What Is Advertising?

A Wide Range of Ad Ways

Advertising in its many forms include:
  • Display ads and classifieds in newspapers and magazines, printed brochures, direct mail, phone books, directories, programs and flyers.
  • Commercials on broadcast, satellite and cable TV, and radio "spots." Infomercials, too, are paid advertising -- in case you were too annoyed to notice.
  • Downloadable apps, social media content, and search engine marketing and optimization can all be employed to reach people.
  • Product placement is a subtle form of advertising, with businesses paying for their wares to appear as props in movies and TV shows.  
  • Coupons, sales circulars, point-of -purchase displays, sponsored content on TVs at the checkout counter and music piped through the sound system interspersed with store commercials.
  • Specialty items like pens, clocks, calculators, calendars, fridge magnets, and other items decorated with company logos or slogans.
  • Publicity stunts generating media coverage can also be considered a form of advertising. For example, a Japanese sports drink manufacturer in 2015 plans to deposit a time capsule containing its signature brand on the moon.

Budget and Demographics Determine Approach

The ad campaign a company decides to use -- such as a free pen, a $4.5 million Super Bowl commercial debuting before the big game on television or YouTube, or both -- is routinely determined by the company's budget and the type of customer the company wants to attract. Companies use research such as demographic information -- statistical information about population such as age, gender, income, education and occupation -- to develop advertising that can effectively speak to a particular audience.

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