CONSUMERS’ PERCEPTION OF TRUTH IN ADVERTISING

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ABSTRACT

This research study surveys how certain advertising strategies affect consumers’ perception of truth in them with outcomes drawn from publics in Yola, Adamawa, Nigeria. There are two research questions raised and the literature review focuses on what consumers perceive to be truth in advertising. The theoretical framework for this study uses past experiences and advertising exposures as the key elements for evaluation. The sample size for this study were 200 respondents from the American University of Nigeria, Federal University of Technology, Yola, Adamawa Television, Fombina FM Radio and TV Gotel. Questionnaires were used as the research instrument. The results from the study shows that majority of the respondents have a negative approach towards how advertising practitioners display certain aspect of realism in their productions. The virtue of honesty and frankness were highly overemphasized to be what truth should be all about in the strategic and creative planning of advertisements. The outcome gotten from this research study revealed a positive attitudes towards the impact of advertisements in economic activities. However, the feeling towards how trustworthy and sincere advertisement content are, is a trait that advertising practitioners should resolve.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

         Background to the Study

Humans by very nature seek after the best in all endeavors. As a result, they get easily caught up with the “better option” rather than being content with where they are and what they have. Advertisers have exploited this human psychology to their advantage. Several advertising contents have challenged the consumers’ perception of the ideal message, otherwise called the truth. The whole essence of advertising is to create attention, desire, action and interest in the consumers. Sexual, factual and emotional strategies are a few methods that advertises use to appeal to consumers.

In an effort to woo consumers, advertising exaggerates the difference between the perceived product and the reality of the product. This is very common amongst competitors. They tend to include more than available information on a perceived benefit and exclude all the disadvantages. Cohesion cannot be used as a tool in making consumers to buy something they don’t need, but effective advertising can increase consumer wants and desires.

This research evaluates the level at which consumers agree with the various creative techniques used by advertising practitioners.

For example; the advertised hamburgers, which are usually larger than life, though appetizing, TV commercials for video games, where the trailers have high computer generate imagery (CGI) and graphics that cannot be matched in real life and the various Coca-Cola and Pepsi advertisements.

Enticingly, advertising connects a good to a need, suggesting that by consuming a particular good or service, a need will be achieved. It is within this frame that consumer’s derive their own meaning of what is truthful and what is deceptive. Various research studies have presumed that advertising could resurface consumers hidden needs as well as create new ones, if the advertisement is effective enough. However, consumer’s limited level of reasonability usually restricts the number of brands with high memorable capacity in a given category. In this scenario, advertising has to be exceptionally brilliant in order to occupy that portion of the consumers mind in order to create brand equity through resonance, recall and loyalty. Brand equity is the conscious remembrance of a product or service by a consumer towards a particular good or service. Therefore, when asked about brand of a certain product (sodas), the consumer will quickly answer with that which he or she is most aware of.

Advertising stresses the importance of a connection between their identity to the brand and the brand itself. It creates an environment for consumers to purchase the goods and service for ambitious purposes e.g. (my hair style has to be the best).

In a more practical orientation, attention is paid to satisfy a certain need or desire, advertising prompts first purchase by motivating and generating occasions. It creates a feeling such as “the time has come” or that of “the due date is close”, providing an inner desire to purchase a product.

In advertising, the type of behaviors related to the usage of a particular good or service can be extended to the social obligations of the consumer. This is particularly effective when a purchase has a social meaning attached to it e.g. (if I buy the Rolex watch, they would know that I have arrived). This idea of showcasing oneself sometimes is as a result of consumers using the

general opinions of others to satisfy their egos. Advertising is sometimes considered a form of art because of its use of colors words, emotions and various media in its field of creative production.

         Statement of the Problem

Advertising has received a lot of criticisms from those who believe that there is noticeable level of deception or selective disclosure. Truth is often questioned when it comes to marketing and promoting strategies. Hence, this study evaluates consumers make out of their perception of “truth” in advertising.

         Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are to;

  • Determine the extent to which advertising contains truth.
  • Ascertain consumer’s perception of truth in advertising.

         Research Questions

  • To what extent does advertising contain truth?
  • What is the consumers’ perception of truth in advertising?

         Significance of the Study

Consumers’ perception of truth directly influences their purchasing power and relationships towards products and services. This study is important as it is a form of continuous research and is aimed at improving efficient and effective procedures in advertising industries through consumer criticisms and responses. The study is significant to advertising agencies and practitioners who are directly involved with advertising policies and techniques.

         Scope of the Study

This study assesses the aspects of advertising which consumers find to be true and those elements in advertising which affect their judgment. It surveys opinions and ideologies of consumers through questionnaires amongst 200 Yola residents.

         Limitation to the Study

Such research study requires a mass sample size such as the entire Adamawa state or the country as a whole. However, the timeframe given to do this dissertation was inadequate. Therefore, the data is only retrieved from the samples from the Yola-south. Nevertheless, the various challenges faced was alleviated through the use of a purposive sample size.

         Definition of Terms

  1. Image Manipulation – This is a digital method of changing the appearance of a picture or photo by retouching certain power lines for purposes such as advertisements, modelling and artwork to achieve a desired effect.
  2. Photoshop – It involves an editing process of making images look more attractive.

Photos are air-brushed to demonstrate the idea of perfection.

  1. Honesty – when something or someone exhibits right and appropriate behaviors, he or she is considered to be honest. Anything can demonstrates truthfulness and virtuous attributes is honest. Honesty simply means sincerity.
  2. Influence – Influence is the ability of a thing or person to have a gripping force on opinions and actions.
  3. Puffery – When an information or message content is over exaggerated, it is considered puffery.
  4. Truth – It refers to the state of an object or someone portraying factual and real contexts.
  5. Creativity – being creative involves standing out. It gives room for memorability since it develops a kind of uniqueness that people simply cannot forget them.
  6. Perception – It can be defined as a way of observing, interpreting and understanding something or someone based on their attributes.