The IT Law Wiki


Advertising is

the use of images, sounds, and slogans to communicate a message that will spark consumer interest in goods or services.[1]
a form of promotion to anonymous recipients, as distinguished from face-to-face communication. In normal usage, an advertisement read by millions (or even thousands in a trade magazine) is advertising, while a person-to-person pitch by an account executive is not.[2]


Advertising allows businesses to promote products or burnish corporate reputations, politicians to connect with voters, the military to boost recruitment and advocacy groups to raise public awareness.

Advertising can improve market efficiency by providing consumers and businesses with information about products or services that increase competition and reduce prices. The ad industry has also been assailed by critics, however, including some economists, who say advertising increases business costs by making it more expensive for new entrants to compete against established brands. Consumer groups have condemned advertisers for exploiting public fears and aspirations to push products that can be unnecessary or harmful.[3]

Advertising online[]

The online market potentially offers even more advantages by reducing costs and allowing closely targeted messages.[4] A vexing challenge for advertisers, however, is how to best find potential customers in the large, but atomized, digital world.


  1. Advertising Industry in the Digital Age, at 3.
  2. First Health Group Corp. v. BCE Emergis Corp., 269 F.3d 800, 803-04 (7th Cir. 2001).
  3. Dianne See Morrison, “Consumer Groups Target Mobile Advertising; FTC Complaint Alleges Deceptive Practices,”, Jan. 13, 2009.[1]
  4. Benjamin Edelman, "Towards a Bill of Rights for Online Advertisers," Sept. 21, 2009.[2]

See also[]