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The Impact Of Advertising On Consumer Brand Preference Marketing Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 3078 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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There is a strong relation between advertisement and consumer behavior which has been a topic of many studies and debates over the years. Questions such as, 'How does advertisement effect consumer behavior?" "What about the advertisement matters most in effecting consumer behavior?" or the most simple of them all, "How important is advertisement?" have been volleyed across marketer to marketer in attempt to reach the best way to get to a consumer's head. And what exactly is it that they (the marketers) want out of the consumers? Well, to buy their products of course.

This paper is not only a research upon consumer behavior but also the role advertisement content plays in shaping it. To narrow things down, in order to give a better and more familiar demonstration, it focuses on the telecommunications advertisements and determine exactly what part of those advertisements have what kind of effect on the consumers brand preference.

In Pakistan, perhaps the most active and competitive advertising is done in the telecommunications sector. Each company has their own special blend of ad content and their own distinct effect on the consumers. From the slapstick humor used in Ufone ads to the rich and heavily celebrity endorsed advertisement produced by Mobilink, each company adopts a way of using certain elements in their advertisements which pave way for a certain type of consumer following. This paper determines what type of ad content actually does effect consumer behavior and in what way.

There are number of factors present in an ad that influences consumers' perception about a brand and eventually change their brand preference. This research, however, focuses on five major factors that are: interest factor, psychological relevance, economic relevance, logos & mascots and celebrity endorsement and their impact on changing consumers' choice for a mobile connection.

Background of the topic

Advertising is a form of communication proposed to persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners) to buy or take some action upon products, ideas, or services. It usually includes the name of a product or service and how that product or service could benefit the consumer, to persuade a target market to purchase or to consume that particular brand. Commercial advertisers, as in the case of telecommunication sector, often intend to generate increased consumption of their products or services through branding, which involves the repetition of an image or product name in an effort to associate related qualities with the brand in the minds of consumers.

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Historically, Out-of-home advertising and billboards are the oldest forms of advertising. However, with the passage of time, as education became an essential need and people learned to read and write, marketers used print Ads to reach out to its audience at a low cost. . Originally used in the creation of shop signs, advertisement took a revolutionary at the onset of the 21st century, an age bursting with new technologies (Max Web Design, May, 2008). With mediums such as the radio, television and internet to be projected from, the products were no longer differentiated only by their attributes but also by the benefits that they would give to the consumers. These benefits were made aware of by advertisements.

Advertisements used in today's world are creative and innovative. Marketers have started thinking out of the box and are coming up with new ideas to create a better perception in minds of the consumers and impress them to buy their products. Nowadays there is a very special emphasis on the content of the advertisements. Advertising is content and content is advertising (Tech Dirt, 2008). There is no such thing as just 'advertising' anymore. It needs to have content that will attract the potential consumers towards it, make them contemplate upon it, change their opinions and eventually make them put forth a purchase intent. The only way to capture the consumer's attention like this is to make the advertisement entertaining, interesting and relevant.

The second part of the research focuses on consumers' buying behavior and their brand preference in the telecommunication sector. Consumer behavior is "The study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society". Consumer behavior is the study of when, why, how and where people do or do not buy a product. It deals with psychology, sociology and economics and attempts to understand the buyer decision making process both individually and in groups. Consumer Brand Preference is the measure of brand loyalty in which a consumer will choose a particular brand in presence of competing brands, but will accept substitutes if that brand is not available.

Importance of the study with respect to the world

Like mentioned earlier, ad content has a significant effect on consumer behavior. Ad content includes components varying from the logo or jingle to the perceived credibility of the corporation or celebrity endorser. There are many other variables that fall in between, effecting consumer behavior aspects such as consumer judgment, perceptual mapping, product evaluation and purchase intent.

Although technology has helped marketers a lot in making the most innovative of ads it brought with it some external problems. This gives marketers even more reason closely determine the perfect blend of ad content to get the attention of their appropriate consumers as failure to do so could result in the loss of potential consumers and huge amounts of money spent in advertisements that proved unsuccessful.

The managerial concerns for such a research are that it will help marketers determine what part of ad content appeals most to their target audience. This is extremely important in addressing questions such as: Should we use humor or curiosity in an advertisement aimed at teenagers? What type of celebrity should we have endorsing our product? Would a mascot be effective in getting to our consumers or a catchy jingle? How frequently should we have our ad running to assure maximum viewership?

