Propaganda as a Business Concept

Advertisers employ propaganda to persuade consumers to spend money on something they deem ‘attractive.’ These strategies are very effective when put to use properly. Several top brands have used them in the past and are also using them currently in their ad campaigns.

Propaganda is the dissemination of information—facts, arguments, rumours, half-truths, or lies—to influence public opinion. Deliberateness and a relatively heavy emphasis on manipulation distinguish propaganda from casual conversation or the free and easy exchange of ideas.

Advertising as used today is primarily a type of propaganda. The essence of propaganda is that it conditions people to act in a way favourable to or desired by the propagandist. It deliberately attempts to influence, persuade, and convince people to act in a way that they would not otherwise act.

How Is Propaganda Used in Advertising? Advertisers use persuasive techniques to try to convince people to buy their products. One example of propaganda in advertising is the use of fear tactics. Advertisers may try to convince people that they need a certain product in order to avoid a negative outcome.

Propaganda vs Advertising

Advertising encourages your desire for consumer goods, services and ideas using suggestive images and captions. However, the motivation to buy what is advertised may stem from the belief promoted by propaganda. Through advertising, propaganda influences you emotionally to buy certain products, services and ideas. Advertisers use your latent desires to be rich, better looking or more popular to “direct” your purchasing habits. Propaganda is used by advertisers to influence consumer spending by presenting what is “desirable.”

What is Advertising?

Advertising uses multimedia techniques to promote products, services and ideas through a variety of different venues. Although mostly factually correct, advertising is formatted to persuade its audience to try its wares. Advertising permeates our culture in newspapers, magazines, the Internet, billboards, television and shopping malls.

Through sensational, graphic displays, advertising promises consumers that using the products, services and ideas presented will change their lives for the better. The exaggeration of the facts in advertising is a technique used to influence the minds of consumers to change their spending habits and generate revenue. Hyperbole is also used in propaganda to actively influence opinions and social mood.

What is Propaganda?

Advertising and propaganda are both powerful media tools that are often hard to differentiate. The massive amount of consumer data available today challenges traditional advertising to take their tactics to the next level, according to Rebus. Propaganda in advertising is similar to advertising in that it employs the same multimedia formats in order to spread its message. However, unlike advertising, propaganda does not try to encourage the sale of a product, service or idea. Similar to a sales campaign, propaganda is a visual presentation used to change public attitudes about a particular person or subject. Propaganda that influences systems of education has the most lasting effect.

How to recognise Advertising vs Propaganda

Advertising has two main audiences: consumers and businesses. Advertisers inform individuals and businesses what products, services and ideas are available for purchase, their special features, price and location. Advertisers preview new products, services and ideas through local, national and international markets. Advertising permeates all aspects of urban industrial society and has increasingly migrated to the internet. Advertisers can apply propaganda techniques and strategies to their own marketing efforts for better results, says Canz Marketing.

Two of the most recognizable forms of propaganda are political and religious. Political propaganda is especially evident at election time when opposing candidates engage in “mud-slinging” campaigns in order to damage each others’ reputation and gain influence. Propaganda is considered one of the most powerful arsenals in politics used to influence public opinion. Propaganda examples can be very complicated today, particularly with the workings of the internet and social media.

Religious propaganda comes in many forms and essentially plays heavily on an individual’s emotions, encouraging her to behave in a certain way. Other forms of propaganda include presentations that promote sexuality, racism, drugs, and healthcare and lifestyle choices. Propaganda can be positive when it is used to encourage a healthy lifestyle, for example. Propaganda is disseminated to or by individuals and businesses; ethnic, religious and political organisations; and governments at all levels. Special interest groups by the thousands spread propaganda about their particular causes.

In Today’s Business World, how do Companies Advertise?

Traditional Advertising 

Print Advertising: Whether in a magazine, newspaper, periodical, or a flyer, print advertising is an effective way to get your name out there.

Television Advertising: Television advertising was the most popular way of getting a product in front of people for over 50 years. Its appeal has only declined slightly since digital and mobile marketing hit the scene. This makes it a great channel to get your brand name out there.

Radio Advertising: Radio advertising, although solely audio, with no imagery to pair with it, is still very effective. There are two distinct audiences: the older audience and those who listen to the radio on their work commute. Creating ads that are short and straight to the point will keep listeners interested; anything more will overwhelm them.

Modern Advertising

Social Media Advertising: Social Media platforms have grown in popularity and, with this new trend, came advertising on the platforms. Placing promotional ads on these well-liked sites is great as you can target demographics more closely than ever before. You can choose your age bracket, interests, locations, and so much more with only a few clicks.

Search and Display Advertising: Search engines have capitalised on effective advertising also with the use of search and display ads that are tailored to keyword searches. This form of promotional advertisement is great for retargeting and remarketing to people who have already been on your website.

Mobile Advertising: Mobile use has grown tenfold in such a short period of time that it is no surprise that advertising has been introduced as part of it. Mobile-first advertising could include SMS ads, app ads, and website advertisements aimed at mobile users. The options are endless when you are marketing to an audience who are always on their device.

Pop Ups: Websites are always trying to get more conversions and sales in the pipeline. Effective ads are the way to achieve this. Using popups that include calls to action are a great idea. Entice someone back to a page when they are about to leave through an exit popup. Popups that provide discount codes or a link to the exact product you are searching for can make all the difference to a potential customer.

Is Propaganda still in use as a marketing tactic today?

We live in such a vastly different modern world that most forms of Propaganda can be ‘called out’ instantly on social media – however, multiple major platforms have been credibly accused of allowing Propaganda to flourish, most notably during major election cycles.

Next month I will review the last General Election and the Brexit vote and the role played by propaganda in both those – allegedly free and fair – UK elections.

Written by

Stephen Taylor Propaganda CEO 

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