Md. Raihan Akhtar
A Debate on Strong VS Weak Theory of Advertising
- Which One Is Better?
‘Advertising’ the word originated from the Latin word ‘adverto’, which means to turn around. The root of advertising can be found in ancient times such as ancient Egyptian used papyrus to make sales messages and wall posters, commercial messages and political campaign found in the ruins of Pompeii and ancient Arabia, lost and found advertising on papyrus in ancient Greece and Rome, wall painting for commercial advertising in ancient India (Mogel, 1993). Advertising defined by Belch & Belch (2004) as a paid form of communication through nonpersonal components such as T.V, radio, newspaper and magazines about an organization, product, service or idea by an identified sponsor; likewise Kumar & Mittal (2002) defined advertising as controlled, identifiable information of products, services to persuade customers through mass communication media. Therefore, from it can be said that advertising basically aims to create awareness through popularisation of the products among customers and persuade them to purchase it. But the common debate today is that, how advertising works? Fill (1999) suggested two polarised views regarding this subject: the first is referred to strong theory of advertising and the second one is referred as weak theory of advertising. In this essay, these two theories are discussed thoroughly to understand how advertising works; furthermore some models of each of the theory are also discussed to extend the understanding. Finally comparisons between the theories are drawn to generate a proper conclusion of ‘Strong’ and ‘Weak’ theory debate of advertising.
To begin with, a thorough discussion about the strong theory and its supporting models. Strong theory of advertising defined by Koekemoer (2004) as advertising is capable of affecting a degree of change in the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs or behaviour of target customers or audience. One of the renowned exponents of this theory Jones (1997) thinks that strong theory sees advertisement as dynamic force which is indeed a salesmanship. Furthermore, he states the believe that advertising can persuade people to purchase a product or service who has never bought the product previously ultimately leading towards continuous long-run purchase behaviour. Therefore, it can be said from the above discussion that advertising is a strong force which plays an important role in driving sales and category growth. Strong school mainly ‘Persuasion’ theory’. According to Yeshin (2006) persuasion theory assumes that advertising is received by consumers in processed manner; advertising seeks to change consumers’ knowledge and attitudes in such way that will also change their behaviour. Persuasive appeals are made within some models which are discussed one by one. To begin with, we are going to talk about AIDA model. AIDA model is generally attributed to Strong who is thought to be the developer of this model but originally it was generated by E.St. Elmo Lewis around thirty years earlier (Egan, 2007). Breakdown of AIDA are as follows A→ Attention, I→ Interest, D→ Desire, A→ Action which represents that advertising creates awareness at initial level among consumers that develops interests followed by the desire about the product or service leading them to purchase the product. Next is ‘Hierarchy of Effects’ model which is an extended version of AIDA model which was developed by Lavidge and Steiner in 1961 (Applegate, 2005). These writers believe that advertising is a long term investment that moves consumers from variety of stages beginning from unawareness to actual purchase of the product. The stages of this model are as follows: Awareness→ Knowledge→ Liking→ Preference→ Conviction→ Purchase which is another way means Cognition → Affective→ Conative (Howard & Barry, 1990)....