Surrogate Advertising

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Surrogate Advertisements: A Case of Proxy War


Prof. Jitendra K. Sharma
Shri R.G.P. Gujarati Professional Institute
A.B. Road, Near Bombay Hospital, Indore-452 010

Advertisements have a strong influence in our life. We like them because they provide information and create awareness about the market. Their significance in corporate world can not be underestimated. But many times, some advertisements are accused of misleading people. When such accusations are proved, some advertisements are scrapped off from media. Such instances have been reported in the advertisements endorsing alcoholic drinks and cigarettes. These advertisements were opposed by a major section of the society. Hence the Government had imposed a ban on advertisements of these products in the media in the year 2002. ORIGIN OF SURROGATE ADVERTISEMENTS

As a reaction to the directive of Government, the liquor & tobacco majors sought other ways of endorsing their products. They have found an alternative path of advertising through which they can keep on reminding their liquor brands to their customers. They have introduced various other products with the same brand name. Launching new products with common brand name is known as brand extension, which can be carried out for related products (eg: Tata Salt and Tata Tea) or unrelated products (eg: Tata Tea and Tata Indica). Prima facie, there is nothing wrong with brand extension. The problem occurs when brand extension is carried out in response to the ban on advertisement of one product category. In this case, the companies launch other products with the same brand name for the purpose of reminding their old customers. Heavy advertising is done so that the customers do not forget their liquor & tobacco brands, for which advertisements are banned. The advertisements for such new products are placed under the category of "Surrogate Advertisements". Their only objective is to compensate the losses arising out of the ban on...
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