The academic concerns of such a research are that it may open room for further refined researches for the purpose of determining how much ad content matters and what effect will have it on consumer behavior. It will prove to be helpful in the field of advertising and as well as in the field of consumer behavior.

Importance of study with respect to Pakistan

Pakistan is considered as an emerging market; due to trends of globalization, establishment of multi-national companies; advertisement has undergone drastic changes in the recent years which has a great impact on the attitudes and beliefs of the consumer. With cut-throat competition among brands and drastic advancements in technology, marketers need to think out of the box and come up with more innovative ways to reach out to consumers and grab their attention. Today, the non-traditional marketing and creative solutions may be looked upon as a lesser form of marketing by both the client and the ad agencies, but it is important for this mindset to change if they are to exploit the full range of possibilities available to build well rounded and successful brands in this increasingly over crowded marketplace. Brands in the future would need liberating, re-defining brand ideas, which would matter more than the form in which they appear.

For this reason, it is of great significance for the marketers in Pakistan to know what is it in an ad that would affect consumers' mindset the most and how to make an ad more interesting or attractive so that it remains in minds of consumers for longer period of time and convince buyers to choose their brand over others. The study helps in determining how people relate to an ad and what content they are most interested in.

Telecommunication sector in Pakistan is currently dealing with immense competition. Brands are coming up with advertisements on daily basis in response to each other's ad campaigns. When one brand launches an ad with offering special packages, the other brands find a similar or different way of re-bounding by offering more benefits than that brand. In such a case, the study would help determine which brand uses what tactics in ads that proves as a secret to its success and where does it lack.

Research Question

"The Impact of Advertisement Content on Consumer Brand Preference in Telecommunication Sector of Pakistan"



The authors review several journal articles and books to establish what should be known about how advertising affects the consumer and how it works. They first figure out classification of models, discuss the theoretical principles of each class of models, and sum up their empirical findings. They then produce five generalizations about how advertising works and suggest directions for further research. Advertising effects are classified into intermediate effects, for example, on consumer beliefs and attitudes, and behavioral effects, which relate to purchasing behavior, for example, on brand choice (Vakratsas et al, 1999). The generalizations propose that there is little support for any hierarchy, in the sense of temporal sequence, of effects. The authors recommend that advertising effects should be studied in detail, with affect, cognition, and experience as the three dimensions. Advertising's positioning in this space should be determined by perspective, that explains advertising's goal diversity, product category, competition, other aspects of mix, stage of product life cycle, and target market.

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The recent advancements in technology and growing need for communication among people in the country has led to cut-throat competition in the telecommunication sector for increased market share among all cellular service companies. When competition is intense and the consumers are faced with brand choice in the market, it becomes essential for the manufacturers to understand the major factors that can attract the attention of buyers to his own brand. These then form the foundation for marketing panning and action. Ayanwale et al (2005) examined the role played by advertising in influencing consumer's preference for Bournvita, which is one of the leading food drinks in the Food and Beverage industry in Nigeria. Results revealed that both male and female and different age groups were equally influenced by advertising in their preference for the brand. The major reasons for the preference are its appealing advertising (42.62%) and rich quality (40.16%). TV advertising was most preferred by 71.43% of the respondents of all the media used in advertising Bournvita. The need for high preference to advertising is therefore highlighted for companies that want to not only keep hold of their market but also take constructive steps to increase their market share.

Telecom companies recently have started using comparative advertising as a means of assuring consumers how their brand services are better than those offered by others. Comparative advertising is seen as a useful way of conveying the differentiating advantages of a brand. Many studies show that a major effect of comparative advertising is to lead consumers to relate the advertised brand with the competitor brand identified within the ad: it seems that comparison generates perceived similarity among brands instead of differentiation, per se (Soscia et al., 2010). The research investigates the relative effectiveness of comparative and non-comparative advertising in communicating the differentiating attributes of a brand. A two independent group experiment was conducted. Two hundred and eighty participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions in which they were exposed to a comparative or a non-comparative print ad. Results show that comparative advertising's effect depends on consumers' perceived differentiation among the brands and consumers' level of involvement with the specific product category. Findings reveal that high involvement consumers that perceive low differentiation among brands represent the perfect target group for comparative advertising in case the aim of the marketing manager is to differentiate a particular brand among the others. This study provides information about the relevance of these two moderating factors: not all customers belonging to a product target group perceive comparative advertising equivalently. As a result, marketers should apply the advertising strategy which is more likely to be effective considering the characteristics of the main target.

