1.1   Introduction

Advertising has been part of economics since the beginning of trade. Most advertisements focus on products information which tends to familiarize the consumers with natural brand and introduce new products, educate and persuade consumers to their purpose.

Thus, the underlying elements that make advertisement, persuasive, lies with the propensity to attract willing audience that is ready to be transformed by the message. Advertising in contemporary  society is a process of introducing a mass audience through the mass media to commercial products. (Nwosu and Nkamnebe, 2005). While many scholars have extolled advertising as a function that has accounted for the success of various brand in the market, others believe that most claims made for products are excessive, often mendacious and brings advertising into disrepute.

The success or failure of any advertising message however depends on the attitude of the audience towards the content and the newspaper medium. Attitude is of special interest because it defines how people dare persuaded which are reflected in the behaviour. Attitude towards institution of advertising is one of the determinants of advertisement and it influences consumers’ responses to any particular advertisement (Melita, 2000).

The overall attitude towards advertising focuses on public opinion towards the advertising instrument with the persuasive campaign without due recognition to the creative newspapers media art of advertising agency and the persuasive advertising campaign. (Okpara et al 1999).

Advertising is a paid form of non-personal presentation of ideas, goods and services by an identified sponsor with a view to disseminating information concerning ideas, products, or services. The message which is presented is disseminated is called advertisement. (Nwosu and Nkamnebe, 2005).

However, the form of advertisement differs from business to business. advertising is the structured and composed non personal communication of information, usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature, about products, services and ideas by identified sponsors, through various mass media (Arens 2008).

Asemah, Edegoh and Ojih (2013) state that advertising is a controlled, identifiable and persuasive communication that is presented via the mass media and designed to develop product demand and to create a favourable image for a company. The major purpose of advertising is to promote the sales of a product or service and also, to inform the masses about the highlights of the products or the service feature.

Newspaper advertising generally belongs to point of purchase (POP). It is one the most effective techniques that are used in outdoor advertising techniques that is used in business every day. This explains why Russel and Lane (1962) cited in Mbadi (2005) state that newspaper survived the decline of the Roman Empire to become the decorative art of Europeans in the seventeenth century.

Over the years, advertising in Nigeria has done its best to support our economic system. With it, new products, ideas could be made known and development in others could be announced. Advertising revenues make possible the “free” mass media we use not only for entertainment but for the maintenance of our democracy.

Despite these economic benefits of advertising to the society, people still make complaints about advertising. One of the most common short term arguments about advertising is that it is so frequently deceptive. The United States’ Federal Trade Commission 3 (2001) defines deceptive advertising as: being a representation, omission, act or practice that is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonable under the circumstances. In the most obvious situation, a statement or representation that expresses a claim that is simply untrue is deceptive advertising.

However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has found an advertisement deceptive through an implied claim as well. An implied claim is one that a consumer could reach when reading the advertisement even if it is not explicitly stated.

Federal, State, unofficial, and Market forces all regulate advertising. According to Daramola (2003, P.229) “the essence of regulating advertising is to check irresponsible advertising”. There is no doubt that some advertisers make untruthful statements and claims in advertising certain products or service. Some also remain silent over the negative effects of certain products (for example cigarettes). In some cases, claims for many products, especially patent medicines and soft drinks, are often fraudulent and even dangerous. As a result, many people react to various advertisements and campaign with dislike and reservation, claiming that advertising is mostly deceptive especially on the front pages of Nigerian newspapers (Wilson, 2000).

However, in Nigeria, it is difficult to identity most deceptive advertisements, for the fact that by its very nature, is not “perfect information”. It is biased in favour of the advertiser and the brand. People expect that and do not usually mind. However, when advertisers cross the line between simply giving their point of view and creating false expectations, people begins to object, for at this point, the information does not only detract he consumers, it also mislead them.