Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Advertisement and Propaganda

In the recent past, technology and multimedia advancement has enabled people to influence others into engaging in tasks, seeking various services and even purchasing products. This is practiced by both big and small brands. Various concepts may be used to influence consumer behavior, such as advertising and propaganda. Despite the fact that these two terms are commonly confused, they have different meanings. 


What does Advertisement mean?

This is the use of multimedia methods to promote activities, services or products by use of different avenues, with an aim of persuading potential consumers. It is commonly incorporated in magazines, billboards, newspapers, televisions, and online. Various methods such as the creation of visual displays, sensational messages, discounts and promises are often used to attract the attention of the target groups. Advertisements are however often met with criticism on the exaggeration and false information that is commonly used. 

There are different types of advertising that may be used;

  • Broadcast media- This involves use radio and television
  • Print media- Involves magazines and newspapers.
  • Support media- Avenues such as billboards and posters are used
  • Direct marketing- This aims at getting a direct response from potential consumers by use of avenues such as emails. 
  • Product placements- This involves including products in TV shows, video games or even movies to increase popularity and generate sales. 
  • Social media & internet- this has become popular with the increase in innovation and social media use. It involves the use of Google paid ads and social media advertisements, just to name a few. 


What is Propaganda?

This is the act of influencing people by changing their attitudes and perceptions regarding the way they view certain products, services and even beliefs. The most common types of propaganda include religious and political propaganda. While political propaganda influences the public’s opinion, religious propaganda influences through emotions. Other areas where propaganda may be applied include; drugs, racism, sexuality, and lifestyle and health choices. 

In commodity marketing, propaganda may be used to show the superiority of a product by making the other product seem inferior. 


Similarities between Advertisement and Propaganda

  • Both may change a person’s perspective or preference
  • Both are biased on the information they choose to present


Differences between Advertisement and Propaganda

  1. Definition

An advertisement is the use of multimedia methods to promote activities, services or products by use of different avenues, with an aim of persuading potential consumers. On the other hand, propaganda is the act of influencing people by changing their attitudes and perceptions regarding the way they view certain products, services and even beliefs.

  1. Aim

While advertisements aim at attracting public attention to a certain service or product and change consumer preference, propaganda aims at distorting facts and basing them on biased opinions hence is misleading to the target group. 

  1. End result

The end result of advertising is a change of preference hence a purchase. On the other hand, the end result of propaganda is a show of superiority while making the other products seem inferior. It also changes people’s mentality in regard to political, race, religious and lifestyle choices

  1. Common use

While advertisements are used in the consumer market to promote new products, propaganda is not only used in the consumer market but also influences political, drugs, racism, sexuality, lifestyle and health choices.

  1. Techniques

While advertising applies techniques such as dramatization, impact, description, imaging, frequency and positioning, propaganda applies techniques such as emotional manipulation, inaccuracies, exaggerations and generalization. 

Advertisement vs. Propaganda; Comparison Table


Summary of Advertisement vs. Propaganda

While advertisement and propaganda may seem similar, they are not. Advertisements are used in the persuasion of consumers to purchase a certain product and service, and at the same time convince to change brand loyalty. On the other hand, propaganda may be used in commodity marketing. However, it is commonly used to influencing people to change attitudes and perceptions about something, by use of inaccurate, biased and false information.


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References :

[0]Marlin Randal. Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion. Broadview Press Publishers, 2002.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=Zp38Ot2g7LEC&pg=PA175&dq=Difference+between+advertisement+and+propaganda&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjzgK36gcDgAhWLHxQKHXyfCZsQ6AEIKzAB#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20advertisement%20and%20propaganda&f=false

[1]O’Donnel V & Jowett G. Readings in Propaganda and Persuasion: New and Classic Essays. SAGE Publishers, 2006.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=Q0CIQ55X6lkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Difference+between+advertisement+and+propaganda&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjzgK36gcDgAhWLHxQKHXyfCZsQ6AEIOzAE#v=onepage&q&f=false

[2]O'Shaughnessy N & O'Shaughnessy J. Persuasion in Advertising. Routledge Publishers, 2004.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=FlE-6fPqReAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Difference+between+advertisement+and+propaganda&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiluMuOg8DgAhXL6eAKHcpMBNY4ChDoAQgvMAI#v=onepage&q&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/advertisement-coca-cola-cola-coke-2098989/

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Step_into_your_place,_propaganda_poster,_1915.jpg

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