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(Persuasive essay – LUMS)

Mark Twain said, “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertisement.” If this holds true, then a good advertisement has the ability to make seem large even the smallest of things by using a host of techniques, convincing a consumer to purchase a certain product. But if it does not hold true, then it indicates that whether advertising portrays products as they are or that however an advertisement may seem, the final decision is that of the consumer. I agree with this quote, since advertising, using various ways, does indeed make things seem bigger than they actually are.

The use of effective slogans attracts the audience’s attention by making the product seem too good to resist. A catchy line accompanying the product in the advertisement attracts the audience, however nonsensical the line may be. In fact, a lot of things that do not make sense appease the audience more, since it adds an element of surprise and mystery to the product being advertised. For instance, washing powders that in fact leave stains as it is are advertised as leaving clothes ‘whiter than white’. Any sensible person would know that there is no such thing as whiter than white, yet it intrigues the consumer enough to purchase it.

To make an advertisement more credible, it is often incorporated with images of professionals who seem convincing enough for their word to be taken. However, many a times these are just regular people pretending to be skilled enough for the sake of the product’s sales going up. An advertisement for new toothpaste in the market may state it to be recommended by a doctor, only because it is a new product not renowned yet and hence adding credibility to it will help sell it. However, the much credible source is probably not even a real doctor but an actor made to wear a doctor’s coat and pretend to be one, thus proving how small products can make it big by the right kind of advertising.

A small, and sometimes new thing, can become a big deal with the right kind of advertising. NutriSystem Foods, a collection of preserved food as part of a diet plan for weight loss, was an unknown brand. Nevertheless, when first launched, it was advertised on television, radio and women’s magazines (NutriSystem Weight Loss…). Added to this, the advertisements described it as pre-packaged and offered cheap rates, thus creating an increased demand for it by making it seem both convenient and cheap. While the responses to the food are mixed, NutriSystem still gives an excellent example of how an unknown product can become large with the correct advertising.

Advertising, if rightly done, can help raise awareness about certain matters not that well known before. This can be illustrated by the example of the rise in breast cancer awareness over the years. Though not a small thing, it was insignificant in the respect that not a lot of people were aware of its severity or frequency of occurrence. Today, however, breast cancer is a widely known disease due to the enormous advertising done to make women worldwide aware of its risk factors and precautionary measures. In fact, the growth in awareness is directly related to the growth in advertisements, because what started as just wearing pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness has now turned into a wide range of pink products, such as spatulas and utensils, all part of breast cancer awareness campaign (Picchi).

Not just cancerous diseases, but other newly discovered diseases also became well-known due to advertising via television, newspapers and billboards. Diseases such as bird flu, swine flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) became well known to people due to public service announcements informing people about preventive measures for the diseases. Thus, advertising helped throw light on the previously unknown harmful effects of the diseases.

The right kind of advertising brings forth lesser known events to the public’s eye, thus creating an interest in the event and encouraging people to attend them. The medium of advertising is also important, depending on the audience being targeted. An example of this is the KaraFilm Festival (Karachi International Film Festival). The aim of the event, according to the KaraFilm Society, is “to promote an appreciation of the art and craft of filmmaking among a wide population” (8th KaraFilm Festival…). This requires reaching out to all aspiring young filmmakers, and thus entails the need to advertise via the internet, the most commonly used medium of communication by the youth. Hence, the festival is seen being advertised on online blogs and discussion forums, proving how something that started on a relatively small scale grew due to the correct type of advertising.

The right kind of advertising also involves carrying it out in a way that gets the required attention of the correct audience. Many a small event is presently turning into big ones because of the incredible turnout at them due to effective advertising of the event. The Karachi United Football Championship (KUFC), a knockout football competition for educational institutions of Karachi, is widely gaining popularity due to it being publicized in schools and colleges and over the internet. Advertising the event at a place of study makes students more aware of the event taking place and makes them more eager to attend it and support their institution. Moreover, for a student body largely consisting of teenagers, advertising such student based events online ensures a greater number of people getting to know about it, since the student body largely uses the internet to stay updated.

Telemarketing is another effective way of advertising a product. This type of advertising provides the sellers with the best opportunity to publicize their product to the masses, as it ensures a very large viewer ship. Telemarketing gives a description of the product being sold through a television advertisement, and attracts the consumers because of its convenience. All the consumer needs to do is dial a hotline number and order the product and it will be delivered to their doorstep. The Sauna Belt, an electric belt designed to reduce abdominal weight, and the Yoko Height, a pair of shoes built to increase people’s heights, were two products that had a huge demand due to telemarketing. The use of perfect prototypes to demonstrate the working of the products made it seem quite believable and thus appealed to the consumers, convincing people to purchase these. The example of these two items proves how a small unknown thing can, in fact, be made large by the right kind of advertising.

The opposition to my claims made above may be twofold. The first one may be that advertisements do not blindly lead a consumer, and in fact the consumer is intelligent enough to decide what to buy and what not to buy, however big the thing advertised may seem. While consumer intelligence does hold true, many products bought may be an impulse buy. This is only because the advertisement has swayed the consumer to an extent where he wants to buy the product.

The opposition may also argue that people may have existing brand loyalties and hence a mere advertisement will not persuade them to buy a new product. My criticism to this point would be that while brand loyalties do hold in place, it is human nature to try out new things, and if a new brand promises to be better and maybe even cheaper, then the right kind of advertising will convince the consumers to switch brand loyalties.

While advertising does have its opposing arguments, it is still largely an agency of moving the public in such a way so as to persuade them to do what the advertisement tells them to – be it buying a product, attending an event, or something else. A whole host of examples support this claim, and thus, in my opinion, Mark Twain’s quote, “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising” does, in fact, hold true.


Works Cited

8th KaraFilm Festival – Karachi International Film Festival 2010. KaraFilm Society,         2009. Web. 4 Apr. 2010.


NutriSystem Weight Loss Program Review. Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., 2010. 4 Apr.         2010.


Picchi, Aimee. Pink ribbon overkill: Are companies exploiting breast cancer           campaigns?. AOL Inc., 2010. 4 Apr. 2010.       <http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/company-news/pink-ribbon-overkill-          companies-exploit-breast-cancer-campaigns/19190363/>.