What is the difference between Advertising and Propaganda?

advertising and propaganda

The terms advertising and propaganda are often used interchangeably by many people, however, these are two completely different concepts. While both are linked to the concept of communications within marketing, advertising focuses on influencing people’s consumption preferences. Advertising aims to broadly position a product or service in the eyes of consumers and then convince them to consume it.

On the other hand, propaganda is not used to place a product, but to influence the way of thinking of a particular audience. Some of the most famous examples of propaganda are those used by the United States to recruit young people during World War I. Primarily, propaganda is used by the field of politics, because in this way they try to convince the citizens.


Religious Propaganda: Well Known in History
Literary Propaganda: Books have been used as propaganda;
Political Propaganda: Inside this “White” propaganda whose purpose is to create a favorable opinion on a specific group (for example the Nazis with Hitler). “Black” propaganda, which attempts to encourage fear, unease about actions of another entity (eg NO TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES).


The Business, which goes to these through newspapers or magazines
The Goods and Consumption, aimed at the consumer
The Institutional, which creates prestige and fosters respect for public activities.
Propaganda is aimed at companies, ethnic minorities, organizations and governments. The Advertising is directed to all type of public according to the money of this one.

Table of Contents

Comparison table

Definition With regard to advertising, this is the set of commercial strategies that serve as a tool for marketing. This is a non-personal means of communication, since it is usually aimed at the masses or specific groups of people. Therefore, it can be said that advertising is a massive form of communication. Its purpose is to increase the consumption of a product or service or in any case, place it within the consumer market. The way to achieve this is through advertising campaigns. These are disseminated through the media. As for propaganda, it seeks to influence the way of thinking, as well as the attitude of people. This usually presents partial and incomplete information seeking to convince certain people of something.Propaganda is used mainly by political parties. Because of this, the propaganda has gained some negative connotations. It can even be said that propaganda is political advertising, while advertising is commercial. In conclusion, propaganda tries to make people change their ideology and adopt new beliefs.
Etymology Advertising comes from the Latin“publicare” which means to do something of the public domain. On the other hand, the word propaganda comes from the Latin “propagare” which means to spread or spread.
  • Presents the positive characteristics of the product briefly
  • Many times they create a sense of urgency in consumers. They use tools like “Limited offer”, “Valid until …” and others for people to buy as soon as possible.
  • Must be brief and persuasive
  • In addition, it must be attractive and original
  • Advertising must be appropriate for the target audience
  • It is partial, it presents only some part of the information. Select the one that best suits your purpose and omits the one that does not
  • It involves the use of persuasive speech
  • He does not seek to inform the people with truth, he seeks to incline his opinion
  • In addition, the information presented is usually incomplete, unrelated, and partisan
  • Finally, when propaganda is used for unethical purposes, it can be considered a tool of disinformation and even censorship.
Goals Advertising has at least two goals. The first is to inform the customer or consumer about the benefits of your product / service. The second is to tilt the preferences of the consumer through the emotional. In this way, it is intended that the consumer acquires the product or service advertised. The propaganda instead, tries to spread impersonal messages in order to persuade the audience.
Its objective is to increase the support or rejection of a certain ideology. This they achieve by not always speaking with the truth; the purpose is to convince people regardless of form.
Techniques  Advertising uses various techniques, including the following:

  • Association (aesthetics, humor, feelings)
  • Dramatization
  • About us
  • Argumentation
  • Description
  • Exposition
  • Impact
  • Opportunity
  • Frequency
  • Proposal
  • Image
  • Subliminal effect
  • Positioning
As for propaganda, although its techniques are similar to those of advertising, it should be remembered that since their objectives are different, the approaches of the techniques are also:

  • Emotional or emotional manipulation
  • Manufacture of fake documents
  • About us
  • Use and aggrandizement of stereotypes and generalizations
  • Use of inaccuracies and lies
  • In addition, the exaggeration of the simple is used

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