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Theory Application Paper Essay


Advertising is mass communication an advertiser pays for in order to convince a certain segment of the public to adopt ideas or take actions of benefit to the advertiser (“The History of Advertising”).

In other words, advertising is a form of communication as well as a marketing function where the advertiser pays for the use of the communications media. It is non-personal (compared to personal selling) and has to be persuasive and convincing in order to sell or secure favorable consideration. The advertiser has to communicate facts and ideas to the public in such a way that the information fits the needs, wants, and interests of the public (Crisostomo 4).

Although the goals of advertisements may differ from ad to ad, there are generalizations that can be made. The first would be that ads are made to sell products, ideas, or services. The actual sale may be immediate or eventual and it is accomplished through the mass media rather than the salesperson.

The second generalization is that ads are there to develop goodwill and build prestige. This is accomplished through institutional or public-interest advertising.

Ads are also there to pre-sell products. With brand advertising, corporations are able to condition the minds of consumers to be loyal to their brand and purchase their products in the future.

Ads are also used to widen the demand for a product. This demand can be increased if the advertisement can demonstrate alternative ways of using the particular product. This requires an investigation of the primary, secondary, and potential uses of the product.

Ads are also aimed to establish brand superiority. Although by itself, advertising does not create an industrial monopoly, it can lead to the establishment of brand superiority and dominance.

Another goal of advertising is to maintain patronage. Retail establishments, particularly, depend on advertising largely in order to maintain customer patronage.

The last objective of advertising is to speed up the movement of merchandise. This is accomplished through the stimulation and expansion of demand (Crisostomo 14).

To achieve these goals, an advertisement must appeal to human desires. There are two types of human desires: the primary wants and secondary wants (Gomez and Arante 52).

In order for an ad to be effective, it must be continuous and long-term. It is said to consist of a cycle of three stages: introductory advertising, competitive advertising, and retentive advertising (Crisostomo 12).

Advertising is a means of mass communication where words and symbols are required to convey the basic theme to the audience. Choosing the wrong word or symbol may give or arouse images that are contrary to the advertiser’s purpose. These words and symbols make up the elements of an advertisement. These elements, specifically, are: the copy, the headline, the images, and the logo (Crisostomo 184-195).

For different mediums, different ways of writing advertising copies are done but must always be written from the consumers’ point of view. Many advertising copiers commit the error of writing television commercials in the same way they do radio copy. This must be avoided because television appeals to two senses (visual and aural) unlike the radio. Contrasting radio, crowding the commercial time with words will make it difficult for the viewer to retain the message (Crisostomo 185).

The importance of headlines cannot be overemphasized. Some say that it represents 50-80% of the value of an advertisement (Crisostomo 141). Let us
face it, the entire body of the commercial may be excellent and the visuals superb, but if the commercial does not grab the attention of the viewers right from the start, it may have just lost its audience. The headline, much like the copy, must stress the reader’s, not the advertiser’s interest (Crisostomo 145).

People are more interested in images combined with words than with words alone. These images serve as symbols, which are more easily decoded by the viewer than word or verbal symbols. Ideas are conveyed more quickly and clearly through images. Images can associate the product with a person or a specific class (Crisostomo 194-195).

The last element of an advertisement is the company logo or slogan. Placing this in an advertisement immediately separates the advertised product or service from the competitor’s product. A logo could attract buyers to a specific store or lend prestige to the products with consumer preference influenced by the association of the firm’s name with the advertised merchandise (Crisostomo 195).

Each advertisement has to reach the maximum number of prospects per advertising peso. In the procedure of media selection, the researcher defines the market to be reached by studying the results of consumer surveys and market analysis. After doing so, can the advertiser decide which medium or medias to select wherein they can exhibit their advertisement. There is an overabundance of media for advertisers (Miranda 157). For this study, I will concentrate on the television medium. Although the costs of advertising on TV are quite expensive, television can sell by appealing to two senses – sight and sound – rather that to only one as most media do. Demonstration of product performance and exhibition of styles, color, designs, and other product features can be achieved. The sponsor also enjoys great flexibility in the presentation of this commercial (Miranda 197).

