Advertising can be defined as any paid form of non-personal communication which is directed to the customers or target audience through various media in order to present and promote products, services and ideas. It is a branch of commerce which is used to create awareness for a particular product and it must be paid for.

Advertising informs, educates and persuades people to buy the advertised goods and services.


Basic Concepts of Advertising

  1. Theme: This is the essential message the advertiser wishes to communicate.
  2. Target: This refers to the target audience, i.e ., people the advertisement is aimed at.
  3. Advertising Medium: This is the medium through which the message is passed, e.g. radio, television, newspaper etc.
  4. Frequency: This is the number of time an advert is delivered.
  5. Reach: This refers to the size of the audience that has seen or heard the advert.


Role of Advertising

  1. To Introduce New Product: One of the roles of advertising is to inform customers about the existence of new products in the market, i.e ., creation of awareness.
  2. To Persuade Customers to Buy: Advertising helps in arousing the customers’ interest and by so doing persuades them to buy the product.
  3. Creation of Demand: Advertising stimulates demand by constantly reminding potential consumers about the availability of the product in the market.
  4. To Educate the People on the Uses of a Product: It educates consumers on the usage of the product and the benefits to be derived.
  5. It Promotes the Image of the Firm: Advertising builds a corporate image for a company.
  6. It Increases the Firm’s Turnover: Advertising facilitates sales for a firm, and as a result the turnover and profit of a business may be enhanced.
  7. Development of Large Markets: Advertising creates large market segment which leads to the development of larger markets.
  8. Provision of Technical Information About a Product: Advertising provides information that are needed by the consumers. Such information as quality, price changes and special offers are provided by advertising.
  9. It Helps to Improve the Quality of Goods: Research can be embarked upon to improve quality of products in order to outplay competitors, i.e ., healthy competition can help to improve the quality of products.
  10. To Create Brand Loyalty: The demand of the customers can be maintained by constantly arousing their interest on a particular product and this will ultimately create brand loyalty.



  1. Informative Advertising: This is a kind of advertising which is aimed at disseminating information that will let consumers know what goods and services are available. Informative advertising informs the public about the existence of a product. It also assists the customers to choose between alternatives on offer. It supplies information which are useful to the consumers by calling their attention to a particular product. It also gives information about the benefits and uses of a product. Informative advertising is good for introducing new products or job vacancies.
  2. Persuasive Advertising: This is a type of advertising which tries to persuade customers to buy a particular brand of a product as being different from other brands. Persuasive advertising, which is emotional in nature, is used to induce or arouse consumers’ interest in order to persuade them to buy a particular product. It sometimes lays emphasis on the distinctive characteristics of a product and appeals to people to buy and use a particular product, e.g. medicine, cosmetics etc.
  3. Competitive Advertising: This is a type of advertising which is aimed at persuading customers to buy one brand of product in preference to another brand by another producer. It tries to woo customers to consume a product at the expense of another. Competitive advertising is good for products with close substitutes and it is associated with clear cut competition. It emphasises on the fact that a product is far better than another in terms of quality, e.g.7up and Coke.
  4. Mass and Specific Advertising: This is a type of advertising in which manufacturers of similar products or same commodity come together to jointly advertise their products to the consuming public. They will not lay emphasis on or mention a particular product brand. The major reason is to reduce the cost of advertising. Specific advertising provides information specially on some lines of goods or a particular brand which is unique in nature.



  1. Direct Advertising: Direct advertising is a method of advertising which is aimed at providing information to a section, target market segment or group of people with relatively similar needs. The market will be segmented and advertising will be directed to or targeted at a particular audience or group, e.g. youths, schools, hospitals etc. An advertisement on jeans for instance, must, as a matter of professionalism, be directed to the youths. This method gives direction to the advertising process to avoid wastage.
  2. Indirect Advertising: Indirect advertising is directed to the totality or generality of the consuming public. It is not aimed at providing information to a section or a group but to advertise goods and services consumed by all categories of people, e.g. advertisement on bread, salt, sugar, etc.


Factors Influencing Buying Decisions

A potential customer may be influenced to a greater or lesser extent by a combination of the following factors:

  1. Packaging.
  2. Performance of the product.
  3. Service facilities available.
  4. Channels of distribution and location.
  5. Availability of goods and services.
  6. Opinion of others.
  7. Credit facilities.
  8. Advertising.
  9. Sales promotions which offer special incentives.
  10. Branding and the quality of the product.
  11. Price to the ultimate buyer.



