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This study focused on the influence of Dettol soap advertisements on Oyo State women’s perception and use of the brand. Advertising has been regarded as a veritable tool for creating awareness for new products and existing ones too. Advertisements have also been seen to create emotional appeal to individuals rather than logical appeal. This means that advertisements create different forms of perception in the mind of consumers.
This study made use of the descriptive survey research design and it adopted the quantitative approach with population drawn from three local governments in Oyo state. The local governments, wards and streets were selected randomly while the multistage sampling technique was used in selecting the 591 respondents. The study made use of primary and secondary sources of data. Primary source of data was the research instrument (questionnaire) while the secondary sources of data included existing literature and journals. This study made use of three theories: the hierarchy of effects model, the perception theory and the protection-motivation theory. The descriptive statistical tools of frequency distribution Tables, percentages, chi-square and cross tabulation were used to analyse the data.
Findings of the study revealed that the null hypothesis was rejected while the alternate hypothesis was accepted which shows that Dettol soap advertisements significantly has an impact on the perception and use of the product. Furthermore, the cross tabulation to determine if socio-demographic factors like age and income affects consumer’s use of the brand shows that people who are between the ages of 21-30 use the product more and people who earn above N 66,000 find the product very affordable. Hence, they purchase the product.
The study concluded that television is still the most used channel in getting information and getting awareness about a product as many respondents attested that they got to know about the product through it. The study also showed that a high percentage of the respondents agreed to the fact that they perceive the product as favourable and good. It was recommended that advertisements should be clear and very simple so that consumers wouldn’t find it difficult to understand and that advertisers should be more target-audience oriented. This means that advertisers should target a specific segment of the population and tailor the product to them just as this study as shown that women are responsible for taking care of the home and the family.
Keywords: Advertisements, Consumers, Perception, Use, Influence
1.1 Background to the Study
Advertising has a long history of being an artistic form of communication with a lot of economic and social benefits to the consumers. Advertisers on the other hand have come to appreciate the uniqueness of a particular product/ service to its intended users. The term “advertising” originates from the Latin word “advertere” which means “to turn the mind towards”. Advertising has a psychological impact on consumers and influences the buying decisions of consumers. According to Kotler and Armstrong (2010) the major aim of advertising, is to persuade potential customers. Advertising serves as the foundation of modern media, as revenue from advertisements, finances newspapers, radio, television, and internet. At the beginning of the 20th century, Albert Lasker, the father of modern advertising, in Arens (1999) defines advertising as “salesmanship in print, driven by a reason why?”(p.23). According to Stern (2004), “advertising is a form of structured, literary text, which is completely different from the usual or day to day word-of-mouth communication” (p. 12). It is also a type of commercial mass communication, targeted at promoting the sale of a product or service, or a message on behalf of an institution, organization or candidate. Arens, (1996) defines it as “a structured and composed non personal communication of information, which is usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature, products (goods, services and ideas) by identified sponsors through various media”. (p. 28).
“Advertising is a form of commercial mass communication designed to promote the sale of a product or service, or a message on behalf of an institution, organization, or candidate. It also has the mandate to sell the advertiser’s goods and help the consumers to shop wisely”. (Okoro 1995, p. 42). Evidence of advertising can be found in cultures that existed thousands of years ago, but it only became a major industry in the 20th century. Today, the advertising industry employs a lot of people and influences the behaviour and buying habits of so many others too. Definitions of advertising abound. Journalists, for example, might define it as a communication, public relations or persuasion process. Business people see it as a marketing process. Economist and sociologists tend to focus on its economic, societal, or ethical significance. While some consumers, might define it simply as a nuisance. Thorson and Leavitt (1992) states that the best prophet for purchase is advertisement. Technologies progress rapidly day by day, contributing to the constant renewal of changes in broadcasting forms. In a complete study of marketing and promotional activities, advertising usually plays the most important role. Therefore, the advertising effect has become a key issue. By highlighting or demonstrating the unique features of a product to prospective buyers, advertising aims to influence the perception and in the long run, the use of such products by consumers.
According to Oresanya (2010), the historical background of advertising in Nigeria can be easily traced to Rev. Henry Townsend’s newspaper called Iwe iroyin in 1859. The newspaper featured advertisements on births and other social events. Iwe irohin also devoted pages to other newspapers who wanted to advertise. Advertising began to grow and blossom in Nigeria with the emergence of radio and television. According to Arens (1999) the main aim of advertisement is to create awareness for the product of a company. The company produces the product mainly to meet and satisfy the needs of the customers. Advertising plays an important role on changing the consumer behavior and also provides new patterns for purchasing or using any type of goods and services. It is the most convenient way to reach the consumers because they are deployed by advertisement promises that the product will give them something special for satisfaction. The advertiser, the agency, the media and the consumers view advertising according to their desires, expectation and opportunities. Coney (2002) said that over the recent years, advertisement has remained the favored method of sales promotion. Consequently, the challenge for an advertiser is to explore every possible avenue of making an advertisement more noticeable, attractive and impellent for consumers.
