5 Theories of Advertising (Explained with Examples)

The switch from printed ads to the digital technology driven ads in the 21st century has been rapid and flamboyant. The figure of advertising channels has expanded in the last decade, and presently ads are everywhere. When advertising is fruitful, it has a direct impact on sales and brand awareness. Advertising has to be innovative, expressive, and inspiring for people to pay attention to it, which integrates delivering messages and showcasing videos that will give an edge to your advertisement in comparison to the other advertisements out there. Advertising has various objectives including communicating with potential customers and prompting them to purchase a particular product.

What are Advertising Theories?

The advertising theories illustrate how and why advertising is effective in influencing the customers’ behaviour and accomplishing its objectives. There are various theories on advertising and most of them propagate that the success of advertising is controlled by the main practices being carried out which include frequent brand exposure and repetitive advertising.


Theories Of Advertising


Advertisements are successful when they are integrated with other media and environments in which they are completely submerged. It is advocated that it is not the content of the ad that makes them persuasive, but the incorporation of media to amalgamate actions and fictions. The media defines the excitement and addiction by expanding and strengthening neutral responses.

Example: In a GUESS advertisement, Paris Hilton steps down the helicopter escorted by a helper or a boyfriend rolled into one. Paris Hilton manifests the expression of wealth and glamour, playing her private life out in public as a governess, model, and reality TV star. The ad blurs the boundaries between reality and a dream.


Ads mirror changing loyalties. Although ads create intense brand loyalty, they also prompt customers to shift their loyalties and to disown their current loyalties for a relatively new brand in the market.

Studies show that the ads have changed a lot from the 1950s to the 1960s. The presentation and message of most ads were found to encompass the anti-authoritarian hippie-culture, which had always been planned and distributed by huge corporations persuading the status quo and capital interests.

Example: Changing consumer loyalties from Colgate, a brand which one has been using since ages to Close-up after watching an exciting ad on television which revealed advantages of using close-up as healthier gums and whiter teeth.


Advertisements carry a strong message with a meaning instilled in them. Ads touch our values, emotions, and the underlying beliefs. In 1962, a cultural theorist Raymond Williams explained how advertising had swept the goal of selling goods and is more associated with teaching social and personal values, which is promptly entering politics too. Advertisements are organised magic’s that hide the real intention of the selling house, which is to sell a product to make profits.


  • Insurance companies sell their retirement plans, showing the benefits they provide in your retirement.
  • Women’s Horlicks formula known to help calcium reach the bone.


Certain ads misrepresent and misguide the consumers. Packard declared that advertising is threatening since it uses psychology to form emotionally loaded messages and as the messages are hidden, the viewer’s critical resilience is dodged and minimized. This approach clearly states how critical thinking of the potential consumers can be manipulated with ads.

Example: A dentist may be employed in an ad that advocates and encourages the public to use a particular toothbrush or a toothpaste advertisement because he uses the same. The belief system imbibed here is that the public will buy and use the product of a particular brand just because the dentist himself is using and advising.


Advertisements tend to act upon the prospect’s mind. It’s been observed by some theorists that people usually have the desire of becoming others, especially when the other person is famous, beautiful or powerful. But the reality is it’s impossible for someone to become like another. However, this impossibility keeps the desire alive in all of us. The soul of the ritual is that people work in communities through imaginative projection towards others.

Example: In an XYZ ad, which is an ad for a bookstore, the ad suggests that books work as an escape from reality; they help you step into fairytale land and disguise ourselves as others. Similarly, chances of us buying LUX soap because some celebrity is showcased in the ad compels us to believe that the secret of her beauty is the soap and prompts a purchase action from the consumer’s end.

All the above theories have their merits and demerits. Criticism intends to improve understanding, clarify values, and to narrow the space between what we are doing and what we want to do. Advertising is a completely adaptable tool with no boundaries that can serve the revolution as well as a corporation. It is important that the customer not just focuses on the message of an ad, but also understands the media and environments in which the messages are relayed.


  1. Nketiah Edward
  2. Ayoma
  3. Gwyn
  4. Bader Sinokrot

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