Advertising media are means through which information concerning goods and services are conveyed to the audience, target market or the general public. The various advertising media available to advertisers are:

  1. The press, (newspapers, magazines / journals and books).
  2. Television.
  3. Radio.
  4. Cinema.
  5. Hoarding (Billboards).
  6. Window display.
  7. Catalogues.
  8. Exhibitions and Trade fairs.
  9. Free samples.
  10. Direct mail advertising.
  11. Handbills/ fliers.
  12. Others include Bell ringing, Car stickers, Neon Signs, T. shirts, caps, sign-posts etc.


1) The Press as Advertising Media

The press (newspapers, magazines / journals and books) as advertising media appeal to a general audience because of the extent of circulation which is usually throughout a country and beyond. It provides suitable means of advertising.

  • Newspapers: These exist on daily and weekly basis. There are various types which have national and local coverage and can be bought at cheap prices. They are good for goods and services which are in general use. In Nigeria, Daily Times and The Punch are some of the newspapers with national coverage. Advertisement in newspaper takes two forms-display and classified advertising.
  • Magazines/ Journals: These are on weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. They can be read by any one or certain classes of people or readers in a particular profession. Magazines appeal to the general audience as well as special groups – men, women, sports lovers, etc. In Nigeria examples are Ovation, Christian Women Mirror, Newswatch, The News etc. One major advantage is that it provides fine colour reproductions. Magazine advert is a form of direct advertising because it is meant for selected audience.
  • Books: These provide an excellent medium for product advertising as they are widely circulated and transcend time. They could be targeted at special or general audience, depending on the subject matter of the book.


Advantages of Advertising in the Print Media (Press)

  1. They appeal to general audience as well as special groups.
  2. They have wider coverage.
  3. Pictures of the products are displayed in fine colour reproduction.
  4. They can be stored for many days or even years, hence have relatively long life.
  5. They provide opportunity for daily and continuous advertising.
  6. Print media can be read as many times as possible.
  7. The print media provide opportunity for multiple readership.


Disadvantages of Advertising in the Print Media (Press)

  • Print media appeal to only the literate in the society.
  • They are expensive because of the high cost of advertising.
  • Magazines and journals have low frequency.
  • They lack immediacy.
  • Their flexibility is limited.


2) Television Advertising

Television is a medium of advertising which is audio-visual (oral and visual) attracting the largest audience. It provides certain features like sound, movement and colour.

Television is ideal for advertising products where action is involved or a demonstration is to be made. Some special television programmes can be sponsored by the advertising firms which in turn insert their adverts while the programme is on air or advertisement slots can be placed at intervals on programmes that attract large audience, e.g. Network news at 9pm on NTA. Television advertising is very effective.


Advantages of Television Advertising

  • Television has large audience reach.
  • In this kind of advertising, there is more sensory stimulation as it gives live and direct display.
  • It brings high prestige.
  • The true form and colour of the product can be easily seen.
  • It is ideal for the demonstration of method of usage.
  • Understanding of advertisement is simple and quick for viewers.
  • Television advertising makes it possible to see and hear information about the product at the same time.


Disadvantages of Television Advertising

  • It is the most expensive medium of advertising.
  • There may be wasted coverage.
  • Impulse buying may be misleading.
  • Only people with television can be aware of the product advertised.
  • When there is power cut, advertisement cannot be watched.
  • Photo tricks and exaggeration employed about a product can mislead the viewer.
  • There is no time to convey a lot of information.
  • It is prone to censorship.
  • Television advertisement is transient, i.e ., not long-lasting.


3) Radio Advertising

Radio is a medium of advertising which is oral or verbal and has the widest reach of all the media in Nigeria. Radio signals (messages) are received virtually in all rural and urban areas in Nigeria. Broadcasting is done both in local languages and English and sometimes French languages. Radio advertising uses various catchy phrases and slogans.


Advantages of Radio Advertising

  • It is a very cheap means of advertisement ., it is cheaper than television.
  • It offers good target market selectivity; it is possible to select the required target market by sponsoring a suitable programme.
  • It has widest reception and is widely available.
  • Advertising can be made in local languages for the benefit of uneducated people.
  • It has relatively low cost, when compared with other media like the press and television.
  • It is very flexible; it has the ability to change message quickly.


Disadvantages of Radio Advertising

  • In radio advertising, pictures of the product cannot be seen.
  • It gives short message which may be too brief to have any effect on the consumer.
  • Radio advertising has only audio effect as it appeals to the ears only.
  • There is inadequate data on listening habits which can affect targeting negatively.
  • There is lack of excitement.


4) Cinema Advertising

Cinema advertising employs theatrical films which is a unique medium of advertising. The advertisements are presented before the showing of the film and at intervals.

Cinema form of entertainment in Nigeria attracts large audience among the youths and as such is good for reaching the young adult market with products and services like soft drinks and cosmetics. It has the following characteristics: colour, sound, large screen etc.