Dettol which is the brand focused on in this study, is made up of 4.8% of chloroxylenol. This chemical is antiseptic in nature. It should be noted that not all brands have this chemical in them hence, giving Dettol an edge over others. The brand first started in hospitals 80 years ago, where Dettol was first used for the cleaning and disinfection of skin during surgical procedures. It was also used to protect mothers from illness after childbirth. Ever since then, Dettol liquid has been trusted around the world to help clean wounds caused by cuts, bites, grazes, insect stings and for personal hygiene to help mums protect their families from harmful germs. Reckitt Benckiser Group of Companies is the manufacturer. Dettol have products which are safe to use on skin. Whilst Dettol started by preventing infection and sickness in hospitals in the UK, the brand’s mission was always much bigger. In order to help keep people healthy, Dettol’s protective feature guarantees family protection in the course of everyday activity. The first important job was first aid, preventing cuts and grazes from infection. Since then, Dettol has been extended to preventing the spread of illness causing germs on hands, bodies, laundry and surfaces.
According to Athukorala (2012), what makes Dettol brand unique is its advertisements that show how Dettol attacks germs which ordinarily the naked eye won’t see. Also the use of punch lines such as ‘if I don’t take care of him, who will and ‘families that use Dettol, fall ill less’ gives it a brand attitude that is incomparable to none.
This study explores the extent to which women’s understanding of these advertisements influenced their perception and use of Dettol soap.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The skin is one of the defining features of a woman. It reveals a lot about a woman’s health and sometimes, her socio-economic status. To most women, it is important that their skin is radiant and equally healthy. The fact that the skin is a potential carrier of germs underscores the importance women attach to it. This equally explains why soap, the substance that cleans off dirt and protects the skin from germs, is important especially given the fact that in 2012, World Health Organization reported that over two thousand children and one thousand five hundred adults die every day from preventable illnesses caused by unhealthy practices including poor hygiene.
Anchoring on the custodian role of women in family health, the Dettol soap advertisements emphasized this role by portraying women as the decision maker while portraying Dettol as the soap that guarantees individual and family protection. Given this background as well as the assertions of Malik, Ghafoor, Iqbal, Unzila, and Ayesha (2014) that consumer perception is not just important to consumer buying behavior, but quality advertisements and optimistic perception are equally key to the survival of a product.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study is to examine the influence of Dettol soap advertisements on women’s perception and use of Dettol soap. The specific objectives are to:
- determine the level to which women are aware of Dettol soap advertisements;
- examine how frequently women are exposed to Dettol soap advertisements;
- determine the extent to which women understand the Dettol soap advertisements and
- find out the extent to which Dettol soap advertisements influenced women’s perception and use of the product.
1.4 Research Question
2. To what extent are women aware of the Dettol soap advertisements?
3. How frequently are women exposed to Dettol soap advertisement?
4. To what extent do women understand the Dettol soap advertisements?
5. How did the soap advertisements influence women’s perception and use of the product?
H01 Women’s socio-demographic status will significantly influence their perception of Dettol soap advertisements and use of the product.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The research work provides empirical evidences on how influential advertisements are on consumer’s perception. This study provides proof to indigenous advertisers on how their creative works can affect positively the perception of the consumers. This research work would also be beneficial to students and scholars in the field of mass communication as an additional reference material providing evidence on how advertising can be effectively used to influence perception as well as the use of a product.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research work was conducted among women in Oyo State who are resident in three Local Government Areas of the state. These are Egbeda, Ibadan North and Ibadan North-East. The study is limited to Dettol soap and all its variants like Dettol cool, Dettol Even Tone, Dettol Herbal, Dettol Reenergise, Dettol Skin Care, etc. In other words, the study only focuses on just one brand of Dettol antiseptic products which include hand wash, surface cleaners, among others. This study covers a period of seven months from June 2016 when the research commenced to March 2017 when data was collected.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Dettol soap advertisements: These are advertisements of the Dettol soap aired on various media at stipulated viewing or listening time. These advertisements include radio jingles, television commercials, newspaper and magazine slots as well as you-tube uploads.
Women: The women in this study are those resident in the three Local Government Areas targeted. These women are from different age groups, tribes, either employed or unemployed and have different income distribution.
Use: This is the action that consumers engage in as a result of the clarity of the message as well as the benefits illustrated in the adverts which influenced their positive perception of the product. Use in this study is seen to be influenced by level of awareness and exposure to Dettol soap advertisements.
Perception: This is the positive reaction developed by women towards the Dettol advertisements which encourage the use of the product.
Influence: This refers to the extent to which women agree that they understand the Dettol advertisements. It also implies the extent to which the positive perception of the product affected the use.
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