Photograph of advertisements in Piccadilly Square

Advertising is about more than selling products


When considering advertising we normally think of ads or promotions that sell things like clothes, fragrances, or household items.

But advertising is also used by media organisations to provide information and promote media texts like TV shows and music albums.

Other organisations that use advertising include:

  • Charities: to raise awareness of issues and encourage people to donate. These adverts are often designed to shock the audience into the act of donating - they may do this by showing disturbing images. Charities such as Barnardos or Childline have used this technique in their advertising.
  • Government Departments: the Department of Health uses advertisements to provide information to the general public on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. An example of this is the NHS Change4Life campaign, which encourages healthy eating habits, or the Ministry of Defence's adverts designed to boost army recruitment.
  • Event Organisers: this type of advertising encourages people to attend concerts, sports events, or exhibitions.

Ads are normally produced by advertising agencies and they specialise in creating adverts that can be shared on different platforms including:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Cinema
  • Internet
  • Billboards
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Leaflets and flyers

A successful advertisement will consider the brand identity of the organisation, and in some cases, re-invent it in order to attract a new audience or bring back a declining audience.