Advertising campaigns of benetton, the art of manipulation ?

3028 mots 13 pages
In this essay I will examine the advertising strategy of Benetton and the criticisms of their campaigns. Before speaking about Benetton I will discuss advertising and communication theories generally. There are different ideas about the function of advertising.


Advertising theories are a complex subject, I cannot explore every aspect. This is why I have decided to focus on three key points : persuasion, perception and ethics in advertising.


By nature, advertising is neither neutral nor objective. Advertising informs, entertains and sells. Occasionally, it even inspires. If advertising is about selling, then persuasion is how we get there. To create advertising that engenders persuasion, it is necessary to have a properly focused advertising strategy.
Where is the boundary between persuasive and manipulative advertising ? In some cases, ads are called persuasive rather than manipulative. Persuasion seems to be too large a term to include also the characteristics of objectionable advertisements. In common usage, persuasion includes situations in which the behaviour of desire is produced by means of rational argument. According to Tom Beauchamps, persuasion is a process which includes a mixture of influences, with coercion and manipulation. He defines the former as « a deliberate and successful attempt by one person to manipulate another person by appeals to reason to freely accept beliefs, attitudes, values, intentions, or actions. »
( Tom L. Beachamps, (1984) manipulative advertising ). As this definition suggests, Beauchamp sees persuasion as a form of manipulation.


Some studies have tried to detect differences in the impact of the media on different age groups, on different sexes or between different media. Some of the research into the effects of the advertising examined the change of attitudes of people, values or behaviour provoked following exposure to advertisements. In general

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