Advertising media

Type of medium Advantage Disadvantage
 Newspaper 1. There is a wide target audience. It is read by many people.

2. Circulation cost per exposure is low. It is one of the cheapest media of reaching a large number of prospective buyers.

3. It is suitable for products or services in general demand, e.g. films, electrical appliances.

4. It enables the advertiser to present the products in some details, e.g. technical details about a car.

5. The advertiser can have the choice of national or regional coverage.

6. Unlike advertisement in the magazine which must be submitted weeks ahead, advertisements in the newspaper can be inserted or cancelled at shorter notice.

7. The advertiser can obtain response from the readers by providing telephone numbers or by means of coupons or contest.

8. Newspapers have the capacity to accept a large number of advertisements compared with the limited time on television.

1. It has a short life span

2. The advertisements have to compete with other advertisements for the readers attentions.

3. The written advertisement message can reach only the literates.

4. Advertisements are many and varied such that it takes effort to find the exact advertisement one is looking for.

5. The paper quality is low compared with those used for magazine.

6. Newspapers don’t have the same impact as the television as an advertisement medium.



Magazine 1. The paper quality is better compared with that used for the newspaper.

2. An advertisement in the magazine enjoys a longer life span than that in the newspaper.

3. The targeted audience of the advertisement can be reached mare easily. E.g. a firm selling computer software could advertise in a computer magazine or a firm selling cash register can advertise in a trade journal.

4. As the advertising message is directed at the intended audience there will be less wasteful circulation.

5. It is suitable for advertising messages which are long and have to be read in a leisurely manner.

1. It is inflexible, as advertisements must be placed weeks before the date of the publication.

2. There is limited readership as the readers are specific.

3. It is infrequent as the magazine is published only periodically.

4. As an advertising medium, it doesn’t have same impact as television.


Radio 1. The advertising message can be reached large number of people even in remote areas.

2. It is much cheaper to produce advertisements of this medium than a television commercial.

3. The use of sound such as music and oral makes radio a more lively advertising medium than static medium such as newspaper and magazine.

4. The advertising message can reach the target market effectively through special interest programme such as children’s or women’s programmes.

5. With radio sets that are portable or fitted in motor vehicles, radio message can be received widely.

1. There is lack of visual elements and as such, they are less effective when visual impact is needed.

2. It’s life span is very short compared with the newspaper and the magazine.

3. Audience attention is low when broadcasting is being used to provide a background for other activities.


Television 1. The advertiser can demonstrate the product with realistic sound s, colors and movements because of effects. The television is one of those media that have high persuasive impact i.e. the ability to stimulate consumers.

2. The television commercials can reach a large number of viewers as they have wide exposure.

3. Advertisements can be repeated to the point where a large number of viewers have seen the advertisements to create an effective and lasting impact.

4. The advertisement can be directed at national or regional audience.

5. The time chosen for airing an advertisement can suite the target audience, e.g. Toys can be advertised during children’s programme.

6. There is high audience attention and personal impact.

7. The use of the product can be demonstrated and explained.

8. The viewers can be invited to respond immediately by dialing a telephone number.


1. It is not suitable when detail information is required. The newspaper and the magazine are better advertising media if more information is required by the prospective buyers.

2. It is not suitable if the target audience is small due to high cost.

3. There is high absolute cost – the cost in producing an airing television commercial is very high and requires big budget.

4. The life span of a given advertising message is short unless it is recorded.

5. There is less audience selectively as television commercials tend to reach mass audience, whereas the magazine can be more selective.

Cinema 1. High audience attention is received as there are fewer distractions compared with house viewing of television.

2. Its wide screen gives extra scope for more dramatic and realistic impact compared to television.

3. Advertisements on films make full use of the audiovisual effects with movements and colors.

1. There is limited coverage as it is limited to film goers.

2. It is less popular with the event of videotapes, which are used to demonstrate and advertise the use of household products at shopping centers.

3. It is a non-interactive medium, as the audience cannot respond immediately.

Direct mail 1. Audience selectively is practiced as the advertising message will be mailed only to selected target groups.

2. Flexibility can be exercised.

3. There is no competition with the same medium.

4. Wasteful circulation is kept to a minimum as it reaches only the market it is intended for.

1. It is limited only to the literate.

2. It is limited to the mailing list the firm can secure.

3. Cost of direct mail per prospective client is relatively high. It suffers from the stigma of being classified as ‘junk mail’.

Outdoor hoarding and sign e.g. signboard, neon lights, poster 1. There is an impact of large size and colors.

2. Flexibility can be exercised.

3. There is high repeat exposure.

4. It is a low cost medium.

5. Low competition is expected.

6. The advertising message can reach a large number of people.

1. There is no audience selectivity.

2. There are creative limitations as messages are limited to simple, short and clear statements.

3. No audio- kinetic impact can be made.

4. It is open to vandalism, especially the posters.

Pamphlet and sample 1. There is intensity of market coverage within a certain area.

