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What is Consumer Advertising?

    Consumer advertising is advertising that is directed and intended for domestic markets such as individuals and families. This is in contrast to industrial advertising, which is specifically directed and marketed toward businesses. The goal of consumer advertising is to introduce, or sometimes re-introduce, products and services to families and private individuals for daily use and consumption. These can be automobiles for family use, household appliances, home electronic devices, clothes, books, movies, and just about anything else commonly found in an individual or family household.

    Advertising is, generally, the practice of creating print, audio, and video messages intended to reveal or display a product or service and to show features meant to entice a customer into purchasing that product or service. Consumer advertising is a specific field of advertising, which focuses on the needs and desires of households rather than businesses. These types of advertisements are often focused even more narrowly on a specific demographic or target audience to increase effectiveness and message penetration among that audience.

    Consumer advertising describes features and specials relevant to the public or users of products.
    Consumer advertising describes features and specials relevant to the public or users of products.

    A demographic is a specific portion of the population and is based on particular common features, beliefs, practices, or ideologies. These can be separated according to age groups, gender, religious beliefs, income ranges, education, profession, and a number of other specifically targetable aspects of modern life. Consumer advertising often seeks to find ways to relate to either the entire population or more commonly a specific demographic and appeal to people’s sense of consumer desire.

    Scantily clad women in suggestive poses commonly appear in advertisements.
    Scantily clad women in suggestive poses commonly appear in advertisements.

    Advertising is often meant to be manipulative. As people view an advertisement, the intention is for the audience to be manipulated into wanting a product they may have previously not cared for or wanted. By targeting a specific demographic, consumer advertising is able to connect with the common hopes, fears, dreams, and desires of that target group and use that connection to create product desire. This is often seen through the use of sexuality and provocative images directed at certain genders, language and images appealing to a specific age range, highlighted beliefs and values intended to be held in common between manufacturers, businesses, and consumers, and a number of other methods of consumer advertising.

    Images of sex are often used in advertisements.
    Images of sex are often used in advertisements.

    Somewhat surprisingly, however, many forms of consumer advertising do not actually advertise the features of the product. Instead, many products are advertised as appealing to or creating a certain lifestyle for someone who purchases the product. An effort is made to appeal to a consumer’s sense of self-image and desire to appear a certain way to other people, regardless of whether the product actually does what the advertising claims. Though this may be somewhat deceptive advertising, these methods are often quite effective.