Corporate Advertising: Advantageous or Just Too Controversial?

Corporate Strategy_Featured on in the United States generated revenues of $39.1 billion in 2013. Companies and organizations of all sizes use advertising to reach their target market and inform them of their products and promotions. However, a specific form of advertising, and a sometimes less popular form, that focuses on the brand rather than highlighting products is corporate advertising.

In the marketing industry, corporate advertising has continuously been considered a controversial form of advertising. Unlike normal advertisements, corporate advertising does not promote a product or service, but instead focuses on promoting the overall image of the firm, similar to public relations. This all leads to the questions: why is corporate advertising considered controversial by some? And, how can market research help change the views on corporate advertising?

Here are 4 main reasons corporate advertising is seen as controversial:

  1. Consumers do not like this form of advertising. Studies have found that most consumers do not like corporate ads because they do not understand the reason for the ads. This could result from large corporations not clearly communicating their message in the advertisement itself.
  2. It’s a costly form of self-indulgence. Corporate ads have been accused of only boosting the egos of the board and upper management. Because these ads do not focus on a specific product, the content usually discusses the overall company and, therefore, can be seen as boastful.
  3. Consumers assume the firm is in trouble. Many people have suggested that the only times organizations release corporate advertisements are when they are going through financial struggles or are seen in a bad eye by the public. Because of the bad publicity, corporate ads then just attempt to fix the problem. 
  4. Corporate advertising is a waste of money. Because the ad is not promoting a product, is not directed at anyone specific, and not generally liked, many believe these forms of advertisements are a waste of resources. 

Despite criticisms, corporate advertising is extremely popular. A lot of advertisements fall into this category because it includes all advertisements that run for the direct benefit of the corporation instead of for a product or service.

When designing a new corporate advertisement, there are some important factors you should keep in mind. Determining what your organization needs to tell the audience in the advertisement can rid some of the controversial topics immediately. There are many reasons to make a corporate advertisement. Conduct market research internally to figure out what route you can take with your ad.

Here are some reasons to produce a corporate ad:

  • Create a positive image of your firm.
  • Communicate your organization’s position or view on social, business, or environmental issues.
  • Boost employee morale and smooth labor regulations.
  • Help newly deregulated industries and work to ease consumer uncertainty.
  • Help establish an identity for your organization instead of relying on brand.

These reasons can then be used to create objectives for your new marketing campaign. If you can determine a good route for your corporate advertisement, there are many benefits that can result. Some of the biggest advantages of corporate advertising include: helping establish your position in the industry; taking advantage of benefits you would get through public relations; and, reaching your target market.

Like with all new marketing projects, creating a corporate advertisement needs a foundation of knowledge to be successful. Do the research necessary to ensure you do not use resources to make an ad that will not benefit your organization.

To learn more about how market research can help you and your organization, check out our free eBook.

How to Succeed Using Market Research

Thanks for reading!

Caitlin Stewart
Marketing Associate

Topics: Advertising Marketing