The Impact Of Television Advertising On Nursing Mothers (A Case Study Of Baby Products)

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

The Impact Of Television Advertising On Nursing Mothers (A Case Study Of Baby Products)


The impact of Television Advertisement on Nursing Mothers cannot be over-emphasized.

The objectives of this research is to investigate if television is actually the most effective media of advertisement as many theorists have asserted and to determine whether baby products commercials they see on television could influence the buying habits of the nursing mothers.

In this study, the work has been grouped into the following sections.

Chapter one deals with the introduction, which exposes the history of advertising in the world and in the country. It also deals with research problems, objectives, significance, definitions of terms, and limitations of the study.

In other words, chapter two covers the extensive review of related literature done by the researcher. This has to do with the views of experts and authors concerning the issue at stake.

Furthermore, chapter three deals with the research method, design population, sample, measuring instruments, data collection, data analysis and expected results.

The population was based on the urban and rural dwellers in Nsukka.

In chapter four, data collected through oral interviews and questionnaires were analyzed using percentage (%) method, tables were used in presenting the data.

Finally, chapter five deals with summary based on findings. Also recommendations were made such that would be helpful to the manufacturers and advertisers of baby products.

Chapter One


Advertising is one of the oldest and most popular tools used in the marketing of goods and services. The origin of advertising could be traced back to ancient times when carvings called pictographs were found on walls in places like Egypt, Spain and China to advertise goods and services.

Modern advertising in Nigeria came through the colonial masters and today in the country, advertising has assumed a major significance in the business circle. Advertising has helped in creating markets for various product brands by arousing the interest of consumers towards a particular product.

Keith Cowin et al (1975), said that advertising has a cumulative effect on moulding the behaviour of the individual consumers.1

The effect of advertising on the national economy is overwhelming. Alai Stevenson, a one time United States secretary of State said that, American standard of living is the imaginative genius of advertising whi8ch not only creates and sharpens demand, but also by its impact on the competitive process, stimulates the ever-increasing quest for improvement in the quality of products.

As a recognized tool of marketing communication, advertising is mutually related to the mass media, (television, radio, newspapers and magazines) in order to reach a mass audience at low cost apart from reaching many people rapidly at low cost, intensive advertising through the mass media also has the ability of turning prospects into consumers in large number and at high speeds. Probably that was shy Ezigbo (1991) said that in a mass production and high consumption economy, advertising has the greatest opportunity and the greatest responsibility for findings customers.

Advertising according to S. W. John (1982) is “any paid form of non-person presentation and promotion of ideas, goods and services by an identified sponsor”.4 Put in another form, advertising is a method of delivering a sponsor message through an impersonal medium, to a mass audience, for the purpose of winning approval, influencing attitudes and increasing sales. It, therefore, becomes necessary for traders and people offering various goods and services to make their offers more interesting than that of the next person. They have to try and differentiate their goods and services to reflect an advantage. As competition increased, so do advertising.

With the coming of television, where has become a lot of improvement in the nature of advert messages from having advert companies with freeing affiliations which produces their adverts abroad, we have processed over the years, to being able to produce good quality adverts here in Nigeria.

According to K. N. L. Okoye (1993), “one of television’s main advantage can be said to be its ability to combine picture and sound in presenting images of reality”. This so far remains unparalleled in the development of the mass media”.

Another is the fact that television is flexible because it is possible to contrive various stations for adverts thus helping to secure impact, create mood and help repetition, while reaching a wider audience.

Baby products are without doubt one of such products where advertising has been employed to its fullest in sales promotion. Nursing mothers belong to the broad market spectrum of baby products consumers all over the world. In advertising their products to nursing mothers, advertisers make maximum use of the physiological, sociological and psychological appeal. For example, advertisers of baby products know that most nursing mothers are self-conscious and have a passion for popularity and this makes them part of the target market of the advertisers. Furthermore, most nursing mothers have no control over their desires. They strive to obtain whatever appeals to their eyes by all means, hence, they tend to consume almost everything they see in television advertising.

1.1 Background of the Study

Out of all the media of communication, none seems to have generated as much controversy and interest as the television. While some people feel that television has a negative effect on its viewers, others extol its virtues as a major factor in education and persuasion, among other thins. Television requires little in the way of reading or other skills. It is uniquely accessible to persons of all ages and education.