The background given provides us with an idea of the definition of advertising, its purpose and goals, its different cycles and elements, and the importance of the television medium for advertisements. We know that these advertisements are made in order to sway the public to buy the specific product but in today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with advertisement messages left and right. With so many stimuli, is it still possible for an advertisement to motivate us to buy a certain product? Why did or why didn’t that advertisement send us to the nearest store? What elements of a commercial will stimulate its viewers to buy, buy, and buy? Does the public still watch advertisements on TV and are affected by it or is the audience so flooded with so many advertisements that they turn cynical and it just turns into a game of Russian roulette for the advertisers?


Theoretical Framework

The Shannon-Weaver Model (McQuail 12)

Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver produced a general model of communication a year after Laswell’s Communication Model (which might explain the similarities). Although they were principally concerned with communication technology, their model has become one representation of the system of human communication. The emphasis of this model is on the transmission and reception of the information.

The Shannon-Weaver Model proposes that all communication must include six elements: the source, the encoder, the message, the channel, the decoder, and the receiver but this model also includes noise.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (“Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”)

One aspect of communication is persuasion. People’s needs motivate them to act and if those needs are identified, the source can motivate the receiver to do what he or she wants them to do.

Abraham Maslow developed the table of the hierarchy of needs. He emphasizes the need for self-actualization. According to Maslow, before a person achieves self-actualization, he or she must attain the four lower-level needs of the hierarchy (physical, safety, social, and esteem). His table attempts to have a holistic description of human motivation, considering a range of influences on human behavior.

Two-Step Flow of Communication (Littlejohn 313)

In 1940, Karl Lazarsfeld and his fellow researchers conducted a study on the effects of political mass communication. Their findings were published in “The People’s Choice” in 1944.

Their research was based on the hypodermic needle model of media influence. Based on their findings, they established that the media effects were minimal, the concept of the “mass audience” was misguided, and that social influences had a major effect on the process of opinion formation and greatly limited the media’s effect.

This model, later developed by Katz and Lazarsfeld, consists of a process where opinion leaders play a vital role. They concluded that our responses to media messages are mediated through our social relationships. It is false to think that the receivers are the mass audience because this implies that everyone is equal in their reception of media messages when the fact is there are some who play a more active role than others do. It debunks the hypodermic needle model because the model implies that receiving a message does not necessarily mean the receiver will respond to it.

Rosengren’s Uses and Gratifications (McQuail 76-77)

The uses and gratification approaches to media, by Elihu Katz, asserts the active use of the media by the audience to seek the gratification of a variety of needs. This research on the media-audience relationship suggests that the audience is much less passive than once thought and that people actively and purposefully use the media according to their own circumstances. The media’s effects can then be thought of as being dependent on the functions that they perform for each member of the audience.

According to the limited effects paradigm, the media will not influence a member of the audience if it does not fulfill or gratify a need. Audience members are held to be active and involved in their understanding and interpretation of the media and are not completely passive.

Rosengren’s version constitutes of eleven elements that relate to each other. The needs of the individual is the starting point and interacts with combinations of intra- and extra-individual characteristics and the surrounding societal structure. These in turn create problems and the perceived solutions. The combination of these two give birth to patterns of media consumption and patterns of behavior giving patterns of gratifications or non-gratifications which possible affect the individual’s combination of intra- and extra-individual characteristics and the surrounding social structures.


The source, as mentioned before, is a person or group of persons that have a reason or a purpose for engaging in communication. The source expresses this purpose in the form of a message. This message is formulated into some kind of code, which requires an encoder. The encoder is responsible for taking the ideas of the message and purpose of the source and transforming it into a code.

The message is what the communication is all about. This is whatever is communicated in the message.

Choosing the channel of communication is an important aspect in the communication process. The message is sent through the channel chosen.

Noise is always present in communication. The noise may disrupt or distort the message that is being sent across. There are times when the message is not distorted by the noise, but when it does, the receiver may not get the complete message or ideas that is being conveyed.

Just as the source needs an encoder to translate his or her message, the receiver needs a decoder to translate the message.

For communication to occur, there must be someone at the other end of the network. The information transmitter and the receiver must be similar systems in order for the communication to be successful.

The receiver of the message has (because of his or her needs added with the knowledge he or she has gained from opinion leaders as well as his or her own characteristics) combinations of problems as well as perceived solutions to these problems. Once the receiver gets the message, he or she internalizes the message and decides whether or not the message falls into any of the categories of his needs putting importance on those that he has not achieved (according to the hierarchy).

