Surveillance and advertising

Advertising plays an important role in our society since it can be seen everywhere in our community. Along with the gradual transformation of social economy, the change of marketing methods and the diversity of consumer demand, advertising appears in more forms such as digital ones. Therefore, advertising regulation is facing more challenges in this new era. Surveillance becomes significant in the improvement of advertising industry for it is meaningful to reduce negative impact of advertising and optimal allocation of advertising resources.

Tweets embedded from my Twitter account: @annabelfeng

It is often difficult for consumers to identify products when facing lots of advertising in the market. Now some drug advertisers are more likely to aim at the old people for they often lack of information and awareness of risks. They often use words like ‘free experience center’ and ‘health management centre’ to attract old people, and then exaggerate the effect of their products in order to let them buy in a very expensive price. What’s more, as a special group, juveniles are another high-risk victim of advertising. They often mislead by the ‘fantastic’ words and images of ads and sometimes advertising may induce blind competition among youngsters. Children or even young people often lack independent judgment and the ability of self protection, they are more likely to make unreasonable purchase.

In fact, the potential harm of commercial advertising to young adults has already been recognized by regulation institutions. They have issued proposals that the advertising industry should not damage the physical and mental health of young people. However, with the rapid development of the internet, online advertising as a new from of ads has been gradually applied to the marketing activities. Compared with the traditional media ads, online advertising has lots of new features such as highly targeted and wide range of coverage. How to effectively supervise the online advertising market becomes an important issue. For example, though advertising regulation institution have already restricted and regulated tobacco advertising, online advertising has allowed the tobacco industry to promote cigars and cigarettes since online advertising related rules are incomplete (Freeman and Chapman 2008). It is discovered that tobacco advertisements were more likely to spread through websites, such as music sites and social media, where up to 35% of the users are youth under 18 and up to 34% are young adults among 18-24 years old. Because young adults may be more impacted by such advertisements than older people by implied advertisement messages for they often lack independent judgment (Amanda, Ollle & Donna 2013).

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Photo Credit: 1969 Ad, Salem Cigarettes, Young Woman in Meadow with Flowers by Newsweek (CC BY-NC 2.0)

It is delighted to see that traditional advertising regulation has been improved a lot. Recently, the results of public support for increased regulation of drug ads has increased a lot. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry’s trade group has announced DTC marketing guidelines that require their member PHRMA companies to submit their own advertisements to the FDA prior to their broadcasting. The so-called ‘reminder’ advertisements are also banned (Cowden and Katz 2006).

Tweets embedded from my Twitter account: @annabelfeng

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With regard to online advertisement, celebrities should responsible for their advertising posts. Celebrities should bear the relevant legal responsibilities if they post false advertisements on social media and mislead their followers.

Photo Credit: 1977 cosmetics Ad, Cover Girl Mascara with Young Cheryl Tiegs by Classic Film (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 

 

 

 

Reference list:

Amanda, R, Ollle G & Donna, V 2013, ‘Tobacco on the web: surveillance and characterization of online tobacco and e-cigarette advertising’, Tob Control, vol.24, pp. 341-347.

Cowden, A & Katz, K 2006, ‘Food and drug administration surveillance of dermatology-related and nondermatology-related prescription drug advertising in the U.S.A., 2000-2003’,British Journal of Dermatology, vol. 154, no. 5, pp. 950-958.

Freeman, B, Chapman, S 2008, ‘Gone viral? Heard the buzz? A guide for public health practitioners and researchers on how Web 2.0 can subvert advertising restrictions and spread health information’,J Epidemiol Community Health, vol. 62, no. 7, pp. 78-82.

 

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