In the past, the question had always been, “did you hear the news last night”, but these days, the question has changed to, “did you watch the news last night?” the most popular question regarding advertising was, “did you watch that jingle last night?” these questions, no doubt, convince one that television is the reigning media in recent times.

The basic advantage which television has over other media is its instantaneous transmission of audio and visual messages. So from this, one sees that television is the closest replica of life, because of its inherent life-like quality. Television offers all the variety of life of the advertising practitioner who has almost infinite creative flexibility in the medium. It is most obvious that television’s inherent life-like quality projects its most intense experiences when bringing life events to the public spontaneously as they happen. Thus television, because of its audio and visual tendencies, brings into the viewer living rooms, a combination of moving pictures and voices.

Television adverts messages appeal to two major sense organs – the eyes and the ears, in catching an advert message. Television is regarded as the leading medium for reaching advertisements like that of baby products. According to Onyekwere (1991) “Many people tune to television medium most of the time, thus it attracts much larger audience than radio”6 No matter one’s kind of taste, he or she must have a favourite programme he or she watches regularly and this is because of diversity in television programming.

There are different ways in which television adverts may work in influencing its customers. It can influence attitudes and challenge beliefs. According to Coulson Tomas (1986), Television advertisement may also act on the purchasing behaviour directly by the power of suggestion or indirectly through attitudes”.7

Effective television advertisement can reinforce the consumer’s existing habits because most consumers strive to achieve consistency in their purchasing behaviour. It can also lead to conflict and the need to make a choice between the potentially superior qualities of an advertised product and the habit of purchasing another brand.

Most often, television advertisements change consumers’ buying habits and preferences. In this case, the consumers may feel that the right product was not bought in the first place. The required change in behaviour, perhaps implying that it is now time to change.

Perhaps, one of the greatest factors that has contributed to the success story of television advertisement is its repetitive nature. This is because the repetition of sales messages creates awareness amongst individuals about the advert (and product), whether they like it or not. In other words, television makes it possible to repeat one’s message as often as one can afford. All the positive attributes of television makes its advert messages acceptable to its numerous viewers.

A. S. Courteny (1986) writes:

TV, by its very appeal, command more audience because it involves not only the sense of sound as in radio or sight as in newspaper but it combines both to make a whole some package for the viewer.8

However, Courtney said that despite the above-mentioned qualities of television, that television advert messages have not been very forceful because most the messages are targeted to wrong audiences. In fact, baby products advertisers should take th4e above statement of Courtney serious by ensuring that their markets are clearly segmented and advert messages channeled to reach each segment.

Furthermore, televising on baby products, advertisers must always apply the principle of AIDA during their advertisements. In this principle, A stands for attracting attention, I stands for interest, D stands for desire while A stands for action.

In explaining the above principle in detail, advertisers should bear in mind that their messages have to attract the attention of customers. According to D. S. Nicholl (1984), “an advertising should produce an effect that is so compelling, so irresistible that all else is dull and trivial besides”.9 Furthermore, the advertisement could attract more attention if it appears at the prime time.

Again if the advert captures the interest of viewers, they would be compelled to keep viewing Frank Jefkins (1977), writes here that advertising is unlikely to succeed if it fails to make the listeners involves”.10 Advertisers have to adopt the right psychological appeal in order to get viewers involved. Furthermore, the viewers should be made to want or experience what is being offered. The psychological appeal has to be intensive to make viewers anxious to satisfy their desires.

Lastly, the most important aspect of an effective advertisement is that is has to spur viewers/listeners to purchase a product or service. A good advertisement should aim at getting the readers close to action. Over the years, most successful advertising have been able to combine all these attributes in reasonable closes. Truth is an important criteria for successful advertising. Establish credibility, the advertising message should convey the truth about a product. Advertisements that fail to do this can produce disastrous effects on the sales of the products.

It was Abraham Lincoln, a former American President who asserted that “you can fool some people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.

As William Weilbacher (1979) further states; Advertising is communication that provides generally useful, relevant and pertinent information upon which the consumer either act immediately or stores for later reference”.

