What is Advertising? Definition, Features, Types, Objectives, Examples

What is Advertising?

Advertising is any paid form of promotional activity done by an individual person or organization to inform the target market about the product and service or to make them take certain actions, especially by an identified sponsor.

For example, you attended a party with your friend, you see a gorgeous girl, and your friend goes to that girl & points at you telling her. He is very rich, marry him. “That’s Advertising.

Advertising is generally a non-personal form of paid promotion of any idea, product, or service. Where the audiences can not make a direct interaction. Today the advertisement can be done in radio, newspapers, magazines, social media, websites, and so on.

By Philip Kotler, “Advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation of ideas, goods, and services by an identified sponsor.”

Advertising is paid persuasive form of communication. Advertising has a significant role in successful marketing campaigns and in the achievement of the business firm’s marketing objectives.

It uses a variety of nonpersonal mass media to reach a broad range of customers. As compared to other forms of promotion, advertising has a dominant role in any business organization because it can reach and influence a larger number of customers at a given period.

In addition, it can be used in many forms, used for a variety, and occurred in several media. Advertising fulfills the objectives undertaken by the promotion, it can substitute for personal selling, and it can be complement personal selling. As such without advertising promotional strategy of any business firm becomes less effective and most often, ineffective.

The uses of advertising can be of various reasons such as for the promotion of the product and organization, to win the competition, to call the attention of the market, to create demand for the product, to introduce a new product in the market, and so forth.

Features of Advertising

The primary features or characteristics of advertising can be mentioned as below,

Mass Communication. Advertising is a mass communication medium because it tries to communicate to a large target audience at a time. For example, you can see an advertisement on google, Facebook, or any big social platform where through a single advertisement a large number of customers are targeted at a time.

Informative In Action. It seeks to disseminate adequate information to the target market or readers, listeners, and any viewers about the several aspects of the business and its products and services features and other related matters. Hence, advertising is informative in action.

Persuasive Act. Advertising contains a persuasive message. It aims at persuading people to buy or use the business firm’s product or service. It tries to direct the attitude and actions of the target market towards the company’s offers.

The question may arise, how the persuasive act of the advertising change the attitude of the customers can and brings them to the company’s prodcut. The persuasive act calls for the logical process, which is called AIDA, which means

  • A = Drawing Awareness/Attention
  • I = Creating Interest in the consumer’s mind.
  • D = Arousing Desire for the intended prodcut or service.
  • A = Converting Desire into Action i.e. buying the prodcut or service for the fulfillment of the desire.

Competitive Act. Today’s business world is the world of business competition. Competiton is the very keen in the market in terms of price, quality, service, performance, etc. Every business firm or marketer wants to win that competition, so today advertising is mostly used as a competitive weapon.

Paid Form of Communication. Advertising is a paid form of communication, it can not be done free of cost, it involves certain costs. In the process of advertisement, the advertising sponsor has to make certain payments to the advertising agency or media owner for publishing an advertisement copy in the desired form.

Identified Sponsor. A sponsor can be a person or organization who contributes some money while sponsoring some event or something. Either the producer himself or dealer on behalf of the producer sponsors each advertising. The identity of the sponsor is known through his name, logo, or brand. The advertiser does not want to hide his name because it is a matter of public relations.

Non-Personal Communication. Advertising is a non-personal communication. In the advertisement, the advertiser does not make face-to-face contact with the target market to communicate the company’s message. He uses convenient and viable media or sources to communicate his message.


The major types of advertising can be mentioned as follows,

Product Advertising

Product advertising focuses on the company’s primary product or brand. Almost all consumer and industrial product marketers carry this form of advertisement.

Product or brand advertisement is the most visible type of advertising, which focuses on the development of long-term brand identity and image.

product advertising

Service Advertising

Advertisings related to the service sector are termed service advertising. It focuses on non-visible attributes of a product such as activities, benefits, or satisfactions offered. It could be public service-related and private service-related.

It is usually created for free and the media often donate the space and time. However, commercial services such as advertising of luxury hotels, airlines, banks, insurance companies, are not free.

service advertising

Local or Retail Advertisings

Local or retail advertising focuses on the retail store, where a variety of products can be purchased or where a service is offered.

In such advertisings, the message announces products or brands that are available locally, stimulates local traffic, and tries to create a distinctive image for the store. It emphasizes price, availability, location, and hours of operation.

