Advocacy advertising refers to advertisement that is aimed at influencing the public opinion on specific political, social and economic issues. It is a form of marketing that is used to support a specific message or cause. Compared to commercial advertising, advocacy advertising is considered to be done in the interest of a section of the public. The advertisement does not typically promote a good or service. In most occasions, advocacy campaigns are funded by non-profit organizations, parastatals or private advocacy groups. In some governments, it is required that those organizations involved in advocacy advertisements reveal the source of their funding.
Advocacy advertising can either be directed at specific groups or the general targets that may include the media, politicians, government agencies, consumer groups among others. The sponsorship can also be done by different advertisers that may also include individuals. An example whereby an individual financed an advocacy advertisement was in the 1960s in the New York Times. The individual bought a two-page advertisement at a cost $12,000 revealing his peace plan towards bringing an end to the war in Vietnam.
Over the years, quite a number of non-profit organizations have been involved in doing advocacy advertisements in order to advance their agendas. However, businesses too have occasionally used advocacy advertisements for the advancement or opposition of legislations that are viewed to hurt or assist in enhancing their trading activities.
It should be noted that there are usually varied laws concerning advocacy advertising, based on the nation where the advertisement is placed. In certain states, it is required that when this form of advertising is aired, it should be clearly marked and the person or company that provided the funding be revealed. This is required in order to raise an alarm to the people that such advertisements are not informational pieces or editorials, instead specific ads. Apart from just being done on TV and radio, advocacy advertising can also be done on billboards and various platforms on print media.
The contents of advocacy advertisements vary considerably depending on the issue that is being addressed or aim of the advert. Like other forms of advertisement, advocacy advertising is designed to be not only eye catching but to also win over the minds and hearts of the target audience. It is expected that after the audience have been exposed to the advertisement, the people may take a stand on the issue that is being addressed. In this way, the advertising will have achieved its goal. However, there is no certainty in that.
The main logic that is behind advocacy advertising is that it assists people to be able to communicate their views and be heard by the relevant people. This kind of advertisement is deal for various government programs like treatment and prevention of health conditions. Besides, advocacy advertisements can also go a long way in making significant contribution to democracy. This is because, they can influence government policy. On the other hand, they can also be useful in ensuring the accountability of a nation to its people.
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