Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Advertising in Textbooks?

P&G_JOYImage via Wikipedia
This semester I am taking my first marketing class. I thought I would enjoy it but a lot about the class has fallen short of my expectations. My biggest complaint? The textbook's approach.

I understand that we are learning about advertising, but marketing, especially in its modern day form, is much more than just throwing ads and products at customers and expecting them to buy what you're selling. And my textbook certainly stressses the importance of knowing your customer and understanding them, but I can't help but wonder if the book itself is one giant advertisement.

Proctor and Gamble make many appearances in the book, especially concerning Tide, and I'm not even halfway through the book. I read through an entire list of many products that P&G make, including all of the Tides as well as other laudry detergents. I found this list in the book.

Another issue is when corporations are painted as nothing but good. Even if the company has had problems in the past, the goal of many marketing campaigns is to show that everything has changed. And in the class, the campaign is all we see. One negative concern I've seen addressed is about WalMart. Many dissatisfied customers will start websites criticizing the company and get thousands of visitors daily. While fixing the concerns (which even WalMart has to admit are valid) seems to me like the best fix, they instead try to take down the offending websites. And my book blames the starters of these sites for ruining WalMart's image.

Even in my management classes, whenever we watch a video case on a company, I always feel like I am watching a commercial. You have a narrarator with a cheery voice listing all of the benefits this company has as a result of a new leadership initiative. I understand that the teacher wants us to have a frame of references, but I think we deserve to know what is going on that may not be so wonderful about the companies we are studying. And I certainly shouldn't feel like I am always looking at ads during class.
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