2. There is an advantage of personal impact.

3. Advise and explanation can be given when necessary.

1. It may fall into the hands of those not interested in the product.

2. There is limited circulation as they have to be handed to person to person.

Traveling salesman 1. It is effective because it brings products to the homes of consumers.

2. Salesmen can demonstrate the uses of the product to the consumers.

1. The coverage is limited to certain areas.

2. Salesman may not be welcome in by home owners.

3. High cost of employing sales personal can be incurred.

Window display and exhibition 1. It is attractive to shoppers and exhibition visitors.

2. Uses and advantages of product can be explained and demonstrated.

3. Products can be shown to targeted audience

4. can give further information

5. Products can actually be seen and examined


1. It can reach only shoppers and exhibition visitors.

2. The frequency of holding an exhibition is not high.


The internet 1. It is an interactive medium where the user can key in input and obtain response immediately.

2. The medium uses multimedia to create realism in advertisements.

3. The advertiser can place the advertisements in a popular website or he can create his own home page.

4. The advertising message has longer life span than a television commercial or a radio message as the user can always go back to the website previously visited.

5. The advertising message can reach selected target groups.

6. The cost of advertising in this medium is relatively low compared with the television.

1. The coverage is limited only to those who surf the internet and visit the website.

2. The advertising message placed has to compete with many other messages for attentions.

Catalogues 1. can give full details

2. can be shown in colors

3. can show all the products in one catalogue

4. can be referred to repeatedly


1. maybe expensive to produce/circulate

2. may reach only a selected group

3. limited to the literate


The choice of advertising media depends on the following factors:


Nature of the product or service

  1. The medium chosen must fit the product or the service to be advertised. Goods, especially new ones that require explanations and demonstrations are best advertised at trade fairs and exhibitions. Alternatively, salesmen can visit homes to demonstrate the use of household appliances, etc. Women’s clothes are best shown in fashion shows or women’s magazines. Services such as self-service petrol kiosks and Automated Teller machine (ATM) services are best demonstrated over the television network as television commercials combine sight, sound and movement which can create a more dramatic impact than the other media. Besides, television commercials can reach a large number of viewers.


Target market

  1. Target market refers to the group of people that the advertisement is aimed at. Groups of people may differ in terms of income, age or sex. The medium chosen must fit the target group, i.e. the group of people who will likely buy the product or service. For example, if you are trying to reach the female market, then women’s magazines may be appropriate. If you are trying to reach to children, then you may select television as the medium especially during children’s programmes.


Extent of market: Local, national, international

  1. If wide coverage is needed for a certain advertisement, the national newspaper will be a more appropriate medium than the local newspaper. However, the local newspaper will be useful for tapping the local market, e.g. selling used car or renting a room or a house. Television is probably the most popular medium for disseminating any advertising message to the mass market which includes both the literate and the illiterate. For example, advertisers can reach the world market through live telecast of football or boxing which has international appeal.



  1. The cost of using the medium should be considered in relation to the budget or the amount of funds available and the circulation of the medium. For example, a small firm intends to advertise the sale of used cars but it has allocated a small budget for this purpose. As such, we can rule out television as a choice as the cost of advertising on television is very high. Instead, the firm may put a small advertisement in the newspaper.
  2. The advertiser should also weigh the relative benefits of the media with their relative costs when making a choice. Although the cost of advertising on television may be high, the size of the audience it will reach is great, resulting in lower cost per exposure.
  3. The standard criterion for comparing media is cost per thousand, i.e. the cost of reaching 1000 members of the target audience. Cost per thousand enables the advertiser to compare the cost of different media, such as television versus radio or magazine versus newspaper.



  1. Flexibility refers to the ease with which the advertiser can change the advertisement so as to adapt to different conditions and circumstances. As a medium, the magazine generally has less flexibility than the newspaper. As the former requires the finalized layout weeks before publication, the advertisement in the magazine cannot be changed easily, whereas the advertisement in a newspaper can be changed days before its publication. Radio provides greater flexibility as the advertiser can change the advertisement more easily, even on the day the advertisement is aired.


  1. The ‘noise level’ refers to the level of distraction for the targeted audience. The noise level for an advertisement in the newspaper is great, meaning that other advertisements in the newspaper as well as news reports distract the reader’s attention from the advertising message. On the other hand, television commercials encounter a lower level of distraction because the commercials are aired one at a time and can capture the viewers’ attention. Compared with the newspaper and the television, the cinema encounters the lowest level of distraction as a medium – an advertising message can capture the full attention of the audience in a cinema.


The lifespan of an advertisement refers to the length of time an advertisement will be on display. Different media have different life spans. For example, a radio or a television commercial has short lifespan – it will last only for a few seconds. Listeners cannot replay the commercial unless they record the programme. On the other hand, an advertisement in the newspaper or the magazine has a longer lifespan as the advertisement can be read and re-read several times. It can also be filed and passed on to other people.