In effect, television advertisements on baby products would be very rewarding if such advertisements are easily notices, understood, believed, remembered and acted upon by customers. The adverts should provide, not only information but must engender a favourable attitude, preferably a predisposition to purchase before buying a product, a consumer must be aware of it, understand with a it is and offer the zeal, feel the need for it and be motivated to purchase the product. Effective television advertising both creates awareness need and how the need can be satisfied.12

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Assessing the effectiveness of television advertisement on the target audience has always been the problem of advertisers over the years. Advertisers are concerned with the effectiveness of advert messages because the process of advertising is not complete until the advertiser begins to see a (positive) feedback from the customers.

This research therefore attempts to test the effectiveness of baby products advertisements in television on nursing mothers. Television is used in this study because of claims by many advertisers. The work effective is used here to mean “the ability to convince consumers to prefer the advertised message”.

Gene Jankowski, while contributing an article titled “Television; the power and presume”, in Cambroad Journal strongly believed that television has “magical” powers.13 This research work would prove Gene Jankowski right or wrong in the above made assertion, furthermore, Charles Schewe 91987) writes that “television is the fastest growing advertising medium”.14 If Schewe’s assertion is to be believed, what factors in television whould make it the advertiser’s number one choice? Could television persuade, challenge or influence the attitudes of nursing mothers towards a particular baby product?

The above questions prompted the researcher to write this research project. In attempting to solve this problem, the researcher used as a case study, baby products the carefully selected from a wide range of such products.

1.3 Research Questions

Having identified the problems, which this research project attempt to solve, the researcher is faced with some research questions. The answers to these questions would serve as an index.

  1. Do people prefer television to other media?
  2. Does television advertisement on baby products have an advantage over other media advertisement on the same products?
  3. Has there been an attitude change of the nursing mothers towards baby products as a result of the television advertisement on such products?
  4. Has television adverts on a particular baby product affected the rate of its consumption by the nursing mothers?
  5. Has there been increase in sales recorded by a manufacturer of baby products since the inception of its advertisement of television.

1.4 Research Hypotheses

  1. H1: People prefer television to other media
    H0: People do not prefer television to other media
  2. H2: Television advertisement on baby products has an advantage over other media advertisements on the same products.
    H0: Television advertisement on baby products does not have an advantage over other media advertisements on the same products.
  3. H3: There has been an attitude change of the nursing mothers towards baby products as a result of the television advertisement on such products.
    H0: There has not been an attitude change of the nursing mothers towards baby products as a result of the television advertisement on such products.
  4. H4: Television adverts on a particular baby products have affected the rate of its consumption by the nursing mothers.
    H0: Television adverts on a particular baby product have not affected the rate of its consumption by the nursing mothers.
  5. H5: There has been increase in sales recorded by manufacturers of baby products since the inception of baby products on television.
    H0: There has not been increase in sales recorded by manufacturers of baby products since the inception of baby products on television

1.5 Objectives of the Study

If advertising is to command greater audience and increased sales, it must show its works, which is what, eventually effectiveness is all about.

Therefore, the objectives of this study are:

  1. To assess the Penetration level of baby products advertisements on respondents who are carefully and systematically selected from the wider society.
  2. To determine whether baby products commercials they see on television could influence their buying habits. If there is any evidence that there are changes in habit of the consumption of baby products, the researcher also wants to quantitatively evaluate the level of influence. But on the other hand, if there are as observed changes in the babies, the researcher would want to identify the possible causes and solution to correct it.
  3. To find out if television is actually the most effective media of advertisement as many theorists have asserted.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The process of mass media like radio, television, newspapers and magazines through which advertising messages are channeled to a large number of people had made it difficult for advertising researchers to ascertain the effectiveness of each medium.

It is therefore hoped that this work would be of immense help to those in the advertising industry which in turn would help them to serve their clients at all times, effectively and efficiently. It would also assist the commercial departments of television stations especially the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) throughout the federation to continue to give honest and sincere services.

Furthermore, it is equally hoped that this work will contribute to existing journals, newspapers, magazines, books and other scholarly publications dealing with the subject matter. This will thus help further scholars and researcher on the subject matter with vital statistical information.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study includes, data processing procedure. This statistical parameter that will be used in analysis of data in this research will be simple percentage method. The data will be collected ad analyzed by means of percentage frequency. The percentage frequency will be found for each item after the collection and hand sorting of questions.

Television has been understood to be the singular medium that is widely used in both developed and developing countries. According to Warren K. Agee (1979). It is said that in American, there are over 480 million television sets and that every home has an average of two television sets in good working condition.

In places like this, the impact of television on a given products e.g. baby food is usually of a household dimension.

