is Advertising: Manipulative or Informative?

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Far gone are the days when consumers will buy a product just because they happened to come across it in the market; all due to commercials that make a product recognizable to prospective customers and assist them in choosing whether or not to purchase it. An advertisement is an official announcement or notification that is relayed to the public medium in order to market a product, an event, a service, or to publicize a position in a specific job sector. Advertisements can be seen anywhere, from mass newspapers to news channels, televisions, and even radios, and whether we notice them or not, they have been there for a long time. Currently, due to the advent of technology and new products, people are bombarded with countless advertisements on the daily basis of which most people have ended up questioning their validity. To that effect, this essay will evidently discuss why advertisements are more manipulative than informative in the modern world.

Claims Supporting Advertisements to Be Informative

In modern cut-throat competition, most businesses are making use of aggressive advertising methods to push their goods and services in the market. The people who assert that advertisements are more informative than manipulative hold several reasons. Firstly, they claim that ads offer an ideal platform for potential clients to gain access to all the specifications and the needed information about the product they target to purchase ((Andrews & Shimp, 2017). As many business and companies table the characteristics and functions of their product to the customers via the ads, customers get to evaluate whether the product in question is capable of satisfying their needs as intended. Many companies deal in similar products, hence through advertisement, a consumer differentiate between a variety of products in the market from which to choose for their consumption.

The second claim in support of advertisements as being informative is that they let the customers know of a product development as they reach a broad audience. Through the progression and transition of the product, as the claim puts, people get information that outrightly supports the knowledge that was gained earlier on. Aided by the extensive transmission media like newspapers, television, radio and online platforms, the general public is made aware not only of the existence of a product, but also the progressive improvements made on it and how well their needs and wants will be satisfied. Ultimately, the more the target market becomes informed, the more the demand for a product, which prompts the manufacturers to improve the product quality and eventually lower the price leading effective and efficient satisfaction of their needs (Amer, 2013). Nonetheless, the government has imposed censorship measures on ads to control their activities and ensure that they operate as per the intended goals.


To some extent, some of the above claims have some truth in them in that a broad audience get to know the existence of a new product or improvements done on an existing product, and the ads well aid this. Additionally, it is true that there are various government regulations and censorship put in place to ensure that ads adhere to the set regulations. However, some of the points leave more questions than answers. First of all, it is not just out of the blues that the public started asserting that ads had diverted from the role of being informative to manipulating them. That implies that the government has failed on its part to regulate ads. Moreover, despite informing the public on the improvements done on existing products, some of the upgrades are minor with minimal increase in satisfaction of the customer’s wants, yet the ads portray a different and exaggerated information. There is no way a company would invest in a product, spend a lot of money in advertising yet relay information, even if it is the truth, that would, in turn, lure few customers to purchase their product (Danciu, 2014).

Reasons and Evidence of Ads Being More Manipulative Than Informative

Advertisers, being the intelligent people, they are, know that regular ads containing facts seem dull and boring, and thus create fantasies to make the ads appealing to the eyes of the general public. Being in a highly competitive market and fighting hard to fill any existing market niche, manufacturers are willing to use all means possible, using ads as a marketing tool, to attain more significant market share. Over the years, ads have qualitatively evolved from information to admonition to conditioned reflex, then to subconscious suggestion and currently at projecting a symbolic image.

Adverts influence the potential customers and highly contribute to acquisition and action of the product in question. They use several techniques and methods to alter the psychic structures of customers on both unconscious and conscious levels. The intended effect of ads on human psychology is the positive results primarily for the company paying for the ads (Dissanayake & Jayasinghe, 2016). Manipulation effected in the advertisement, is thus, similar to that done on the human subconscious. Once the consciousness is manipulated, the resultant effect is the suppression of the will of other products and the creation of a personality that is dependent. Therefore, ads are strategically used to impose points of view and create specific wishes among the customers.

Currently, it is commonly possible to see an ad that features a public figure and famous personalities like movie stars and famous musicians. Manipulatively, these kinds of ads with celebs are stylized to perfectly fit in the younger generation who respond emotionally to their idols. Countless multinational and local companies dealing with inferior goods and services get their products endorsed by famous people in a bid to scope a more significant market share, and the resultant effects of such an action are disastrous to the end user of the product. Moreover, most of the advertisements continuously employ the remembrance technique which is often persistent, pushy and unwelcome (Villarán, 2017). Statistically, any people are evidently confessed on purchasing a product unwillingly all because of the manipulative effect of ads, with others advocating for mechanisms to block ads to make sound decisions on what they want. With all these points, it is no doubt that these expensive ads do nothing short of manipulating customers to buy exaggerated products and later pay for the expenses indirectly.


With a doubt, advertising has a value in the market and has revolutionized shopping behaviors among people. However, new ads are more of legalized lying with distorted and exaggerated truth, hence are nothing less of fraud. Advertisers use ads as the ultimate way to tickle the emotional side of the public and manipulate them psychologically to give a false “feel good” situation. Buyers, therefore, should play the devil’s advocate by questioning all the ads and not believing them blindly.

Work Cited

Amer, M. (2013). Manipulative advertising and its effects on consumer behavior (Doctoral dissertation, © Lahore School of Economics).

Andrews, J. C., & Shimp, T. A. (2017). Advertising, promotion, and more other aspects of integrated marketing communications. Nelson Education.

Danciu, V. (2014). Manipulative marketing: persuasion and manipulation of the consumer through advertising. Theoretical and Applied Economics, 21(2 (591)), 19-34.

Dissanayake, A., & Jayasinghe, N. (2016). The Psychological Manipulation of Advertising in the Modern World a Discussion of Revealing Advertising as Manipulative or Informative.

Villarán, A. (2017). Irrational advertising and moral autonomy. Journal of Business Ethics, 144(3), 479-490.

January 05, 2023

Business Sociology



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