This gives him or her motives for attempts at gratification-seeking behavior that leads to his or her patterns of media consumption and other patterns of behavior. These are followed by patterns of gratification and non-gratification that could possibly affect the individual’s combination of intra- and extra-individual characteristics and ultimately the media structure.

The patterns of gratification and non-gratification also serve as the feedback to the source of the message and the cycle continues.


Corporations exist to make money. In the cutthroat world of business, many say it pays to advertise. It seems like everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. Some advertisements may provide a few laughs, send a public service message, or seem like it has not point at all, but the bottom line is it serves to sell the company’s products or services.

The corporation hires an advertising agency to create a commercial that depicts the message or image the corporation wants. The advertising agency chooses which medium is best suited for the ad. The commercial is aired. This commercial competes with many stimuli that are around. These “distractions” could be in the form of other commercials, other programs, or any events that are occurring when this commercial is aired.

Because of the individual’s needs, knowledge obtained from opinion leaders, and his or her own personal characteristics, the viewer has problems as well as perceived ways in which to solve them. These in turn make the individual seek out the solutions.

When the viewer sees the commercial, he or she decides whether this would solve his or her problems. This will reveal how the individual will keep using the medium (i.e. if the viewer has just had a full meal, he or she will turn the channel when a commercial about food is on) as well as other behaviors (i.e. if the viewer sees a commercial about dishwashing liquid, it might motivate him or her to wash the dishes).

The way in which the viewer uses the medium and his other behaviors will be precedents of how the individual fulfills his or her wants in the future which eventually will affect his or her personal characteristics as well as the structure of the media and attitudes of the opinion leaders.

How the individual fulfills his or her wants in the future will also serve as the feedback to the corporations of how successful they were in getting their message across and the cycle continues.


There are many different types of corporations offering all kinds of products and services. These companies do not only exist to provide these goods and services but also, as mentioned before, to make a profit.

Much like the corporations, there are numerous advertising agencies in the Philippines today. They are the ones who conceptualize advertisements that catch the eye of the viewers and entice them to spend their hard-earned cash on products that they may or may not need.

There are about as many advertisements as there are products, if not more. For this study, I wish to focus on the advertisements of a product that everyone buys and is relatively cheap.

I also wish to focus on television, a medium that most people can access and appeals to both the visual and auditory senses.

The distractions could be anything from the sound of a car passing by to other things that the individual is doing while watching TV.

The viewer is considered as one who watches television. This viewer is exposed to many different TV programs as well as commercials. The viewer is motivated by certain desires such as material things, hunger, love and affection, acceptance, sex, etc.

This viewer also has personal characteristics such as his or her likes and dislikes, attitudes toward certain issues or events, and the values he or she deems important.

The viewer is exposed to many different opinions and it is due to his or her characteristics that he or she listens and accepts certain things “opinion leaders” (could be friends, celebrities, or someone he or she admires) say as true or as false. This could range from the political stand to what is considered cool or socially acceptable today.

With all these in mind, the viewer then realizes that there are certain things he or she is lacking and considers these as problems. Examples of this could be hunger, boredom, or lack of a social life. However, with these problems come the viewer’s perceived solutions. Let’s take the example of boredom. If the individual (viewer) is bored he or she might think of watching TV or going to the movies. Watching TV and going to the movies are things the individual thinks would get rid of his feeling of boredom.

When the viewer comes up with his or her perceived solutions, he or she will seek out these solutions. Let’s pick up from the boredom example again. Once the individual figures that going to a movie will solve his or her boredom dilemma, he or she will look through the newspapers for the movie times and listings, call a friend to ask what good movies are playing, or just drive to the movie theater and see what’s playing.

Now let’s get back to the advertisement. Once the viewer is exposed to the advertisement, the factors mentioned earlier will determine other behaviors as well as how he or she will use the medium. For example, a teenage viewer (let’s call him Andy) is exposed to a commercial about cigarettes. Andy feels like he is a nerd and does not have that many friends.

