Advertising is a form of communication that companies use to achieve multiple objectives, ranging from increasing sales to improving the image of their products and contrasting competitors. The importance of advertising, or rather of commercial communication as it is most frequently called, is there for all to see; it has become one of the most important components of the consumer and welfare society.
Companies compete for customers not only through a better quality offer at cheaper prices, but also through the communication of an image of the products that, in the eyes of consumers, positively distinguishes them from those of their competitors: advertising and promotional activities in general they are powerful weapons in the competitive battle between companies, they have the function of increasing demand by shifting market shares from one company to another, becoming tools for the conduct of competition.
Given the nature and function of advertising itself, the first subjects who must claim protection, and avoid damaging their competitors, are precisely those who make use of it.
Advertising, in fact, if done incorrectly and responsibly, has all the characteristics to engage in harmful behavior of competitors. Companies that compete on the market using the advertising tool have the right that no one takes advantage of it unfairly, using deceptive messages such as to alter the healthy and fair competition that should always characterize the right market.
Therefore, what must be prohibited from advertising is resorting to artifice, forcing and improper conduct for the sole purpose of stealing slices and market shares and consent from competitors at all costs. It is not only the companies operating in the market that are involved in the advertising dynamics, but the consumer is another protagonist, who is part of the audience of potential buyers.
The user – consumer, natural recipient of commercial advertising, subjected daily to the consequences deriving from the content scope of the related messages, is substantially a participant in the advertising phenomenon.
The consumer’s interest is realized when he makes a purchase that is not spoiled by disturbances or imperfect information. He has the right to make motivated and conscious purchasing choices, based on information and suggestions that are correct, honest and truthful.
The use of these three adjectives is not causal as they constitute the three cornerstones around which an advertisement must rotate in order to be effectively functional to the objective and purpose it has set itself, ie to carry out an informative function; function which would fail if it did not comply with these legal duties.
The consumer is in a position of greater weakness and must therefore be better protected than those who use advertising as commercial communication, capable of significantly influencing the formation of the stimulus and the adoption of the consequent purchasing behavior.
However, it must be borne in mind that advertising is partisan communication, used for the sale of a single good or service and that companies need to emphasize the advantages that a product ensures and offers to the consumer over the others, and to induce the public to believe that that single brand is in accordance with their particular personal needs.
Advertising has the right to seduce, the important thing is to know the limit beyond which the natural praiseworthy propensity of a message crosses over into advertising falsehood using deceit and misleading what are the characteristics and effects of a product.