Political Advertising

Politicians to persuade people to vote for them usually use the types of political advertisings. These days, this advertising has been popularly used worldwide. It is concerned that, it focuses more on images than issues.

political advertising

Institutional Advertising

Institutional or corporate advertising focuses basically on the institution’s own story to build up an image of itself in the public mind. It provides a message to the public, which helps to establish a good corporate identity or image.

Directory Advertising

It provides a message to the people how to find and how to buy a product or service. The most popular form of directory advertisement is “yellow pages”. For example, Global-biz Yellow Pages.

Direct Response Advertising

It provides opportunities to the clients to respond directly to the company or advertiser by telephone or direct mail.

Business To Business Advertising

It is directed at traders or business people who buy products for reproduction, resale, or institutional facilities, such as retailers, wholesalers, and other distributions, as well as industrial purchasers. It is placed specially in business publications or professional journals.

Interactive Advertising

It is delivered to the individual consumers through which they can interact with the customers. In this case, advertisings are delivered via web pages, banners, newspapers, magazines. Consumers can respond to the advertisements, modify them, expand them, or ignore them.

Global (International) Advertising

It is a type of advertising that aims for customers all over the world. The main objective of it includes – keeping up the worldwide corporate image to reduce production and creative costs, to avoid message confusion in international areas of media overlap.

Media of Advertising

The major media of advertisings include,

Press or Print

It includes the advertisings done through printed media like newspapers, journals, or magazines. It is the most important media among all. The print or press media is also classified into newspaper media and journals & magazines.

Audio or Radio

It generally includes radio advertising. Before the use of television in this field, radio was the major mass media appealing to the whole community that includes both literate and illiterate groups.

It is still playing an important role in advertisement campaigns. There are five types of radio advertisings i.e. through strength appeal, dialogue, drama, music, and integration of these all. It is a personal medium that gives human touch.


It includes both television and film advertisements. Both of these media provide entertainment to the viewers through the combination of sound and visual pictures. It has a deep impact on customers, gives more entertainment, and is more selective and flexible.


As per this advertisement, goods on the like are displayed beautifully to assist the salesmen in their function. It can attract the attention of the prospects and arouse their interest.

In this type of advertisement, goods and the like are properly displayed in shops, windows, fairs & exhibitions, walls, sky, electric signs, etc.

Jewelleries, handicraft products, etc. are generally displayed in the windows to attract tourists. Some marketers arrange their store with lighting and beautiful colors objectively.


It is also called webpage, online, or internet advertisement is a method of promoting a firm’s goods and services to the mass customers through personal websites or through commercial websites.


The primary objectives of advertising are mentioned as follows,

i. Support to Personal Selling – A firm’s promotional objective can not be achieved only through personal selling. To achieve such objective other promotional activities should be done along with personal selling. Here, advertisement helps personal selling.

ii. Reach To Mass People – It is the process of non-personal and mass communication. It aims at reaching mass people at a single effort, which is not possible by personal selling.

iii. Attract a new Marketing Segment – It is also done to attract new customers who can be potential customers of the firm in the future.

iv. Promotion of New Product – Before launching the new product in the market consumers should be well informed about the use and benefits of the product. Advertising aims to fulfill this objective.

v. Improve Dealer Relation – Wholesalers and retailers usually want advertisements to be done by producers, while producers want support from them. Therefore, by sharing this responsibility the relation of the firm with dealers can be improved, and sometimes such a relationship can be maintained by taking responsibility by the firm itself.

vi. Expand the Use of the Product – It may lengthen the season for a prodcut. For example with the help of massive advertisements – ice cream and cold drinks can be marketed in the winter seasons too.

vii. Brand Patronage – Suitable advertisings, in the long run, aim to develop brand loyalty and build up company goodwill in the market by influencing consumer positivity.

viii. Expand Company Sales – The ultimate objective of advertising is to expand company sales and profitability by,

  • Motivating consumers to immediate buying decisions,
  • Building prodcut and company image,
  • Educating consumers about the uses and benefits of the product,
  • Developing relations with dealers, wholesalers, and retailers, etc.

Examples of Advertisement

It is obvious that today we are surrounded by the numbers and different types of advertisements every day. Everywhere we go we find some sort of advertisement either it is offline or online like Facebook, google.

We all know how advertisements look like. However, here I have placed an advertisement of Coca-Cola which I felt that one of the best advertisements I have ever seen.

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