From Andy’s personal characteristics, he finds cigarettes disgusting but he has the need to feel socially accepted and all the “cool” kids smoke so he decides to start smoking. He starts feeling cool and “in” with the crowd and starts gaining a few acquaintances. He wants to be popular so he copies what he sees on TV, fulfilling his desire to be accepted. Once Andy becomes socially accepted and is part of the “cool” crowd, his personality changes and the societal structure changes because now, Andy is one of the opinion leaders.

This example is just one incident, one possibility, but if several of these incidents occur, these could serve as feedback to the corporation that their advertisement is effective.


Advertising Copy: This is the text of the advertisement that presents the advertiser’s message in a persuasive and convincing manner.

Advertising Headline: This serves primarily to secure attention in an advertisement.

Advertising Images: These also serves to secure attention in an advertisement as well as help the viewer understand the message the advertiser is trying to get across better.

Advertising Logo: This is also known as the slogan, tag line, or the signature of the advertiser.

Advertising Media: This includes newspaper, magazines, other literature (circulars, blotters, leaflets, booklets, shopping bags, wrappers, tags, labels), outdoor media (outdoor advertising signs, posters, poster panels, poster showings, painted signs, electric spectaculars, skywriting), internet, transportation advertising, point-of-sale advertising (window displays, counter cards and displays, clocks, floor stands and cutouts, etc), broadcast advertising (radio and TV), motion picture advertising, programs, directories, and matchbooks.

Channel: This is the medium used.

Competitive Advertising: This seeks to urge the consumers to choose their product or service over the competitors’ products and services.

Decoder: This retranslates the message.

Encoder: This is responsible for taking the ideas of the source and putting them in code, expressing the source’s purpose in the form of a message.

Esteem Needs: This refers to the feeling of value we feel when we achieve our goals.

Feedback: This is the receiver’s response to the message.

Hypodermic Needle Model: This assumed that the media transmits a message that would be automatically be absorbed by the viewer.

Introductory Advertising: This is when the product, product features, service, idea, or cause is new to the public. Its main objective is to develop consumer awareness.

Marketing: This is the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from the producer to the consumer. Advertising is one of its tools.

Message: This is whatever is communicated.

Noise: This could be known as the physical noise (the unexplained variation in a communication channel) or semantic noise (this may be related to people’s knowledge level, their communication skills, their experience, their prejudices and so on).

Opinion Leaders: These are people considered to be experts, have prominence, or have influence over others.

Personal Selling: This is also known as salesmanship. It is the oldest known form of selling goods that comprises of direct, personal contact between the seller and the buyer wherein the buyer is orally persuaded by the seller to purchase the product.

Physical Needs: These refer to the basic biological needs such as food, clothing, and shelter.

Primary Wants: These are desires that are universal, more quickly aroused, and probably the strongest movers to action. They are those that are innate, biological, or unlearned.

Receiver: This is the recipient (intended or unintended) of the message.

Retentive Advertising: This is the stage where the advertiser attempts to develop or establish consumer loyalty by repeatedly keeping the public reminded of the name or brand of the product. Generally, the advertising message is brief and concise.

Safety Needs: These refer to the need to feel secure.

Secondary Wants: They are the desires that are acquired, sociogenic, or learned.

Self-actualization: This is the realization of one’s full potential as a human being.

Social Needs: These refer to the needs to feel a sense of belongingness. Maslow claims that we have an innate need to affiliate with others in search for affection and love.

Source: This refers to a person or group of persons with a given purpose, a reason for engaging in communication.


Crisostomo, Isabelo T. Modern Advertising for Filipinos. Quezon City, Philippines: J. Kris Publishing Enterprises, 1967.

Gomez, Julita R. and Lilia B. Arante. Advertising. Mandaluyong, Philippines: National Book Store, 1986.

“The History of Advertising”. http://www.wissen-erleben.de/advertising/index.htm.

Littlejohn, Stephen. Theories of Mass Communication 7th Ed. Albuquerque, New Mexico: Wadsworth Group, 2002.

“Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”. http://www.cultsock.ndirect.co.uk/MUHome/cshtml/index.html.

McQuail, Dennis. Communication Models for the Study of Mass Communications. New York: Longman Inc., 1981.

Miranda, Gregorio S. Advertising 3rd Ed. Mandaluyong, Philippines: National Book Store, 2000.

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