How advertising practices should adjust and alter in order to effectively engage new media consumers? Recently, branded content has attracted a lot of attention as an incorporated technique that is potentially well matched to nationally and internationally recognized brands (Donaton 2004). Spurgeon (2005) considers 'conversational' interaction with consumers as another technique that has been effectively used to market new media usage, most notably to drive consumer adoption of mobile phone data services. It also highlights the international significance of the mobile phone as an immensely popular new media platform, but one which has generally developed "under the radar" (Bond 1998) of much academic and trade literature.

Different advertising effects on purchase behavior of consumers of varying brand loyalty are investigated. In a frequently purchased product class, consumers of high loyalty increase brand and product purchase when advertising for that brand increases. Little switching occurs from competitive brands into the advertised brand. At low loyalties there is little impact. Effects of increased advertising carry over for a few months after advertising is lowered back to normal levels.

Would regular users of established brands be susceptible to the influence of advertisements that are repeated more than the competition, even if they have heard the advertisements before? The authors conducted an experiment to find out. They paid careful attention to ecological validity and accurate preference measurement, designing an experiment to measure the incremental effect of advertising repetition on awareness, preference shifts, and brand choice. They discuss the results of the experiment in terms of implications for managers, further research on advertising repetition, and theory development.

Perhaps the most obvious factor affecting consumer behavior is the attention grabbing element of the ad itself. In an age where zipping and zapping has become somewhat of a recurring threat for the marketers, it's important to make an ad that is worth the consumer's time. Factors such as humor, curiosity element, pleasure, novelty, surprise, and uncertainty had a great impact on the advertising viewing time (T. Olpey, M. Holbrook, R. Batra, 1991). Maximum attention was paid when novelty, surprise and uncertainty were involved (T. Olpey, M. Holbrook, R. Batra, 1991). These factors, among others, play a role in influencing the recall of an ad (R. Goldsmith, B. Lafferty, S. Newell, 2000).

'Ad content that portrays peripheral brand associations such as package logo, colour or mascot depicts a relatively superficial basis of fit'(V. Lane, 2000). Logos and Mascots are two most significant types of peripheral brand associations and play an important role in influencing extension attitudes through heuristic or conditioning processes in a manner similar to that of other peripheral cues in ads (V. Lane, 2000).

Another very commonly applied tactic by advertisers is the usage of celebrities within their advertisements. Celebrities are often used as endorsers or spokespersons to influence consumers' attitudes and purchase intentions (R. Goldsmith, B. Lafferty and S. Newell, 2000). And why wouldn't they? People look up to celebrities as the perfect human beings, idol or even demi-gods in some cases. But the thing that really effects the consumers is the perceived credibility of the endorser (R. Goldsmith, B. Lafferty and S. Newell, 2000). Endorser credibility is one thing, another is corporate credibility which is the reputation of the company itself for its honesty and expertise (R. Goldsmith, B. Lafferty and S. Newell, 2000).

Overall, the results conclude that advertising plays a very significant role in changing consumers' brand preference for a mobile connection. The content and information in the advertisement leave an effect on the minds of the consumers and persuade them to buy that particular product.

The two contents in an advertisement that influences consumers' brand preference the most are Interest Factor and Celebrity Endorsement. This means that if an Ad is interesting enough to grab consumers' attention through humor or element of curiosity or surprise, it is likely that the brand will be successful in persuading people to buy its product. However, humor is considered the most significant factor in making an Ad interesting, more than curiosity or surprise. Advertisements that have glamorous celebrities in it would also attract consumers and affect their buying behavior. This is because people are usually inspired and influenced by famous personalities and they look up to them. Therefore, they would believe them more and would probably buy a brand only because of their favorite celebrities.

People might or might not buy a brand if its Ad has psychological or economical relevance. Emotional, nostalgic, rational and intellectual ads do influence people psychologically but that does not necessarily mean that it would change or affect their buying behavior. Similarly, special offers and price of the brand shown in Ad do add economical factor to that brand for consumers but it might or might not influence their buying decision of a mobile connection.

Lastly, logos & mascots are helpful in recalling or recognizing a brand but it does not necessarily means that the recognition would make consumers buy that brand eventually.


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