The 5 principles of advertising

What are the basic principles of advertising?

Advertising activities are subject to five principles: Truth, Clarity, Originality, Effectiveness, and Profitability. Especially the first two, truth and clarity, can have legal consequences. Accordingly, untrue and unclear advertisements are considered misleading advertising.

Advertisers and marketers spend a lot of time and money to create an advertisement whose target audience will be persuaded to buy their product or service.

An advertisement is a type of communication used to persuade consumers to purchase the advertised product or service. It usually uses visual images, audio, or video in combination with text-based messages to market products, brands, ideas, or services.

5 Principles of advertising

Truth as a principle of advertising

Advertising messages legally and ethically must not contain untruths or deceptions. In this context, even the concealment of important information is considered misleading.

Advertisers must therefore be aware that it is not only a principle but even a legal framework condition. However, advertisers should ask themselves whether it makes sense to advertise a product that has to conceal truths in order to attract customers.

The principle of truth becomes especially clear in the health industry or with products/services that can trigger addiction. For example, so-called disclaimers/safety warnings are inserted in the case of medications, alcoholic beverages, or sports betting.

Principle of clarity

The basic advertising principle of clarity is closely related to truth. As already mentioned, advertising messages are subject to the obligation to be true and clear. Under no circumstances may they be misleading or so unclear as to cause negative consequences for the potential customer.

Originality of advertising

Advertising should be unique and original. This is partly for reasons of effectiveness but also for legal reasons. 

Especially in times of online marketing, campaigns should be original. Target groups recognize very quickly when parts of an advertisement are copied or imitated. 

Of course, there are certain elements that are always built into advertising materials such as emotions and humor. But if a fast-food restaurant makes a campaign about a certain event, and another fast-food chain does the same a few weeks later, this will quickly be put into context. (The fast-food example was chosen arbitrarily).

Principle of advertising effectiveness

Advertisers should always be aware of the effectiveness of a campaign. Are the available resources distributed in the best possible way? Nowadays, the effectiveness of advertisements can be measured very easily. However, goals should be defined in advance and compared to.

The advertising principle of profitability

In close connection with effectiveness, advertising should follow the principle of economic efficiency. This means that the cost of advertising should be less than the revenue generated from it. To measure and compare profitability, the Return on Ad Spend can be calculated for each campaign, as well as entire Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

Traditional vs Modern Advertising

Modern marketing is not about the message you send out, but rather the conversation it starts.

Traditional marketing focuses on the product being sold which leads to a one-way conversation from the company to the customer. The novelty of a product is communicated by ways of traditional media channels such as print, radio, and television.

In modern marketing, it’s possible to communicate with customers on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. In this way, relationships can be built with customers through online conversations. A modern marketer will engage in a two-way conversation with their customers and listen to what they have to say.

Five key steps of successful advertising campaigns

In addition to the principles of advertising, there are also key principles of how a campaign should be conducted effectively. 

Advertising is an art that has evolved over the years. It existed in different types of advertising and media such as print, radio, television, etc. But, has also become more sophisticated and measurable over time.

The key steps of successful advertising campaigns:

  1. Identify the target audience
  2. Creating a message tailored to the audience
  3. Selecting a medium for the campaign
  4. Develop a budget (test and long-term)
  5. Monitor and measure success

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