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Digital media plays a key role in describing current advertising. As a result of accelerated globalization and market liberalization, capitalists have concentrated on goods that not only fulfill emerging desires but rather meet customer demands rather than needs. The category of advertising has now evolved to adapt to the increased consumerism and tastes of the multicultural global audience. However, contemporary advertisers have ignored the counsel of competent service providers who are bound by legal, ethical, and moral principles and is thus unable to indulge in offensive activities. While digital technology has influenced contemporary advertising to focus on new needs and innovations, there is a need to limit aggressive advertising so as to secure the role of professional service providers in the supply chain.
One of the defining characteristic of automobile marketing is the insistence on sophisticated software and hardware functionalities to maximize comfort, safety and speed of the vehicles. In the article, The Growth of the Automobile Industry, Uchil and Yazdanifard argue that “The integration of hardware and software into automobiles might have increased the functionality of the car but has increased the complexity of the machine” (par. 6). Additionally, cars are no longer used for transport only, but are depicted as classy products for powerful people, celebrities and usually have a masculine and feminism rhetoric.
The revolution of digital technology has expanded the genre of advertising and allowed marketers to understand special needs of customers and create tailored content to suit specific market segment. In the case of automobile industry, consumers are attracted to products that meet their individual needs and have therefore rejected standardized products. Samarth Uchil and Rashad Yazdanifard state that digital technology has become an essential part of automobile partly due to globalization, increased competition, and changing consumer preferences (par. 7). The 2016 Hyundai Super bowl commercial that features Hollywood celebrity (Kelvin Hart) can serve as an example. The ad shows how integration of hardware and software has increased complexity of automobile products. It depicts the family relationships of Americans where Kelvin Hart uses car finder software to locate his daughter, justified by the notion that “A dad is got to do what he is got to do” (Video Ad: Hyundai).
Internet has eroded traditional culture of advertising and led to increased admiration of counterculture lifestyle. The culture depicted by contemporary advertisement practices caters for new needs and preferences that are contrary to traditional norms and beliefs. These advertisements promote individualism, humanism, and personal glory over the value of the society they should be promoting. With digital technology, it is faster to purchase goods that appeal to pragmatic and youthful consumers. Globalization has made it increasingly possible to access a wide range of alternative products at affordable prices that satisfy self-esteem needs. Additionally, digital revolution and market liberalization has transformed cultures across the world resulting in multiplied substitutes and alternatives of goods in the market.
Digital technology has facilitated the development of sexuality and gender issues in advertisements. Contemporary advertisements are endowed with thematically rich content on issues of socially constructed gender roles, sexuality, and family structures. In the realm of automobile industry, men are seen in adverts driving huge machines as a show of power and dominance. In the Daihatsu HJET MPV advertisement, marketers explored the theme of sex and masculinity to appeal to consumer’s instincts and inner desires. The ad reads “PICKS UP FIVE TIMES WOMEN THAN A LAMBORGHINI” and depicts a man in the car carrying women (Print Ad: Daihatsu). The target audience is men, which brings the idea that women are there for men to ‘pick up’. The ad is meant to influence customer’s cognition where people perceive information being passed through attention, memory and language.
One of the most challenging tasks in advertising is to distinguish the item being advertised, attract viewer’s attention and keep them glued to the advert. The role of customer’s attention as one of the major cognitive aspects influenced by adverts. Emotional aspect influences people by causing positive feelings. In harmony with these claims, the Daihatsu advert elicits good feelings by making men imagine the experience of having a lot of women in their car. On the issue of masculinity, the ad supports socially constructed gender norms where man is the dominant figure while woman is exposed and subordinated. For example, in the Corolla advert, the values of men’s chivalry and power have been highly promoted. The advertisement demonstrates the needs of modern society for a comfortable, classy and quality lifestyle that can be provided by a high quality Corolla car (Video Ad: Toyota).
The integration of feminine interest is a key component of contemporary advertising. Since the mid-20th century, the social attitudes on the role of women in society have been changed significantly, leading to renewed efforts in gender equality and revisiting of gender roles. The interest has further been promoted by globalization where women can unite, share information and push for political reforms across the world. On the part of capitalists, the need to fit with changing social norms has allowed marketers to embrace narratives that fit feminism agenda. During the mid-20th century, marketers persuaded buyers into taking part in feminism rhetoric by offering products that suggest support for gender equality. It has therefore become a survival tactic to support such movements and ideas so as to remain relevant in the market place.
With digital technology, advertisements are no longer limited to geographical boundaries. Any advert that contradicts feminism rhetoric can cause worldwide uproar and lead to legal and ethical woes for the company. As such, advertisers have become more sensitive about the message they pass. The reaction to gender sensitive advert can be illustrated by the Toyota Corolla advert where two gentlemen are driving when they find a sexually attractive lady by the road (Video Ad: Toyota). The advert is available on YouTube – which has a global dimension- where people across the world can access and consume the message. While viewers expect the two men to stop the car and shower the lady with attention, the driver passes by without stopping. The driver nearly losses control of the car but escapes by a whisker thanks to the high quality of the vehicle. It is then established that it was a man pretending to be woman so as to trap male drivers (Video Ad: Toyota). The advert suggests that it is normal for men in the advertiser’s society to be lured by beautiful ladies they do not know.
Technological innovation has allowed advertisers to provide a skewed reality of the society they live in. The three advertisements are selective in depiction of the America on matters of race, gender and class. However, contemporary advertisements have started showing people of colour in classy lifestyles and living expensive lives, contrary to the previous adverts that focused good lifestyle on white Americans. In the Superbowl advertisement, the three main characters are black Americans and appear to have expensive cars and use car finder technology to solve daily problems. Such a depiction reflects the current condition of racism in US. Black Americans were previously depicted as servants marked with racial stereotyped behaviours.
