major concern, the profile of the most and the least environmentally responsible people, and so on. The results from such research can then be used to create successful advertisements and advertising campaigns that will be able to reach the goals that have been set. This type of approach is referred to as consumer-oriented, and is the most widely-used throughout the world.

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It is interesting to note that social marketing, and political advertising in particular, perfectly fit into the modern consumer society. Contemporary society is characterized by a high degree of consumerism, with people often pre-occupied with the material part of their existence. It is this focus on goods and services that has made advertising an indispensable part of people’s lives. People are receptive to advertisements as they have become accustomed to being informed in particular ways (Kaid 156). Therefore, it seems only natural that advertisements will attract significantly more attention than other types of formal discussion or mentioning of a concept or idea. People have been taught to react when they see images and short (and well-thought out) texts.

People see social issues and political figures or forces as a certain kind of product that they are either ready, or unwilling, to buy. Obviously, people see issues differently and pay attention to different aspects and outcomes, as well as having different needs (Grier and Bryant 326). Therefore, political advertising and social marketing try to identify and satisfy people’s needs or, at least, make people believe these needs are, or can be, met. Using certain images and texts, political advertising can promote certain political agendas and figures. The promotion of some social issues, in contrast, is potentially less effective as people may be more concerned about their own personal gains, and the issues being promoted can seem too distant from them. As such, the success of the advertisement or advertising campaign depends very much on the talent and skills of advertisers who may use commercial advertising tricks to promote their social or political products.

In conclusion, it is possible to note that social marketing and political advertising are closely associated with such concepts as consumer society and commercial advertising. People have been taught to see advertising as a communication platform that helps them learn about new products available in all spheres of their life. Social issues and political agendas have also become products that can be promoted with the help of conventional commercial practices. However, this trend can still be seen as positive as advertising helps people, potentially, make the world a better place.

Covert Advertising

Covert advertising is a phenomenon that came into existence in the 20th century. Radio was the platform for this phenomenon’s proliferation (Samuel 52). Covert advertising can be referred to as advertising that is not presented through a separate, bespoke set of images and ideas but rather has a product or message incorporated into different types of entertainment. In simple terms, covert advertising is a mix of advertising and entertainment (Samuel 55). For instance, people participating in shows, or popular film characters, are seen using specific products. The viewer does not have to watch a brief video concerning the product, but the attitude towards a brand or product is developed during that film or program. Viewers can see that their favorite film characters are using certain products, which often then results in the development of a positive image of that specific brand or product.

It is possible to note that covert advertising plays a significant role in modern society. People see others using products and brands and decide to use the same or similar items even though they might not need them. One of the major peculiarities of covert advertising is that it is accepted in a significantly more positive way as compared to conventional types of advertising (Samuel 54). It does not interrupt favorite programs or films as it is integrated into them. In many cases, this type of advertising affects people’s consciousness while traditional advertisements are viewed critically and people can consciously resist their message. In simple terms, people might not trust pure advertisements but, at the same time, they are not always even aware that some products are being promoted while they are watching their favorite TV shows.

Clearly, this covert effect is an influential tool of brand promotion. The story of the brand is constructed while celebrities, as well as fictional characters, use them. Interestingly, people are also involved in the process of brand development and promotion since they, too, also become promoters of products, brands, ideas, and so on when they start to use them. Samuel notes that popular culture and consumer culture are becoming indistinguishable (55). Social networks often become the platform for brand promotion implemented by consumers. This is the platform where popular culture and consumer culture merge. People focus on material things and such social networks as Instagram and Facebook help in the promotion of brands. It is possible to describe a brand’s cultural lifecycle in the following way: covert advertising introduces the brand into the culture; people get interested and start using the brand and showing it off via social networks; the popularity of a brand makes celebrities and people involved in show business interested, and celebrities, as well as filmmakers, start using the products and brands.

In conclusion, it is possible to see that covert advertising has become one of the most potent constituent parts of the modern consumer culture. People do not pay attention to it and take it for granted. Products, brands, and ideas are promoted through conventional advertising campaigns as well as through covert advertising. So, Batman can start driving a Porsche, and Ironman will wear Breguet exclusively. No one will be surprised when these (and hundreds of other brands) become hits of social networks where people like to show off popular items. Conventional advertising tools will still be used, of course, but covert advertising is becoming a new norm in the business world and in modern consumer and popular culture. People involved in brand management should, therefore, understand that and use the most advanced tools of promotion available.

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Works Cited

Grier, Sonya, and Carol A. Bryant. “Social Marketing in Public Health.” Annual Review of Public Health, vol. 26, no. 1, 2005, pp. 319-339.

Kaid, Lynda Lee. “Political Advertising.” Handbook of Political Communication Research, edited by Lynda Lee Kaid, Mahwah, 2004, pp. 155-203.

Samuel, Lawrence R. “Advertising Distinguished as Entertainment.” Television Quarterly, vol. 34, no. 2, 2004, pp. 51-55.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, December 9). Social Marketing and Political Advertising. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/social-marketing-and-political-advertising/

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "Social Marketing and Political Advertising." December 9, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/social-marketing-and-political-advertising/.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Social Marketing and Political Advertising'. 9 December.

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