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advertising and propaganda

What is the difference between advertising and propaganda

Advertising and propaganda are two words that are commonly used interchangeably and as synonyms, but the truth is that they are two different activities. The advertising and propaganda goals are different, so one action should not be confused with the other. It is important to know what each term refers to in order to use them properly and that is why we want to explain to you how is the difference between advertising and propaganda. The publicity and propaganda are communication models using different support themselves as media to reach a targeted audience determined. These two terms are commonly used interchangeably, but in reality represent two very different activities, with different objectives, so it is good to be clear about what each is and even more so when one or the other is used. Know in this article the main differences between advertising and propaganda.


difference between advertising and propaganda

Advertising is understood as all those actions designed to disseminate a product or a service with the aim of attracting buyers or users . Advertising is included within the 4 P’s of marketing and the marketing mix , and its purpose is mainly commercial. The advertising has commercial purposes , seeks to promote products and services in order to attract potential customers or buyers and move them to acquire what particular brand sells or offers. It uses different methods and channels to disclose their advertisements. In general, he tries to create striking advertisements to impact the public, and uses the media, both digital and traditional, among other promotion strategies.

In this way, a large number of activities or techniques are included in advertising that aim to publicize the product or service and promote its consumption or sale:

  • Spots or television ads
  • Radio advertising
  • Print ads in press
  • Online advertising
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Product placement or product placement
  • Advertising at the point of sale
  • Branding
  • Sampling or product samples
  • Guerrilla marketing actions


advertising and propaganda

In contrast, propaganda encompasses actions that aim to attract followers or influence the attitude of people, that is, it is expected to convince the public to adopt a certain attitude or adhere to a certain group or belief. Propaganda, on the other hand, has no commercial purposes . Its message seeks to promote, fundamentally, campaigns of ideological, political, doctrinal, religious, educational, conscientiousness, etc. that generate an impact on the public and modify their behavior or opinion in relation to a certain topic. Its real purpose is to attract followers and followers for a cause, doctrine, belief or opinion. The advertisements can deal, for example, on sexual education, environmental education, awareness raising against the consumption of drugs, alcohol or tobacco; they can be against racial, ethnic or sexual discrimination; they can be political campaigns, etc.

The propaganda is not linked to the commercial sphere but mainly to issues:

  • Policies: electoral campaign, recruitment of members and supporters, etc.
  • Ideological: NGOs, associations, armed forces …
  • Religious: capturing faithful to religions and sects

Institutional advertising should not be confused with propaganda , since it is about those messages that the Government of a country addresses to its citizens with the aim of promoting behavior or values, informing about the rights and obligations of society, etc. This type of advertising does not aim at a sale or hiring, but neither is any type of adhesion expected, but it is used to establish communication between the public power and citizens.

Differences between advertising and propaganda

best advertising and propaganda

Although in some countries the terms advertising and propaganda are used indistinctly and as synonyms, the truth is that it is not correct. And there are clear differences between the two:

The advertising campaigns or advertising or recruitment expect consumption of a good or service, propaganda or propaganda aim adherence to an ideology or a change of attitude.

The advertising is related to trade, the advertising basically political, ideological and religious.

While the goal of advertising is always to get a sale or contract, the purpose of propaganda is not necessarily linked to a direct monetary exchange.


Advertising: The actions of advertising are aimed at getting a sale, which is aimed at consumption or a good or contracting a service, that is to say, it is for profit so it encourages the consumption of a product.

Propaganda: The actions of propaganda are aimed at achieving a change of attitude or achieving adherence to a certain ideology. It is not tied to any type of monetary exchange.


Advertising: It is emerging and belongs to the commercial field. Advertising focuses primarily on business and is developed or used by companies .

Propaganda: It emerges and belongs exclusively to the ideological, political and religious sphere. Propaganda focuses on criteria and ideas, mostly developed by social and political groups.


Advertising: In order to capture the attention and persuade the consumer uses the use of creativity, fashion, beauty, etc. Display the positive characteristics of a product, it must be brief, persuasive, attractive, original and appropriate to the target audience.

Propaganda: In order to persuade people use the feelings, beliefs and reason. It exhibits only part of the information, selecting the one that is positive for the purposes that are sought and omitting the one that does not. He frequently makes use of persuasive discourse, does not inform with the truth, only seeks to incline his opinion.


Advertising: Fundamentally its use is commercial, it sells products, services, modifies tastes and preferences.

Propaganda: Fundamentally its use is: ideological, doctrinal, political, educational, religious, awareness. For example, sexual education, environmental protection, awareness against the consumption of alcohol and drugs, rejection of racial or sexual discrimination, gender abuse, electoral campaigns, etc.


Advertising: Generally the results are expected, attract the attention of consumers, tipping their preferences and achieve greater sales. Sometimes the advertising impact is so high that it generates new needs for people.

Propaganda: It can have positive and negative effects, achieve support or rejection towards an ideology or philosophy.


Publicity: There can be several types of advertising especially if it is classified according to whom it is addressed, for example:

Business advertising: It is advertising directed to the businessmen’s association, it reaches them through newspapers and specialized magazines.

Advertising of Goods and Consumption: It is the advertising that makes known, promotes the consumption of a certain product, is directed to the consumer.

Institutional advertising: Advertising that is designed to create prestige and encourage respect for certain activities and institutions.

Propaganda: There are also several types of propaganda, it is aimed at companies, ethnic groups, religious groups, etc., But it is classified according to its purpose. for example:

Religious propaganda: seeks to influence people about certain religious ideas or beliefs.

Political propaganda: It is divided into two, an influence on people with the intention that they create a favorable opinion on a specific group. The other aims to promote uneasiness, fear, distrust, with respect to other entities.

Ideological propaganda: It is usually used by NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), non-profit associations, with the purpose of seeking sympathizers and support for noble, help and awareness causes.

About advertising and propaganda

the advertising and propaganda

Publicity and propaganda may differ in terms of their purposes and therefore in various aspects, but the gap that separates them from one another is very thin, so much so that sometimes they can work hand in hand.

By advertising some companies use a certain ideology to attract more buyers, creating a reason and motivation in the mind of the consumer.

Likewise, numerous advertisements are adjusted with advertising messages, in order to achieve greater success in its purpose.

Finally, Advertising and propaganda have in common that both seek to present, promote and disseminate a message with respect to which they pretend to be persuasive, produce a reaction or modify a behavior. However, advertising and propaganda differ in the objective with which each one communicates its message. That is why, although sometimes advertising and propaganda are terms commonly used as synonyms, in reality they are not exactly so, and it is convenient to differentiate them, especially in contexts in which it is necessary to have a precise or specialized language.

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