Advantages of Cinema Advertising

  • Cinema makes it possible to see and hear information about the product at the same time.
  • Advertisement on cinema is more sensitive and captivating.
  • Since youths constitute the audience, advertisement can be directed to a target group.
  • The advertisement appears in distinctive colours.
  • The benefit of large screen with magnified images make the advertised message more real.


Disadvantages of Cinema Advertising

  • There is low audience reach since many people do not attend cinema house.
  • When there is a cut in power supply, advertisement cannot be watched.
  • Photo tricks and exaggerations about a product can also mislead the viewers.
  • They are not common in rural areas.


5) Hoarding (Billboard) Advertising

Hoarding is a form of outdoor advertising in which large poster painted bulletins that use bright and flashing light and colours are mounted on special structures called hoarding or billboards located at suitable places by the road, market place, roundabout and motor parks, e.g. Afromedia erects structures and leases the space out to advertisers. This provides the advertiser with the largest colourful display of its product.


Advantages of Hoarding

  • It provides very large colourful display of a product.
  • It has good reach and frequency.
  • It is good for creating awareness.
  • There is geographical selectivity.
  • It is effective for illiterates as large colourful pictures can convey the message.


Disadvantages of Hoarding

  • There is limit to the message.
  • There is legal restrictions.
  • It is expensive.
  • It is not possible to get reliable data on the number of people reached by the advertisement.


6) Window Display Advertising

Window display is a form of advertising in which goods are carefully arranged and displayed on window shelves in a shop. The goods displayed behind transparent glasses attract customers which may lead to impulse buying.


Advantages of Window Display Advertising

  • It is appealing and persuasive.
  • It can bring about impulse buying.


Disadvantages of Window Display Advertising

  • It is expensive.
  • It has a limited reach.


7) Catalogue Advertising

A catalogue is in the form of a booklet which contains coloured photographs, features, descriptions and prices of goods produced by a particular company. It is a medium of advertising as it can be sent on request to buyers who will have to choose from different goods presented. The catalogue can be posted or delivered by hand to individual customers.


Advantages of Catalogue Advertising

  • The colouration can appeal to the customers.
  • It enables customers to know about such products.
  • It is persuasive in nature.


Disadvantages of Catalogue Advertising

  • It is limited in circulation.
  • It is expensive to produce.


8) Exhibition and Trade Fair Advertising

Exhibition and trade fairs are avenues for displaying goods to promote sales. They can be held annually and they normally attract national and international exhibitors. Different countries and firms display their goods in their stand, e.g. Lagos International Trade Fair. They. attract a very large audience and enable the product to be displayed, operated, tested, dismantled and adjusted.


Advantages of Exhibition and Trade Fair Advertising

  • It is good for industrial marketing.
  • It enables the product to be displayed, tested and operated.
  • It attracts a very large audience.
  • It attracts international and local producers and customers.


Disadvantages of Exhibition and Trade Fair Advertising

  • It is held occasionally.
  • It is very expensive.


9) Free Sample Advertising

Free sample is a medium of advertising in which the manufacturer distributes samples of its product to members of the public so as to test the products. This is the most effective way of advertising a new product, but it is very expensive.


10) Direct Mail Advertising

Direct mail advertising consists of any advert sent through the mail to specific people. It includes cards, letters, circulars and booklets. Direct mail advertising becomes handy when the advertisement is to be directed to a limited number of people falling into certain defined category. The cheapest medium is often the circular distributed by post. The people to receive the message are selected and communicated to directly.


Advantages of Direct Mail Advertising

  • More information are conveyed.
  • There is high selectivity since the persons to receive the message are selected and communicated to directly.
  • It is the most flexible of all the media of advertising.
  • It is very effective as there is always higher percentage of response.
  • The needs of consumers can be conceived and personalised.


Disadvantages of Direct Mail Advertising

  • It is relatively expensive.
  • It is sometimes viewed negatively.
  • There may be delay in delivery.
  • There may be the problem of selectivity.


11) Handbill / Flier

Handbills are printed leaflets containing information about a product which are distributed to different people at various locations like market place, on the road etc in order to draw their attention to the product or services. This is good for introducing new products.


12) Other Media

Other media like bell-ringing, loud speakers / town criers, car stickers, T. shirts, caps, canvassing and painting of walls with pictures of a product can also create awareness for a product.