According to Grraham Mytton (1983); in Africa, television has made such rapid progress and has become so fundamental and part of daily life, that it is not easy to forget, first now recently it arrived and how fast it has grown. Today, it is at the centre of things. Its impact on nursing mothers cannot be over-emphasized.

This study will examine in its ramification, the way changing attitudes are constantly being created among consumers of baby products as a result of the impact that television advertisements are having on them.

Television began in Nigeria in 1932, and since them television has been an effective form of information dissemination. Television advertisements have become so diffused in all facets of our national life. Important products produced in the country have gained wide scale acceptability as a result of the efficacy of this medium of communication in projecting the said products.

Information health, latest music in the market must be relayed to the audience. Television advertisements are so widely cherished because of its ability to overcome language barriers as well as transport problem. That is to say, that it can travel long distance and it is noted for its speed. These issues will be carefully looked into in this work.

In fact television has been often described as the companion medium. It is a matter of fact that people in the rural areas are noted for their great attention to the contents of the television. They would want to know what is going on in the market circles, information about the new variety of products, information on baby products and the care for them. This is why this work will have to delve into business of examining the reactions of peoples of the remote parts in our country to find out their attitude on TV adverts, especially as it relates to advertisements that are anchored on baby products.

The scope of this work includes how these media consumers make use of the messages gotten from the television. It is on this premise that this study is elicited. The researcher is also aware that some respondents may be hesitant to disclose the true picture of things for reasons best known to them. The researcher is also conscious that some of the respondents may decide to conceal or even paint things too good or too bad. Because of this, there may be a little percentage error in the result from this research work. The study by way of scope will further reveal, that there are many factors, which could compel many mothers or their babies to favour or dislike baby product itself on the health of the consumers.

Attempts will definitely be made in the study to find out if another media influences the consumer of baby products other than the television. In this perspective basis of the effectiveness of television to comparative basis is the effectiveness of television to other media of communication.

The most effective strategy that should be employed by baby products advertisers will be singled out and thoroughly dwelt on. Efforts should also be made to identify the languages of the prospects and an effective use of its made to ensure that the advertisers obtain the best results.

The scope of the research will also cover the views that people hold on the advertisements going on about baby products, and equally find out how the media could be used to persuade people to buy baby products even when its prices go high.

The research will also delve into the standardization of baby products to attain internationally recognized standards. This has become necessary because that is the only way the customers’ interest can be arrested making them to develop some liking for a particular product.

These and more are some of the areas, which this research work will be covering. Care should also be taken to overcome the delimiting factors so that a limited error margin can be met.

Chapter Five


As with all research, there are limitations to this study. The first limitation of this study is that this research relied only on the perception of mothers. The data gathered from their perspective was not only just about the mothers themselves, but also all about their children and other family members from the mothers’ point of view. Therefore, the knowledge from this study might be a little bit biased by the mothers’ particular viewpoints toward the issues in this study. Even though the mothers’ perspectives were considered the most important for this study, it is possible that there may be gaps in information that can be filled in by asking questions from the perspectives of other family members, including the children themselves. For example, questions that ask about the typical reactions of children when the mothers decline their requests to buy a particular fast-food product may elicit different responses if the children were questioned instead of the mothers. Even though most mothers’ first choice was “It seems that he/she took it okay!”, the answers by the children might be different. Therefore, one possible future study would include the children, fathers, or other family members as participants. The possible differences of these perspectives about the issues related to the possible negative influence of TV snack and fast-food advertising could be explored. As an example, it might be possible that children feel conflict more frequently than their mothers do. Despite the mothers’ preferences for the words “disagreement” or “conversation” over the word “conflict”, children might want to use the word “conflict” to label the situations they have had with their mothers in front of the TV or at the grocery store.The second limitation of this study is the similarity of some demographic characteristics among the participants. Since the participants were recruited from organizations such as PTOs and Little League baseball teams, it is possible that mothers in the sample were more active mothers than other mothers who are not likely to participate in those gatherings. Generally, most mothers in the sample were very dedicated to their children and very aggressively participated in all kinds of events in which their children are involved. Therefore, it is possible that many of the participants have personality traits in common, such as being sociable, active, confident, and very committed to their children. Therefore, this possible homogeneity among the participants might have caused the lack of diversity in responses in some parts in this study.

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