As some folk used to advocate, word of mouth is the best form of advertising. I will concede the validity of this statement in the context of small neighborhoods and villages where everyone knew someone who offered goods or services for sale, and, the fact that back then advertising was very expensive. Essentially, this statement inferred that a satisfied customer would make a referral to someone and hence business would grow.
The number one reason of an advertisement is to convince a person that a particular product or service is the best to the consumer. Advertisement also offers information. In the Caribbean persons always had interesting ways of promoting their goods and services. For instance, phrases such as “buy one get one free”, “for sale”, “on sale” or percentage off on merchandise. Stores also used an initiative known as “invitation to treat” whereby products were displayed in the show window to entice customers to come into the store and make purchases.
The advent of technology has created avenues for producers of advertisement to reach volumes of persons no matter where they are located. The internet, satellite and cable TV have also created cost effective opportunities for persons and companies to have value for money as they can capture a wide demographic worldwide. For example, retailers can obtain informative relative to what a person is interested in by the sites they go on and target them for particular advertisements. Likewise, it is advised to purchase slots during prime time or during when a popular programme or TV show is being aired or televised.
Though it is difficult to gauge the producer’s intent on an advertisement, there is always a meaning in the language that is used. For instance, the slogan “stag is a man’s beer” appeals to masculinity in the Caribbean context and hence they are the intended audience. However, persons who do not consume alcohol but read the slogan is categorized as a viewer. On the other hand, this slogan may create some issues to feminists who may interpret this slogan as gendered bias.
Advertising of items goods and services is never a coincidence. The intent of an advertisement is to gain a lion’s share of the market through persuasion. Language, images, technique and the medium is used purposefully to target a particular group of people.