  1. Coverage or Extent of Circulation: This refers to the number of people reached by the medium, i.e ., the percentage of a given market covered.
  2. Frequency: This refers to the number of times the same viewer or reader may be exposed to the same advert.
  3. Communication Effectiveness: This refers to the ability of a medium to deliver the impact as desired by the advertiser to the target market.
  4. The Target Audience: The type and social group to which an advertisement is directed and their purchasing power must be taken into consideration.
  5. Cost: The cost of using a particular medium will determine the one to be chosen by the advertiser.
  6. Flexibility of a Medium: This refers to the number of different things the advertiser can do using the same medium, e.g. direct mail allows the enclosure of money, coupons, pencils etc.
  7. Nature of the Goods: The nature of the products will determine the choice of media to be used for advertising.
  8. Geographical Selectivity: This is the ability of the medium to reach out to homes in specific geographical areas such as villages and hamlets.
  9. The Media Used by Competitors: The media used by manufacturers of competing products must be carefully considered before making a choice of medium.



  1. It Helps in Creating Job Opportunities: Advertising creates job opportunities for people working with the advertising agencies and others.
  2. It Provides Information About Features: It helps the producer to explain the use, features and benefits of the product to the consumers.
  3. Reduction of Cost: The cost per unit of goods will be reduced thereby consumers will pay less.
  4. Increase in Profit: Advertising increases the profitability of an organisation.
  5. Higher Revenue: The advertising firms also gain in terms of revenue.
  6. Provision of Information about Existence of Goods: Advertising provides information about the existence of a product.
  7. Improvement in Quality of Goods: It helps in improving the quality of goods as a result of healthy competition.
  8. Increase in Production: Advertising can lead to increase in production as more goods will be demanded.
  9. Creation of Awareness: It helps in creating awareness for a product.


Demerits of Advertising

  1. False and Misleading: Some advertisement may be false and misleading as they make exaggerated claims.
  2. It Leads to Monopoly: Heavy advertising by a dominant supplier may restrict competition by preventing new entries to the market.
  3. High Cost: The high cost of advertising is passed on to the consumer in form of higher prices.
  4. Irrational Appeal: Advertising appeals mainly to the irrational motives in people.
  5. Buyers can Buy Unnecessarily: Advertising encourages buyers to make unnecessary purchases.
  6. Encourages too many Brand: It can encourage too many brand names.
  7. Wasteful: Advertising is wasteful in terms of resources.
  8. Unhealthy Competition: It can lead to unhealthy competition if an advertiser discredits the products of their rivals.
  9. Interference with Consumers Free Choice: It interferes with the free choice of consumers.



Advertising agencies are specialists in the planning, creating and placing of advertisement in the media. The agency functions between the advertiser and the media owners. There are many advertising agencies operating in Nigeria, e.g. Lintas Nig. Ltd ., Rosabel Advertising, Insight Communications etc.

According to the Association of Advertising Practitioners in Nigeria (AAPN), an agency is one which is able to offer client services, creative services, mechanical production and placing of advertisement. In other words, advertising agencies are independent organisations of creative and business people who specialise in the development and preparation of advertising plans, advertisements and other promotional tools.


Functions of the Advertising Agency

  1. The agencies create advertising copy.
  2. They buy air time and media space for advert placement.
  3. The agencies advise clients on advertising strategies and the media to use.
  4. They conduct market research.
  5. They help to assist the advertiser in planning and executing its advertising programme.
  6. An agency’s art department lays out advertising copy.



Advertising is subject to restrictions in various media in order to protect the consumers. Some voluntary and statutory system of control can be applied. These are:

1) Code of Advertising Practice: The code must be accepted by all organisations operating advertising media, e.g. press, cinema etc. The code states that no advertisement contravening it will be accepted.

The advertising code covers the following:

  • Public decency.
  • Exploitation of superstition.
  • Misleading descriptions and claims.


2) Establishment of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria: This is an industry-wide body concerned with the overall regulations and proper conduct of advertising in Nigeria. The AAPN is a member of the council.


3) Establishment of Professional Group: The Association of Advertising Practitioners in Nigeria (AAPN) was established to regulate the practice of advertising. A code of conduct for members and a code of standards relating to the advertisement of medicine and treatment have been developed and put in place for practitioners.


4) Statutory Control: There are many acts of parliament restricting or controlling particular aspect of advertising. Some of the laws affecting advertising are:

  • Trade Description Act 1968.
  • Sales of Goods Act 1893.
  • Indecent Advertisement Act 1889.
  • Copyright Act 1956.
  • Obscene Publication Act 1959.
  • Advertisement Act 1967.

These acts are enacted to protect the consumers.


5) Consumer Education: In order to protect the consumer against misleading advertisement, they must be well educated about the choice of goods and services as well as their rights. This is the reason for the formation of a consumer association.


6) Television Act 1954: This Act attempted to establish control over advertising in such a way that advertisements would be inspected before they are shown to the public.

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