Digital revolution has renewed the debate on direct-to-customer advertising (DTC). As a result, DTC has flourished with more pharmaceuticals exploiting the strength of social media, email messaging, social networks and website to reach more market across the world. For example, Internet has reinvented the role of professionals who have been left powerless in the supply chain decision making process. In the article “Hidden in plain sight; Marketing Prescription Drugs to Consumers in the Twentieth Century”, Jeremy Greene and David Herzberg note that the growth of direct to consumer advertising has replaced the role of physicians with a more democratic model (793). With Internet, a lot of unregulated and implicit forms of drug promotion have been on the rise, coupled by the growth of anonymous and questionable scientific articles.
Increased consumerism has led to reduced public image for professional service providers. In support of this thesis, Paul Bloom argues that digital revolution has fuelled malpractice suits and consumerism where it is a norm for professionals to use contemporary marketing practices to polish public image and improve client’s satisfaction (102). The development of globalization has pushed a lot of professional to seek profitable marketing solutions. It is common to find newspapers, magazines and websites filled with adverts for accountants, lawyers and health practitioners. Additionally, providers of professional services have employed strategic solutions and extensive marketing research to penetrate more markets and overcome the challenges of global competition.
Ethical restrictions bound professionals from fulfilling consumer wants and therefore unable to exploit emerging preferences and trends to increase profits or raise economies of scale. Private hospitals and legal practitioners are under strict supervision from the national and local authorities and other regulatory bodies. On the other hand, advertisers of goods are have more freedom to adjust prices, scale down offerings and have fewer legal obligations provided they adhere to health and safety requirements. This way, promotion of harmful products such as cigarettes and alcohol using manipulated researches and unverified facts is far less risky than in professional enterprises.
Increased use of digital technology has further facilitated buyer uncertainty. The trend has greatly affected professional marketing since buyers must have great confidence and faith in professional service providers before making purchases. Unlike tangible good such as cars and electronics, professional services lack attributes that buyer can easily recognize and evaluate for making purchase decisions. When buyers purchase new car model, they can easily see its colour, touch it, look at interior design and test its efficiency (Bloom 104). However, professional services cannot be always be tested for quality and requires trial and error. For this reason, experience has become a key marketing factor for professional enterprises.
Most consumers have insufficient information about professional services. Whereas they may accurately recognize the need for professional services, they may be deceived by unreasonable advertisements about professional help and fail to know what to expect. They also lack the necessary technical skills to make the right purchase decisions and fail to assess the importance of credentials that professionals should have. Advertisement of professional services is further complicated by the fact that uncertainty continues after the services has been delivered. Customers without the basic technical skills will find it hard to determine whether quality services have been offered or not. For example, it is hard to decide whether a lawyer pleaded for a case sufficiently or not, and it is even harder to tell whether a surgery was performed thoroughly or not.
Digital revolution has reduced the influence of professional service providers in the supply chain. Professionals employ non-conventional advertising methods that focus on consumers’ behaviour and standard norms. On the contrary, contemporary advertisers of goods have ignored traditional values by pursuing revolutionary approaches while at the same time maintaining previous values of caution and hierarchy. Such approaches are applicable to goods but not to market professional services (Green and Herzberg 8). As a result, capitalists in the professional service have experienced reduced demand due to dull and non-intriguing advertisements. Consumers of professional services continue to feel alienated from advertisements that demand flexible and technologically superior adverts that fulfil their desires.
Digital revolution has increased the number of substitute and alternative goods in the market. It is challenging to distinguish products from those of competitors given that professional services are almost indistinguishable. Nonetheless, professionals have tried to adverse their products suing appealing messages, humorous slogans and labels although such efforts are not sufficient. To address this problem, Paul Bloom states that ”one useful approach is to conduct research on the attributes on the clients or patients think make a particular professional service different from and more attractive than competitors” (109). Professionals can then create powerful advertisements that establish the business as having such desired attributes. The advert must communicate the professional image and create a unique personality that appeals to the people it wants to serve.
The growth of innovative automobile products indicates the role of digital revolution in contemporary advertising. More than ever, marketers have embraced a wide range of solutions to deal with challenges presented by development of internet such as of global competition and diversification of customer preferences. To address the emerging challenges, capitalists have pursued aggressive advertising measures that focus on fulfilling consumer wants instead of sticking to conventional practices. These adverts seem to support a counterculture of individualism, consumerism, youthful lifestyles and improved relationship between the supplier and the customer. Thematic issues of sexuality, feminism, masculinity and gender roles have been integrated into these advertisements. However, too much emphasis in aggressive advertising that focuses on human wants compromised the role of professional service providers who are bound by political and social standards from embracing aggressive marketing approaches.
Bloom, Paul N. "Effective marketing for professional services." Harvard Business Review, vol. 62, no. 5, 1984, pp. 102-110.
Greene, Jeremy A., and David Herzberg. "Hidden in plain sight marketing prescription drugs to consumers in the twentieth century." American Journal of Public Health, vol 100, no. 5, 2010, pp. 793-803.
Print Ad: Daihatsu. (n.d). Daihatsu HJET MPV. Retrieved from http://i.imgur.com/jrVZx.jpg
Uchil, Samantha and Yazdanifard Rashad. The Growth of the Automobile Industry." Journal of Accounting & Marketing, vol. 3, no. 1, 2014, Web.
Video Ad: Hyundai. (2016, February). Hyundai Super Bowl Commercial 2016 Kevin Hart. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch=SJjRD_RmEXM
Video Ad: Toyota. (2010, April). Funny Ads Toyota Corolla. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch=vbsyEI78m5s
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