It is inconceivable to think of the modern world without advertising. It is one of the constitutive elements of modern living and in terms of costs involves astronomical figures.
In its extended sense, advertising is as much applicable to the world of politics and religion as to that of business and trade. Here, however, we will confine ourselves to the more common world of business, where one is struck by the intensity and subtlety of the advertising it resorts to. Perhaps it is inherent in mass production for extensive markets across a country and beyond to thrive one large-scale advertising. One thing generally leads to another. International trade was made possible, thanks to the unprecedented development in the means of transport and communication, and in turn it created the giant publicity firms and advertising agencies.
Two obvious functions of all means of advertising are bringing new products or services to the knowledge of their prospective customers and promoting their sales and use. Nothing is wrong in this-but trouble arise when exaggerated or patents dishonest claims are made by the manufacturers for their wares with the intention of making profits at the customer’s expense.
Furthermore, two associated evils of unscrupulous advertising are vitiating the psychology of potential buyers and marketing goods capable of adversely affecting human health and environment. For, it is not rare to meet with instances where ingredients which are known to harm or poison the human body are used in the items sold to unsuspecting millions under the cover of fierce publicity and aggressive advertising.
This is not all to suggest that business advertising is an unmitigated evil. Put to proper use the advertising can do enormous good to the society, in the hands of people with a social conscience. However, in the hands of those businessmen who are unethical and unscrupulous, the chances are that advertising will be more an instrument of individual and social harms than an agent of human welfare.