Effectiveness of TV essay

Hard-sell and soft-sell advertising, product endorsement, pester power. 

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  • Created on: 10-06-14 11:11
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The role of TV is more than just to entertain, it's also expected to play an important role in shaping our
attitudes, beliefs and our behavior. Two ways in which TV can influence behaviour are: advertising and
link to consumer behavior and to enhance health awareness and lifestyle.
TV and advertising have been used as a means of persuading viewers to buy a product or service.
Research has focused on the effectiveness of advertising by looking at how it has shaped consumer
behaviour, although this is usually measured in terms of how much consumers like the product after
advertising rather than whether they have actually bought it.
Advertisers sometimes refer to the distinction between central route and peripheral route as soft sell
(subtle and creative persuasive techniques) and hard sell (factual information about a product).
Studies have found that hard sell and soft sell approaches had different effects on different people.
People who scored highly on a test of `self monitoring' (i.e. Regulating their behaviour so that they
would be perceived by others in a favourable manner) had more favourable attitudes to soft sell
advertisements. People low in self monitoring (i.e. less image conscious) preferred more factual, hard
sell approaches.
For product endorsement, celebrities are used to provide a familiar face ­ a reliable source of
information that we feel we can trust because of the `parasocial' relationship that we have built up with
that celebrity.
Celebrities are also seen as a neutral source of information and so perform the function of `rubber
stamping' the advertiser's claim. However other researchers argue that in general, celebrity
endorsements were not regarded as overly convincing or believable, with perceived credibility and
expertise of the endorser being the two `source' characteristics with the greatest influence on any
consumer purchase intentions.
However this may be criticised by other research, student participants were more convinced by a TV
endorsement from a fictional fellow student when buying a digital camera than by one from a
celebrity. The researchers claimed that young people like to make sure their product is fashionable
among people who resemble tem, rather than approved by celebrities.
It is a commonly accepted belief that advertising to young children increases the degree to which they
`pester' their parents (and other) for the products they have seen on TV. Researchers studied the
relationship between the amount of commercial TV watched and the number of advertised items on
children's letters to Santa. There was a strong positive correlation!! Children's Christmas gift requests
(the number of items on their letters to Santa) in the US and Sweden were compared. In Sweden, TV
advertising aimed under 12's is banned by law. They found significantly fewer gift requests among
Swedish children than among children from the US. Although there are a number of possible
explanations for this cultural difference, the researchers suggest that the lack of direct advertising to
Swedish children is a strong candidate. However, this correlation was stronger for children who
watched TV on their own than for those who watched with their parents, suggesting that parents
somehow mediate in the relationship between advertisement and subsequent behaviour. It is then
impossible to confidently predict a direct causal relationship between exposure to advertisements and
subsequent consumer behaviour among children.
A critique of measuring the effectiveness of advertisements is that researchers' measures how much
viewers like a product after viewing, or their intention to buy the product as a measurement of how
effective a TV advertisement is.
But this is a major problem in this type of research as what is being measured in not the actual
behaviour (product purchase) but a related attitude (liking, intention) this may or may not lead to a
The reason TV and cinema advertising have been so successful is due to the fact that their adverts
generally have a captive audience. However, unlike cinema audiences, TV audiences have more options

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