A SURVEY OF THE LANGUAGE OF ADVERTISEMENT IN SELECTED NIGERIAN NEWSPAPERS

A SURVEY OF THE LANGUAGE OF ADVERTISEMENT IN SELECTED NIGERIAN NEWSPAPERS

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CHAPTER ONE

1.1   Background to the Study

Information is the key to a successful management, control, and decision making in every adverting agency, flourishing advertising is a key obligation for general success in national and international markets. Print and electronic media have served individual very well over the ages for the dissemination and exchange of information about innovations and developments in society. In this case, the messages communicated through adverts and other formats in the media often reflect development trends and issues in the societies where they are used. Thus, periodic analyses of the patterns of Patterns of Information Products Advertising in Newspaper Media in Nigeria advertising in various print and electronic media provide potentially very useful means for tracking trends in innovations in the different socio-economic sectors and in the markets for various products and services. 

Advertising is a form of communication used to encourage or persuade on audience (viewer, reader or listeners) to continue to take some new action. Most commonly, the desired result is to influence consumers’ behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although, political and ideological advertising is also common. The purpose of advertising may also be to reassure employees or shareholders that a company is viable or successful. Advertising messages are usually paid for by sponsors and viewed via various traditional media: including mass media such as: newspaper, magazines, television commercials, radio advertisement, outdoor advertising or direct mail, or new media such as websites and text-messages.

Advertising has been defined as “a powerful communication force and a vital marketing tool helping to sell goods and services, images and ideas”…. (Wright, 2003:8). Similarly, Roderick (1980:4) defines advertising as “a message specified by its originator, carried by a communication system and intended to influence and/or inform an unknown audience.” Advertising may also be seen as “a group of activities aiming at and including dissemination of information in any paid product or service to compel actions in accordance with the intent of an identifiable sponsor” (Doughuge, 1985:8).

Advertising has a long history, with some options tracing its origin to the story of Adam, Eve and the serpent in the Bible (Okigbo, 1985:10 and Weffer, 1985:6). Wright (2000:4) however, opines that advertising started in ancient Babylon at about 3000BC when inscription for an ointment dealer, a scribe and a shoe maker were made on clay tablets. Sandage and Fryburger (1963) argue that Egyptians first wrote runaway-slave announcements on papyrus at about 3200BC. In Africa, town crying and hawking were the earliest forms of advertising. These have survived in many Nigerian villages till date. With respect to media advertising, which is the focus of this paper Sandage and Fryburger (cited in Okeke, 2006:24) suggest that the first media advertising was done in London in 1477 when a prayer book was announced for sale, while the first newspaper advertising appeared in the Boston Newsletter in 1704

The print media came into Nigeria in 1859 with the appearance of a Yoruba language newspaper “Iwe Iroyin” published by Reverend Henry Townsend at Abeokuta. The publication carried an advert in form of an announcement for the Anglican Church.

It is noteworthy that the earliest forms of newspaper advertising were crude and unsophisticated. But they not only help the local merchants to sell of his goods, or services, but also set a pace for the modern methods of advertising, which have over a long period of time undergone tremendous changes such that today, a lot can be written on the language of advertising in Nigeria. This is possible because advertising has become more professional, involving copywriters who exploit all the available linguistic devices to make their adverts not only persuasive, but also aesthetically appealing. This research review among the major Nigerian national daily newspapers are, Punch, Guardian, This Day, Nigerian Tribune, Vanguard, Nation, News Nigerian. The study focused on two of the national newspapers in Nigeria. The papers selected are the Guardian and vanguard attempts a linguistic analysis of the language of newspaper advertising in Nigeria, highlighting the phonological, morphological, syntactic and semantic features that make them attractive and persuasive. The two newspapers were chosen purposively for the following reasons. The Guardian newspaper is a national newspaper with high circulation within and outside the country and is patronized mainly by corporate institutions and white collar professionals, while the Vanguard Media was established in 1983. The paper has an online edition. The newspaper is one of the few in Nigeria that is considered independent of political control.

1.2     Statement of the Purpose

The structure of language in advertising has a peculiar form. Many factors predispose the copywriter (i.e. one who writes advertisements) to choose his vocabulary this in some sense implies that copywriter does not have a free flow of lexical items.

It is worthy to note that some important points about newspapers are that they are businesses, and businesses need to make a profit. They can only do that if they have readers. The newspapers have to provide us with the most up-to-date information: news features and also movie listings, the weather, sports scores, and so on. The greater the circulation, the more advertising a paper can sell which means more profits, but less space stones. Newspapers need to balance these needs

It is however clear that the copywriter is restrained to the use of language in advertisement, and the owner of the advert has a primary motive of making profit out of the adverts. It is obvious that in good adverts language matters in this context; therefore, purpose of this study is to critically analyze the most suitable language for newspaper advertisement.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the following:

1.     To examine the survey of the language of advertisement in selected Nigerian newspapers.

2.     To determine the insight into the emerging nature of information products and services markets in the Nigerian economy.

3.     To evaluate how the advertiser of the information use various message delivery strategies in their advert.

4.     To fine out the problems associated with advertising in Nigerian newspaper.

1.4     Research Question

The following will help guide the research study in achieving its objectives:

1.     To what extent is the language of advertisement in selected Nigerian newspapers helpful?

2.     What are the insights into the emerging nature of information products and services markets in the Nigerian economy?

3.     To what extent is the advertiser of the information use various message delivery strategies in their advert?

4.     What are the problems associated with advertising in Nigerian newspaper?

1.5     Significance of the Study

This study will be able to unveil some of those hidden facts about the use and choice of languages used in newspaper advertisements, and also bring about a more refined advert outputs.

This research study will highly relevant to the readers, and especially to the world of journalism in the way and manner in which adverts are to be constructed and be placed on newspapers for public consumption.

The study will also help to ensure that the choices of languages of newspaper adverts are properly selected so that those who pay for the adverts will be satisfied with the publications, and that the readers’ attention will be captured at the sight of such adverts.

1.6     Scope of the Study

This study is basically limited in space to the Vanguard Newspaper of Nigeria and The Guardian newspaper, including the world of publication and journalism.

1.7     Definition of Terms

1.                          Advertisement: A public notice or announcement

2.                          Newspaper: A printed publication containing news, advertisement and correspondence

3.                          Announcement: To make publicly known



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