THE INFLUENCE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS ON UYO CITY POLYTECHNIC STUDENT’S PERCEPTION OF CONDOM ADVERTISEMENT
1.1 Background of the Study
Advertisement is a form of marketing communication used to promote or sell something, usually a business’s product or service. Advertising is any paid form of non-personal communication link, initiated by an identified marketer, to establish or continue exchange relationships with customers and at times, with other stakeholders. Companies advise to: build awareness, position a product/brand, build preference and differentiate their product/brands.
Asemah (2014) says that advertising is any communication that is paid for, identified by a sponsor, directed at a target audience, through the various mass media like radio, television, billboard, newspapers and magazine with the aim of creating awareness about goods and services. The purpose of advertisement is nothing, but to sell something, a product, a service or an idea. The real object of advertising is effective communication between producers and consumers.
Before television, much of advertising was done on radio. The voice of the actor was more important than the appearance, with the advent of television in the 1950s, the method of advertising shifted, as did the importance of aesthetics. Advertising became more visual, so the appearance of the actors and the environment as a whole took on new meaning.
Thus, advertisement is aimed at creating perception. Burgeon and Ruffiner (1979) cited in Asemah (2014) see perception as the process of making sense out of experience. Advertising is about selling, by neutral advertising is neither neutral nor objective, pleading its case through the strongest, most persuasive means, advertising informs, entertains and sells, it even inspires.
In recent times, there have been increased attempts to popularize the use of condoms among the populace through advertisement. The condom is advertised as a product that should be used (worn) during sexual intercourse at a precaution against the free transfer of Sexual Transmitted Disease (STDs). With increased awareness that the deadly Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is mostly transferred through sex. Condom is advertised to persuade and encourage people to adopt its usage as a preventive measure against AIDs.
Also condoms are advertised as being capable of preventing unwanted pregnancies among the young youth, as well as tool for child spacing and birth control among married couples. This claim is supported by governments, public health institutions and health ministries at Federal, State and Local Government levels. Therefore, condom advertisements are encouraged by government and health officials.
Be that as it may, many people are influence by various factors and in most cases their religious beliefs to perceive condom advertisements differently, either positively or negatively. Individual’s perception of condom advertisements has a way of influencing their condom usage. According to Andem (2014) religion and beliefs are among the principle factors that influence and change people’s perceptions and attitudes towards the use of condom.
Belch and Belch (2015) said that perception is an individual process it depends on internal factors such as people’s beliefs, experiences, needs, moods and expectation. The perceptional process is also influenced by the stimulus and the context in which the condom advertisements are seen or heard. Perhaps due to religious beliefs, there have been claims that condom advertisement are against good taste and morality. Most of the advertisement by their content are directed at the youths. This invariable means that the youths are being encouraged to engage in sex though they are not married.
Inspite of the religious beliefs held by different people regarding condom advertisements, the awareness on the danger of STDs, HIV/AIDs, need for family planning, child spacing/birth control and the risk of unwanted pregnancies have been among the factors that encouraged most religious persons to perceive condom advertisement as worthy.
The real essence of condom advertisement is not meant to encourage the unmarried youths to engage in sex, not does it encourage promiscuity among the youths. Rather, it serves as a form of creating awareness for the prevention of STDs, HIV/AIDs, unwanted pregnancies and for family planning.
Often, perhaps due to much religious criticism of condom advertisement, some of the network that accept condom commercials restricting time of the day they can run, requiring their message to be focused on disease prevention rather than pregnant prevention.
According to Wilke (2014), some network stations draw a strong line between condom messages about disease prevention (which may be allowed), and those about pregnancy prevention which may be considered controversial for religious and moral reasons. Nicholas (2013) note that throughout the 1960s and 70s condom advertisement was prohibited by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) code of conduct. The prohibition of condom advertisement stems from respect for religious beliefs of viewers, respects for the fact that each of the affiliate stations have their own policies that may prohibit condom advertising, which may be an issue for some viewers.