In what respects can advertisements be harmful to society?
Everything has got some positive and some negative aspects. Nothing is perfect. Good and bad points are the two sides of a coin. Here are certain reasons why advertisements prove to be harmful to society.
Advertising leads to higher prices:
Lot of expenditure is involved in advertising a product. The cost of goods can be reduced and they can be made available to the public at large at affordable prices, if expenditure on advertising is curtailed. Businessmen should use money on improving the product’s quality instead of advertising the product. This may help consumers fetch a better product for the same price.
Advertising results in inefficient resource allocation:
Advertisements are not made to provide benefit to the consumers. Ads help in changing the tastes of people so that they get convinced and buy whatever is manufactured. Businessmen do not use the productive resources like land, labor and capital in the favor and interest the society. Ads force people to use what they are showing and not what consumers prefer. The outcome of such a practice is the distortion in consumption expenditure and increase in producers market power.
Advertising may act against freedom of press:
As media earns a huge amount of income from ads, they may sometimes act against the freedom of press. This may take place because the big firms that provide income to media can threaten the owner of media by refusing their ads and dictating them what they have to do. As big business firms provide them financial support, it may be difficult for the media at times to disseminate information in the interest of the public, when it is not in favor of those big business firms.
Advertising causes undesirable social effects:
Advertisements can sometimes lead to social effects which are not desirable like it influences the values and life-styles of people in society i.e. it promotes only materialistic values, cigarette and liquor ads are also promoted with the help of advertising which is meant to be harmful for the society, certain sex, horror appeals are also utilized in making ads in order to draw the attention of the consumers, it creates frustration and disappointment when a person is not able to purchase and enjoy a particular product etc.
Advertising leads to monopoly:
Because of advertising, small competitors cannot enter the market because large producers create hurdles for them. It acts as a barrier to entry and leads to monopoly. Established firms spend a huge amount on ads and due to their ads, they even get increased sales. This provokes them to spend more and more on advertising. It becomes difficult for the new competitors to compete with such big and established firms if they don’t have large financial resources.
Advertising encourages unnecessary competition:
Small and large competitors compete in order to create their brand image. It sometimes lead to unnecessary conflicts. Healthy competition is good but not conflict-oriented competition.